Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, whose administration has been troubled by scandal, is keeping a tight lid on his re-election plans.
The former county sheriff who took office in 2003 and whose administration has been besieged by corruption allegations since 2011, told reporters Tuesday that “when we feel the time is right, we’ll have something to say,” The Press & Guide reports.
Ficano has until April 22 to make a decision about whether he will seek a fourth term to Wayne County’s top position. His term expires at the end of the year.
The election field is already crowded, with at least three candidates in heavily Democratic Wayne County expected to run in the Aug. 5 primary. They include Westland Mayor William Wild and Wayne County commissioner Kevin McNamara (D-Van Buren Township), who have already declared their candidacy, and state Rep. Philip Cavanagh (D-Redford Township), who is expected to declare next week.
Since the scandal erupted, pressure has mounted for Ficano to resign, but he has maintained he’s done nothing wrong as a handful of his aides have been indicted on bribery and influence peddling charges after a $200,000 severance payout to Wayne County’s former economic development chief Turkia Awada Mullin spurred a grand jury probe.
Ficano wasn’t indicted, but his former top aide,Tahir Kazmi, 49, was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison after admitting that he took bribes, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Two other Ficano appointees have pleaded guilty to charges related to the scandal, a third was convicted in a trial and another man who didn’t work for the county also pleaded guilty, the Free Press said.A one-judge grand jury is currently investigating whether a new jail project, halted by the county after it was discovered to be $100 million over budget, the possibility of criminal wrongdoing, presumably in the bidding of contracts, the Press & Guide said.