Former city manager’s allegations not backed up with investigations

Former City Manager Katrina Powell says there is election fraud and drug dealing in the city. She made those allegations during her farewell comment to a state-appointed financial advisory board.

Former City Manager Katrina Powell says there is election fraud and drug dealing in the city. She made those allegations during her farewell comment to a state-appointed financial advisory board.


By Charles Sercombe
In her farewell speech to a state-appointed financial advisory board, former City Manager Katrina Powell made a serious allegation.
According to Powell there is rampant election fraud and drug dealing happening in the city.
Those allegations were made during her farewell speech at the June Receivership Transition Advisory Board meeting.
Powell’s employment contract was not renewed by the city council, and she left the city leaving some harsh remarks.
She said: “The election fraud and drug dealing are real in this town.”
Powell did not accuse any specific person or elected official but went on to claim that there are those who are “providing meals, buying TVs, paying someone $5 in cash to fill out an absentee ballot …”
She also accused, without naming elected officials specifically that “taking bribes from votes on contracts and services is illegal and should not be tolerated by this community.”
Powell’s assertion of election fraud is not without foundation.
There have been incidents in the past several years, before Powell arrived, of people illegally handling absentee ballots. They were prosecuted and convicted.
To this day there is a belief among some city and elected officials that there is ongoing illegal handling of absentee ballots.
Powell’s allegations begged the question of whether she ordered any current investigation into election fraud and drug dealing. Powell did not elaborate on her charge of drug dealing.
City officials told The Review they were unaware of any investigation.
“To my knowledge there has been no specific investigation into alleged drug dealing per the former city manager’s comments,” said Acting City Manager Kathy Angerer.
“As always the Hamtramck Police Department takes appropriate action on crimes within our city, including drug dealing.
“The city clerk is responsible for the conduct of the annual election, including processing ballots and all aspects of the election. At any time he would suspect an issue of election fraud, it would be his responsibility to contact the appropriate authorities and work with them.”
While Angerer said she was unaware of an investigation, she said if one was underway the Police Department “would likely not make comment on the investigation, so as not to hinder the progress of that investigation. When it is appropriate to do so, we would provide comment.”
Powell said the only way corruption will end is when residents speak out.
“It all ends when the community stops sitting on its couches, posting on Facebook, and actually gets involved in their local government,” she said.
“I encourage you to reach out to your Bengali, Yemeni, and other immigrant neighbors, as they too are sick of the corruption and voter fraud. They visit my office regularly to report things to me because they feel safe, but are afraid to speak up in their communities because of the bullies and thugs.
“They may not feel comfortable enough to come to a council meeting alone if they’ve not been to one, so please offer to attend one with them.
“Also, many are unaware of the laws that protect them, but we need to teach them that they don’t have to be bullied or intimidated. There are laws in place to protect them. They have a pulse on the community; tap into it.”
The RTAB, which was appointed by the state to oversee all financial decisions of the city, did not respond to Powell’s comments.
City Councilmember Anam Miah, who was an outspoken critic of Powell, said the accusations were more about spite over her not being kept on as city manager.
“She’s a completely vindictive individual,” Miah said.
Miah and others on the city council complained that Powell kept the council out of the decision-making process. He said there was nothing “personal” about his decision to reject an extension of her employment contract.
“I wish her the best, but she just wasn’t a good fit here,” Miah said.


4 Responses to Former city manager’s allegations not backed up with investigations

  1. guest

    August 12, 2017 at 4:48 am

    One more reason she had to go.
    If allegations were true, then she was utterly incompetent not to address them. If they were lies, then she is not qualified to run the city.
    Thanks Miah for standing behind the right decision.
    Ian and Andrea owe you an apology.

  2. Uncle Cooter

    August 12, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    One issue that had needed to be addressed – no matter on what side of the fence you were on – that Powell did NOT address is the status of legal cases brought against the Hamtramck P.D. that have brought media attention the last few years.

    City Attorney John Clark is defending Anne Moise and Sgt Stout in suits filed by area Arab businessmen alleging discrimination and harassment; they have denied the allegations. Sam Joumaah of Sam’s Tire on Conant came to the City Hall with his counsel and the city’s lawyer and property at the police lock-up itemized in the inventory was returned to him – Joumaah claims some $30,000.00 in cash is missing. A trial date is set for next February in the Sam’s Tire case. Two other cases naming Moise, Stout and a Det. McMahon of Highland Park P.D. also remain pending.

    The John Doe informant tire-dumping lawsuit that preceded the Joumaa case was resolved after the RTAB accepted recommendations from then-City Attorney J. Travis Mihelick to pay Doe a monetary settlement. Doe claimed he dumped used Sam’s Tire tires at the direction of Stout and McMahon.

    Detectives Stout and McMahon operated an auto insurance fraud multi-jurisdictional unit along with an Ecorse cop under the auspices of the state police that was known as COBRA. This unit has since been dissolved, per Katrina Powell. No disciplinary action has been taken against Stout and he has since been placed on desk and uniformed patrol duty. Stout has yet to be deposed in the federal court actions.

    Local police had also generated media attention in another case involving Stout when two Yemeni-American brothers were held for two days after being arrested by Stout at police HQ several days after their ice cream truck was seized. A state civil rights commission grievance was filed against the city due to the incident.

    Katrina Powell has focused upon alleged problems and “thugs” within the Bengali and Yemeni communities but has NOT addressed the controversies within her own administration – especially the cops.

  3. Neighbor

    August 15, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Gabarino has to be hired back since all allegations claimed against him were hearsay. The police in Hamtramck need urgent reform, at least to the level he brought it up to before he was fired.

  4. Concerned Citizen

    August 22, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Garbarino was not fired, he resigned. I wish people in the community would take the time to learn the facts than continuously listen to hearsay.

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