LeDuff: Partnership offers to sell back Wayne County Building - Fox 2 News Headlines

LeDuff: Partnership offers to sell back Wayne County Building

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Wayne County Building  (Credit: myFOXDetroit.com) Wayne County Building (Credit: myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (myFOXDetroit.com) -

After blowing $150 million of your money, including interest, on a new skyscraper and a parking deck, we've come to find out that Wayne County is in negotiations to buy back the old County Building they just moved out of two years ago.

The private partnership that owns the old County Building has approached Bob Ficano's people with an offer to sell it back for $15 million to end lawsuits and counter lawsuits.

"The partnership has put on the table for us just to buy it outright and settle the lawsuits and be able to reacquire the building," said Wayne County Commissioner Bernard Parker.

Turns out that people within Ficano's own administration think the county might be liable for at least $5 million in back rent since Ficano didn't take all the furniture and equipment when they moved out in the first place.

"As a result of us leaving our equipment in there, we probably could lose a court case.  The partnership has sued, and we would owe some money for rent," Parker explained.

"A crackhead move.  Ridiculous.  Who does that and then puts our children, our future on the hook for all this money?  These kids, they're going to be paying for this for years and for what?" said former Ficano appointee Steve Hood.

Now this was a bad deal from the beginning and it happened way before Ficano ever took control.  It was the mid-eighties and the county took its own building and sold it to a private partnership.  It then rented it back for $5 million a year.  20 years and $100 million later, Ficano came along and said that's a bad deal, and he went and got himself his own bad deal with the Guardian Building.

In the meantime, the partnership sued and Ficano sued back.

"It's in litigation.  I'm sure that the partnership would love for us to take a look at it, but right now it's not economically feasible, and we believe that they owe us money," said Ficano.

"We haven't won one yet, so no, we're not going to win that.  We've not won one yet, and why we keep on fighting about it, we've been screaming for three years to come to an agreement," said Wayne County Commissioner Kevin McNamara.

Remember, they're just in talks and no deal is imminent.

However, there is one other thing I noticed as I was walking past the old County Building.  I took a look at the old dedication plaque from the deal back in the eighties.  It's a players' lineup of Detroit players.  

One of the partners who bought the place for a song is Jack Martin.  What does he do now?  He's the chief financial officer for the City of Detroit under the consent agreement.

The contractor was Walbridge Construction.  The head of that, John Rakolta, is caught up in that FBI probe in the jail he's building for Ficano downtown.

The deputy county executive was Michael E. Duggan.  By the time he was done, he was under the federal microscope.  He now wants to be your white mayor.  And the guy cutting deals with him in the back room?  Bernard Kilpatirck.  You can see him at the daily matinee down at the federal courthouse.

I know what you're thinking.  The more things change, the more things stay the same.

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