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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Former Detroit Public Library Official Pleads Guilty To Bribery

A former Detroit Public Library official pleaded guilty to bribery charges today, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced.

Joining McQuade in the announcement were Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Field Office, and Carolyn Weber, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

Timothy Cromer, 47, of West Bloomfield, the library's Chief Administrative and Technology Officer from 2006 to 2013, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh to bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery.

Cromer was charged with taking more than $1.4 million in bribes and kickbacks from contractors of the library.

According to the indictment, Cromer helped co-defendant James Henley create a business in 2007 called Core Consulting & Professional Services, and then arranged for Core to win a bid to provide information technology services to the library.  The contract, along with various change orders and extensions that Cromer approved, caused the library to pay Core $1.8 million. 

Cromer is also charged with receiving kickbacks from Ricardo Hearn, who is also charged in the indictment.  Cromer was charged with approving no-bid professional services contracts for Hearn’s company, Cubemation, LLC, to perform information technology services for the library from 2008 until 2010.  According to the indictment, Cubemation received about $2.8 million in payments from the Detroit Public Library.  In total, Cromer is alleged to have accepted more than $1.4 million in kickbacks from Henley and Hearn.

Through his plea, Cromer admitted that he received a bribe from Henley, and that he conspired with Hearn to commit bribery.  A sentencing date will be set by the court.  Codefendants Henley and Hearn previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, and are scheduled to be sentenced on June 3, 2014.

United States Attorney McQuade said, "Our public libraries exist to enrich our citizens, not to generate profits for the officials who work there.  Today's guilty plea to bribery charges reflects a betrayal to the honest public servants who have dedicated themselves to the Detroit Public Library and the people they serve."

“In cases like this, where a government official takes bribes and abuses a position of trust, it amounts to stealing directly from the community,” stated Paul M. Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Detroit Field Office. “Public libraries serve a special purpose in enriching our communities, and government officials are entrusted with a great responsibility toward our citizens. The FBI Detroit Field Office, in concert with our local, state and federal partners, will continue to pursue those who breach the public’s trust, and hold them accountable under the law for their actions.”

"The sizeable amount of the kickbacks Cromer received represents the degree to which he was cheating the public," said IRS Acting Special Agent in Charge Carolyn Weber.  "It is unacceptable to help yourself to public funds, but if you do IRS-Criminal Investigation will be there to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Detroit."

The case was investigated by agents of the FBI and the IRS. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth A. Stafford and Julie Beck.

Updated March 19, 2015