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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 28, 2021

DETROIT CITY COUNCILMAN ANDRE SPIVEY PLEADS GUILTY TO BRIBERY CONSPIRACY

DETROIT - Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey, 47, of Detroit, pleaded guilty today to conspiring with a member of his staff to commit bribery by accepting over $35,000 in bribe payments in connection with the City Council’s oversight of towing in Detroit, Acting United States Attorney Saima S. Mohsin announced today.

According to court records, while serving as an elected member of the Detroit City Council, Andre Spivey accepted $35,900 from an undercover federal law enforcement officer and a confidential source of information for the FBI.  On eight separate occasions between February 2018 and February 2020, Spivey, or a member of his staff identified as “Public Official A,” accepted bribe payments amounting to thousands of dollars from the undercover agent or the confidential source, all in connection with towing issues pending before the City Council.  For example, on October 26, 2018, Spivey met with the undercover agent and the confidential source at the Side Street Diner in the City of Grosse Pointe, Michigan.  During that meeting, Spivey accepted $1,000 in cash from the undercover agent and another $1,000 in cash from the confidential source.  The payments were made to Spivey seeking Spivey’s assistance with a proposed towing ordinance pending before the City Council.  As another example of the corrupt payments, on February 21, 2020, the confidential source gave $8,000 in cash to Public Official A, and the undercover agent gave Public Official A $4,000 in cash.  Public Official A took the money knowing that it was given for the benefit of Spivey and in exchange for Spivey’s assistance with towing issues pending before the City Council.

Spivey has served on the Detroit City Council since 2009. 

The bribery conspiracy count to which Spivey pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 5 years of imprisonment.  Under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, it is likely that Spivey will face a guideline sentencing range of between 37 and 46 months of imprisonment, and a maximum fine of up to $250,000.  A sentencing date has been set for January 19, 2022.

It is expected that Spivey will resign from office on the City Council as a result of his guilty plea.  

This is the first case charged as part of the government’s investigation known as “Operation Northern Hook.”  Northern Hook is an investigation of corruption within the government and the Police Department of the City of Detroit relating to the towing industry and other matters.  

Mohsin was joined in the announcement by Timothy Waters, Special Agent In Charge of the Michigan Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Acting United States Attorney Mohsin said: “The people of Detroit deserve a city government free of corruption and pay-to-play politics.  The conviction of Councilman Spivey for accepting $35,000 in bribes demonstrates that the federal government remains vigilant and determined in rooting out corruption within the City of Detroit.”       

“Unfortunately, we continue to see corruption by Detroit public officials that erodes the public's trust in government and undermines the City's effort to move Detroit forward,” said Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “Today’s guilty plea is a result of the FBI’s commitment to bringing corrupt officials to justice and should serve as warning to others who think they are beyond the reach of the law.”

This case is part of the government’s wide-ranging corruption investigation known as Operation Northern Hook.  The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Gardey and Frances Carlson.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated September 28, 2021