State Roundup

Detroit

Draft of new city charter targets corruption

DETROIT (AP) -- The final draft of Detroit's new city charter includes measures designed to target corruption, waste and cronyism.

The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press report the draft is expected to be sent May 31 to the governor and attorney general for review.

Voters are expected to decide on the revisions in November. The 89-page document calls for strict ethics rules as well as a department to investigate corruption, fraud and waste. It would create the Office of Inspector General to investigate such issues.

Calls for a new charter followed scandals involving former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his administration.

The city's charter revision commission also is recommending that Detroit voters begin electing most council members by district instead of at-large.

Athens

Former deputy AG to teach at University of Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- The University of Georgia says Larry Thompson, a former deputy U.S. attorney general, will be joining the UGA law school faculty.

Law school dean Dean Rebecca Hanner White said Tuesday that Thompson will become John A. Sibley Professor in corporate and business law in the fall and will teach courses in corporate law and white collar crime.

Thompson, who was once U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, served as deputy attorney general from 2001 to 2003 and led the U.S. Department of Justice corporate fraud task force and headed the Enron investigation.

He recently retired from PepsiCo, where he served as senior vice president of government affairs, general counsel and secretary.

He holds a law degree from the University of Michigan.

Jackson

Mayor seeks state review of city finances

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) -- The mayor of Jackson has asked the state Treasury Department to review the city's troubled finances under the new emergency manager law.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot and The Detroit News report that Mayor Karen Dunigan asked for the review. The Treasury Department says officials are studying the April request and expect to make a decision within two weeks.

Under state law signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in March the request could result in the naming of an emergency financial manager.

Meanwhile, The News reports a citizen in Allen Park has requested a review of the Detroit suburb's finances but a lone citizen doesn't have standing under the law.

Allen Park Mayor Gary Burtka says he wasn't aware of the request and doesn't believe a review is needed.

Lansing

New law clarifies Michigan's Sunday liquor sales

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a law that makes a technical fix to Michigan's statute related to Sunday morning liquor sales.

The revised law makes it clear that communities may opt out of Sunday alcohol sales for just the morning or all day, depending on their preference.

A drafting oversight in the original law adopted last year would have forced communities to allow Sunday alcohol sales all day or not at all. But the Michigan Liquor Control Commission had allowed communities to opt out of Sunday morning sales since the law was adopted.

Snyder says the new bill he announced signing Monday lets local government leaders decide what's best for their communities related to alcohol sales.

Michigan began allowing Sunday morning alcohol sales late last year.

Royal Oak

Suburb gets thumbs-up with new begging law

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union is praising Royal Oak for changing a tough law targeting panhandlers.

The Detroit suburb known for its vibrant nightlife now is prohibiting only aggressive begging, not all begging. The ACLU had said the previous ordinance was unconstitutional.

Royal Oak panhandlers now are banned from blocking a path, touching someone without consent and soliciting at outdoor cafes unless they have the owner's consent.

In a statement Monday, the ACLU said it hopes other cities will follow Royal Oak's example. The group says at least 12 Oakland County communities completely ban all begging.

Detroit

Ex-union boss pleads guilty in new corruption case

DETROIT (AP) -- A former Detroit-area labor leader recently released from prison has pleaded guilty to receiving kickbacks from a Chicago money manager.

The case could send Walter Mabry back to prison. The former head of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters took thousands in hotel and entertainment expenses in connection with certain union pension investments from 2004 through summer 2006.

It will be up to federal Judge Arthur Tarnow to decide if Mabry agreed to take $266,000 as an additional kickback. An accomplice Joseph "Roxy" Jewett has been convicted.

Mabry was released from prison after serving time for receiving discounts from contractors for work on his Grosse Pointe Park home.

Published: Wed, May 18, 2011

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