Ex-Detroit council member gets 2 years in prison for bribes

By Ed White
Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — A former Detroit City Council member who quit after pleading guilty to a bribery scheme was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison.

Andre Spivey acknowledged his "very poor choices" in accepting $36,000 but had hoped to get probation. His sentence still was far below the 40 months recommended by federal prosecutors.

"This wasn't a mild case of corruption," U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said. "This was not a single lapse in judgment, as many supporters suggest, but a pattern of corruption and flawed character that is antithetical to a public official."

In September, Spivey, 48, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting that he and an aide accepted bribes related to oversight of towing. The money came from an undercover agent or an informant.

Defense attorney Elliott Hall emphasized that Spivey's influence "never ripened" into actual action at the City Council. The judge, however, wasn't swayed.

"The bribery was complete when the defendant agreed to sell his soul, to sell his vote, even though he may not have found an opportune moment to deliver on that promise," Roberts said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gardey said Spivey's crime was another blow to the public.

It "left the people of Detroit with the sick and disgusted feeling that nothing has changed, and that corruption is endemic to their city," Gardey said in a court filing.

The Detroit council has been under scrutiny. Federal agents in August searched City Hall and the homes of two other council members. They haven't been charged; one now is out of office.

Another member, Gabe Leland, quit the council last year after pleading guilty in state court to a campaign finance crime.