According to WXYZ he did this, he did that, responsible for a bad Race Track deal, of course they refused to do a real story on that particular subject matter of Pinnacle. Considering it eluded the facts that Governor dumbbell dissolved the office of racing commissioner in 2009 then took horse racing from its governing body of agriculture where it had been from the beginning in 1933 and threw it under Gaming MGCB. Even though for some strange reason I personally never saw anything that even remotely resembled a machine that looked like it fell under Gaming at that track. And of course they also didn’t report on how any business would survive considering that Pinnacle was allotted 84 days of race dates in 2009 & 2010 only to have them all slashed but three. But lets move on.
Thursday Ficano’s at one time right hand man filed a whistleblower lawsuit against him or what WXYZ actually reported back in Oct. of 2011 that the fact was that it seemed that Azzam Elder was actually running the show altogether. Oh but my the tune is back to the same song and dance. See See it’s really Bob Ficano. He made Elder do this and he made Elder do that, made him conspire, held him down by dripping hot candle wax and boiling oil on him. Ficano even brought in a Witch Doctor to Hoodoo him or else.
Well why sure he did. But here’s WXYZ’s news footage with Elder and Mullin doing some hugging time with him after she learned sorry no severance coming. Did Bob Ficano make him do that as well?
Elder repeatedly told all local Detroit media, TV & Newspaper side that he voluntarily resigned or was Ficano pointing a gun at his head?
FBI’s main focus on Azzam Elder, former economic development czar Turkia Mullin, information technology chief Tahir Kazmi.
This Ross Jones report stated that Elder certainly has been the most powerful deputy executives in Wayne county’s history.
There was even a report that stated people in Detroit feared Elder’s intimidating ways. But what I found intriguing is this piece by Crain’s Detroit from October 02, 2011 written by Nancy Kaffer in-which Azzam Elder states: that Seven of the 19 members — Clark Hill PLC, Ghafari Associates, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Strategic Staffing Solutions, The Sterling Group, Boji Group and Walbridge Aldinger — are county contractors, Wayne County Deputy Executive Azzam Elder said, noting that in most cases the businesses have provided services to the county since before Ficano became executive.
Interesting to say at least. Very notable facts though that Elder pointed out.
Or was Bob Ficano standing behind a curtain with a machine gun pointed at dear old Azzam forcing him to make such an interesting long-winded explanation?
Originally Published: October 02, 2011 8:00 PM Modified: October 06, 2011 11:52 AM
Wayne County development organizations too chummy?
A $200,000 severance payment, which is being returned, wasn’t the only thing Turkia Awada Mullin was eligible for at Wayne County.
In addition to her salary as the county’s chief development officer, Mullin was eligible for a $75,000 performance bonus in her dual role as executive director of the Wayne County Business Development Corp.,
a nonprofit created in 2009 to complement the efforts of the county’s economic development department: the Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine.
The 501(c)(6) membership group nonprofit uses private donations to pay for things like Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano’s trade missions to Asia and organize conversations between business and labor leaders — important work, county officials say, but not a core function of county government.
But the management of the nonprofit has drawn questions — namely, about the way the organization pays its executive director and the small size of its membership pool.
Seven of the 19 members — Clark Hill PLC, Ghafari Associates, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Strategic Staffing Solutions, The Sterling Group, Boji Group and Walbridge Aldinger — are county contractors, Wayne County Deputy Executive Azzam Elder said, noting that in most cases the businesses have provided services to the county since before Ficano became executive.
The executive director of the nonprofit — a position open since Mullin became CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority in August — is a county employee who receives a county salary.
Mullin, for example, earned $200,000 annually. But as executive director of the business development corporation, Mullin was eligible for a performance bonus of up to $75,000 if she met the nonprofit’s objectives.
The nonprofit’s budget is funded entirely by dues from its member businesses, and the organization is not actively recruiting new members.
“To set up a separate economic development organization funded by businesses within Wayne County itself may have value and be helpful, but it has to be anticipated that the work of the organization may well be directed toward benefiting their members if they’re few in number,” said John Mogk, a professor at Wayne State University Law School.
“When you have the executive director paid with county funds that are designed to benefit everyone in the county, then topped off with funds from the members, then you get into the question of whether that is essentially running afoul of the public interest and purpose that the director should be serving.”
For-profit members pay $25,000 annually; nonprofit members pay $12,500. The group’s bylaws don’t define who is eligible to become a member, though the bylaws do provide for non-voting members, who may be “individuals, corporations, businesses or other entities interested in supporting the purposes and goals of the corporation and who pay the membership fees determined by the board of directors from time to time.”
Elder said the nonprofit was started to fill a void, one that wasn’t being served by traditional county economic development functions. The co-employment concept, he said, was recommended by business community members who served on a Ficano transition team.
Elder says he doesn’t think that funding or staffing represent a conflict of interest.
The Wayne County Business Development Corp. is something of a hybrid. A survey of some of the state’s most prominent business development organizations shows that those affiliated with a government, like the Michigan Economic Development Corp. or the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. — which both receive money from the business community — are separate legal entities from the governments with which they are affiliated, and workers are employees of the corporation, not the government body. Oakland County’s economic development arm is funded by county dollars and staffed by county employees, though two external boards that oversee loan programs are staffed by workers paid with loan generation fees.
Ann Arbor Spark, a private nonprofit economic development group, is funded in part by private business donations, but not affiliated with a government entity.
“Is the DEGC set up better than this one? If you tell me, “Azzam, the DEGC is a better-set-up organization,’ you’re not going to get an argument from me. But basically right now we have a joint employment where the county pays and the business community pays, and so far it’s working,” Elder said.
“So far, we are very, very happy with the results over the last couple of years with the type of investments we have been able to attract to Wayne County.”
While there are no formal criteria for membership, the door isn’t closed to new members, he said.
“As a new organization, the goal was to identify businesses from different segments to ensure a diverse group of members with solid reputations, influence and different perspectives,” Elder said. “The (business development corporation) was able to get top-notch representation from business and labor, and once the group got to about 20 members they put the brakes on because, as noted, the goal was always to have an intimate group that could have honest and trusted dialogue.”
The small number of members, plus the fact that many are county contractors, creates the appearance that there could be preferential treatment, Mogk said.
“It doesn’t mean that there is, but it creates an appearance. … The county official’s responsibility is to serve everyone in the county without engaging any preferential treatment in terms of promoting economic development. Certainly the official should direct attention to the opportunities that provide the greatest benefit to the county. That decision should not be made on the basis of any one particular organization, but the economic development of the county as a whole.”
Private sector contributions aren’t an unusual way to fund economic development agencies, said John Avery, executive director of the Lansing-based Michigan Economic Developers Association, pointing to Ann Arbor Spark and Grand Rapids’ The Right Place. Avery said he couldn’t comment on the executive director’s pay, because he is not familiar with the model.
Elder said that the nonprofit plays a valuable role in the county’s economic development efforts.
“There was a void,” he said. “The whole focus came from the business community. That really was the inception of it. … The business community came to us and said, “You need a BDC because that’s how everybody else does it; that’s how the state does it, how Oakland County does it, how the city of Detroit does it … there are certain things you need to do that business community is willing to fund.'”
Like bringing site selection experts to Wayne County, or a trip that UAW President Bob King and Ficano took to Italy, which Elder said made the region more competitive for Fiat’s business.
“When hear you hear Bob King address the folks at (the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference), a lot of what is being said on both sides is a result of people of influence coming together in an environment where they don’t feel like they’re in opposition to each other,” he said. “Site selectors left here believing in Wayne County and Southeast Michigan, and they came in skeptical, with all the suspicions and misconceptions people have. We feel we can pick up the phone, call them, and feel we have a far better chance to compete for some of the big deals.”
The body also serves as something of an advisory group for Ficano, Elder said.
The nonprofit, he said, asks “how to elevate Wayne County, which helps elevate the members interests,” he said. “People forget how Bob Ficano gets his direction. … Members say “We cannot lose the North American International Auto Show’ and that’s how he became a champion of Cobo Center expansion.”
The greatest asset nonprofits have is trust, said Kyle Caldwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association in Lansing.
But in this case, he said, “the bigger issue is determining how the interests of the nonprofit and how the interests of the government are being protected here and segregated where appropriate. … A public employee will have to really document how their activities are segregated from the publicly funded versus charity-funded.
“In the case where you have the potential for mixed allegiances, you’ve got to be really clear on your activities and your spending, because when you mix the two, you run into trouble, especially in publicly funded organizations.”
That sure is a whole lot of talking if you ask me.
7 out of 19 before Ficano ever stepped into his position? And since Azzam Elder was appointed by Ficano? And the rest of these nuts?
You see WXYZ likes to talk a big game of how now things are being turned around by others. But how about them? A few months back ranting that who was really running Wayne County Elder or Ficano? But the second Elder who after openly admitted to a 1,000 news outlets that he resigned willingly and very voluntarily but now is SUING his former boss Bob Ficano…Ohhhhh the pitch forks all come back out all aiming again at Ficano.
From one moment to the next Ficano, Elder, Ficano, Elder, Ficano. Turkia Mullins playing huggy huggy with Elder after finding out sorry baby you got nothing coming. Consoling in cars and who knows where else.
Now everybody is suing everybody. Mullins wants retractions, Elder wants retractions. Shit I’m still waiting for Bob Ficano to tell Mary Conway off for her unbalanced story on Pinnacle Race Course. I have no idea who Ficano’s advisers are but I’d fire them all. I would have said it like it was. Instead of defending something that all of us know that wasn’t ( I remind you I’m a Race Tracker ) that Pinnacle couldn’t have possibly produced the promised jobs after what the State stepped in and did. Dissolving The Office of Racing Commissioner then taking Horse Racing from under agriculture and placing it under the MGCB.
Them allotting 84 Racing Days for 2009 and 2010 then turning around and stripping all of the dates but THREE. The place never got completed as planned and ever got off the ground because of what Michigan not Wayne County did to Pinnacle. So how in the world could they have they possibly produced those jobs?
But Bob Ficano sat patient and calm smiling trying to be nice and for what? I would have blasted Mary Conway right out of her chair and producer Ross Jones with some real life actual facts.
But was Ficano silent on them because he is the Executive of Wayne County and many of those same people he’s affiliated with are also in bed with the three Detroit Casino’s and maybe he didn’t want to ruffle those feathers?
After all MGCB Director Richard Kalm made his position made well-known to the Detroit Free Press and others on how Detroit depends exclusively on the three Detroit Casinos. God forbid other original forms of gambling who were here long before them might take away from them if and when those establishments may ever gain actual GAMING.
Pinnacle was a target from the start by many but I didn’t see WXYZ or any other news outlet in the Detroit area questioning anything. After all MGM, Motor City & Greektown pay a pretty penny for advertising on the news from 5:00PM, 6:00pm, 7:00pm, 10:00PM & 11:00PM. Bu then there’s the idiot who built PRC but wouldn’t spend a dime for any promotion or ads at all on the track he opened. He thought bodies were going to fall onto the landscape from the sky to patronize Pinnacle.
A whole lot of shit isn’t getting reported on in this town so I don’t want to hear any cry babies now like Mullin & Elder and whoever else may crawl out of the woodwork to sue Bob Ficano.
Either this man is the biggest grand master of schemes and stealing or the dumbest boy on the block. Maybe his silence is covering up the fact that Ali Baba and his thieves were running in circles around Bob Ficano with him actually being that clueless. Time will tell.
I have no idea if guilty, how guilty or how dumb founded this man is. All I know is after WXYZ reporting on how crafty Azzam Elder has operated in this city from the time he got appointed his position and the news openly admitting that he has been the most powerful Deputy executive Wayne County has ever had. Something stinks from the sky to the sewers of Detroit.
Sounds to me as if a whole lot of somebody’s here are as full of shit as the Christmas turkey and I just don’t think it’s all about Bob Ficano.
Does he himself even know just where all this money is that was taken in by this Wayne County Business Development Corporation? I’m beginning to really wonder.
But Stay Tuned to “The World Is Going To End” and it’s ALL Bob Ficano’s Fault!
A never-ending soap opera.
Which ones are really the?
Fire – The Crazy World Of
Bob Ficano (sorry about that) Arthur Brown
Written by Brown, Crane, Finesilver, Ker
Released off the 1968 album.
Arthur Brown – vocals
Vincent Crane – keyboards
Sean Nicholas – bass guitar (was later known as Nicholas Greenwood)
Drachen Theaker – drums (album)