Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers has resigned after pleading guilty to bribery charges in a $45 million sludge handling deal.
Meanwhile in Cleveland, County Commissioner Jimmie Dimora and County Auditor Frank Russo have been implicated–although not by name–in a wide-ranging pay-to-play corruption scheme in which developers traded favors such as trips to Las Vegas in exchange for lucrative public contracts.
Dimora, for his part, has refused to step down, blaming the FBI probe on a vast Republican conspiracy. Last week he voted in a contract for a juvenile detention center he is accused of mishandling.
So, my question is, why do cities on a downward spiral attract crooks?
Youngstown, a city famous for economic upheaval, was equally notorius for corruption during from the 1950s until early this decade. At the height of the mafia’s power in the city car bombs were referred to nationally as “Youngstown tune-ups.” The mob reign came to a dramatic end following the shooting of prosecutor and a judge when a federal probe sent popular U.S. Congressman Jim Traficant to prison for racketeering, bribery and tax fraud.