How Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law Guarantees Corruption

One of the arguments raised by people like me against Michigan’s authoritarian and anti-democratic emergency manager law over the last few years is that allowing people, and even whole businesses, to have dictatorial control of a city will lead to inevitable conflicts of interest and using that power to enrich themselves. Here’s a perfect example:

Pontiac’s former state-appointed financial manager Fred Leeb is part of a coalition seeking a constitutional amendment to expand casino gambling in eight locations across Michigan, including the Silverdome in Pontiac, the public relations firm representing the coalition says.

Leeb was Pontiac’s state-appointed emergency manager from March 2009 until June 2010. The Silverdome was sold to Andreas Apostolopoulos in November 2009 for $583,000, a sum that drew wide criticism for being so low for the former home of the Detroit Lions…

But Emily Gerkin Palsrok of Lambert Edwards & Associates, the public relations company handling information about the ballot initiative and the coalition behind it, said Leeb, along with Apostolopolous, are part of the coalition seeking to put the initiative on the November ballot.

“He (Andreas Apostolopoulos), Steve Apostolopoulos and Fred Leeb are part of Jobs First,” Emily Gerkin Palsrok of Lambert Edwards & Associates said Monday. “As such, this is land that they’re targeting to use.”

So as Pontiac’s emergency manager he helped engineer the sale of the Silverdome at a fire sale price and now he’s working with the guy who bought it to make what will inevitably end up being a huge amount of money on the use of that property. Anyone wanna bet that Leeb will end up as a partner in the casino there if and when it’s approved? I’m all for this initiative, though I think it doesn’t go far enough. I think gambling should simply be legalized in all forms, everywhere. But this deal stinks to high heaven.

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