Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano (Clarence Tabb, Jr./The Detroit News)
Detroit — Another key lieutenant has left Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano's once mighty but now idle political operation.
JoAnn Abdenour, a constituent services aide who helped coordinate campaign activities of Ficano appointees, resigned July 6. She follows her boss Assistant Executive Nader Fakhouri, Ficano's chief fundraiser who left in April.
Abdenour's exit winnows a core group of appointees who helped direct Ficano's political activities.
Ficano's campaign hasn't hosted a fundraiser since a grand jury in October served subpoenas on his administration. His annual June gala fundraiser wasn't held this year and his campaign and political action committee raised $2,000 from October to April, according to the most recent state fundraising reports.
"He can't get anyone to give to him because they worry they'd be under scrutiny because of the FBI," said Commissioner Bernard Parker, D-Detroit.
The Ficano campaign raised more than $600,000 last year before the scandals, but his political action committee dropped to No. 4 among Michigan officeholders last year from No. 1 in 2009-10, state records show.
Ficano spokeswoman June West said "there is movement" to restart fundraising. The county executive is not up for re-election until 2014, and his fundraising often slows during off years, she said.
"People have asked for his support," West said. "Plans are coming together for fundraising."
Emails obtained by The News show Abdenour, Fakhouri and indicted former Assistant Executive Michael Grundy were instrumental in coordinating Ficano's 170-plus appointees to campaign on behalf of commissioners and other candidates.
A 2008 email from Abdenour's personal account shows her directing appointees to work on behalf of Treasurer Raymond J. Wojtowicz's re-election.
"For individuals who feel they are unable to walk approximately 1 mile, we ask that you double up on phone banking," Abdenour wrote.
Ficano has said appointees volunteered on campaigns because they like politics.
In an email to The News, Abdenour on Friday said she didn't work on campaigns during county time.
"People will always talk," she wrote.
"Be assured that I have been around long enough to know what the rules are and I made sure I followed them."
All 15 commissioners are up for re-election this year. They're keeping their distance from Ficano, said Commissioner Kevin McNamara, D-Belleville.
"I know of no one who has asked Bob for any help," McNamara said. "If you had a check from him, that wouldn't be good. And Bob Ficano's endorsement doesn't go far at all anymore."