Detroit Land Bank appoints executive director

The Detroit News

The Detroit Land Bank Board announced Thursday it appointed the group’s interim executive director to lead the group permanently.

Carrie Lewand-Monroe had been acting as executive director since October, shortly after the board fired Kevin Simowski. Simowski was placed on medical leave Sept. 1 and was instructed to not have any contact with land bank employees, according to a land bank statement at the time.

Lewand-Monroe’s will make $140,000 a year in the post.

“An attorney, Lewand-Monroe has had a lengthy and successful career creating land use and housing policy,” according to a land bank statement.

Mayor Mike Duggan has used the land bank as the central repository for most city property, much of it inherited from the county foreclosure tax sale when properties don't sell. The agency has held its own auctions to sell livable homes to buyers, who are held to rehabilitation deadlines, and has handled the city’s demolition program.

Duggan has faced criticism for rising costs for razing blighted homes and the bidding of demolition contracts.

The land bank also made news after Simoski’s firing. Lewand-Monroe, who was deputy director of the land bank at the time, had filed a personal protection order against Simowski in Wayne County Circuit Court the day the former executive director was fired. She alleged he parked outside of her Ann Arbor home, waiting for her to return from work and made “numerous unwanted verbal contacts.”

Lewand-Monroe’s father is F. Thomas Lewand, Duggan’s group executive for Jobs and Economic Growth.

She was formerly executive director of the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority under Gov. Jennifer Granholm.