Ex-manager at Detroit complex pleads guilty to bribery

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A former manager at a Detroit apartment complex once known as a crime hot spot has pleaded guilty to bribery, federal officials announced Wednesday.

Lucresha Frank admitted to soliciting and accepting cash from prospective tenants at the former Colony Arms, a federally funded Section 8 housing facility, “in exchange for improperly moving them up on a lengthy waiting list,” investigators said in a statement.

Among the bribes the Pontiac resident allegedly took was one from a homeless woman then living in a shelter with her two small children, according to the release.

“Bribery by those entrusted to provide federally funded housing to the economically disadvantaged is an atrocity that cannot stand,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider. “It is not only a breach of the public trust, it takes advantage of those who are at their financial low point and who are desperate for shelter for themselves and their families.”

Frank’s actions also “devastated families experiencing financial distress and prevented those in desperate need from being able to access low cost housing,” said Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain fully committed to investigating and prosecuting anyone who seeks to take advantage of those in our communities through such devious criminal schemes.

The 41-year-old is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 6 before U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Frank was manager at the apartments, known then as Colony and Fisher Arms,  in 2013, the same year police fielded more than 600 calls for service there. The Jefferson Avenue complex had more help requests than any other location in Detroit, making it the city's "most problematic" address, investigators said at the time.

Some 150 officers raided the east side facility that November, part of the Detroit Police Department’s “Operation Restore Order” effort, which has since conducted similar sweeps in problem areas across the city.

Since then, the Colony complex has undergone a major transformation.

Once known for “intolerable power outages, police calls, home invasions and gang activity,” the facility built in 1924 changed ownership in recent years and underwent a $24 million renovation, according to Cinnaire, one of the project partners.

The site near the Manoogian Mansion now is called River Crest Apartments and in 2017 earned the Renovated Community of the Year PRISM Award from the Detroit Metropolitan Apartment Association, Cinnaire reported.