Detroit Councilman Leland charged with misconduct, accused of accepting payments for votes

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland was charged Friday with misconduct in office, a felony, by the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office.

The charging document alleges Leland "accepted payments of money to influence his vote on certain city matters over the course of his employment as a city councilman," Monroe County Prosecutor Michael Roehrig said.

Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland, left, leaves Detroit federal court with attorney Steve Fishman after being released on bond in a public corruption case in 2018.

The payments are alleged to have occurred between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 31, 2018. The maximum penalty for the felony offense is 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. 

Leland, 37, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.

Roehrig was assigned the case after Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy cited a conflict of interest.

Leland's Wayne County arraignment has not yet been scheduled in Wayne County, Roehrig said. 

He declined to comment further on the case. 

The state charge comes as Leland prepares for a federal trial on three counts of bribery on allegations that he demanded $15,000 and free car repairs from businessman Robert Carmack to help him in his fight against city leadership.

In April, Leland’s federal trial was postponed from May to Aug. 17.

The bribery charges carry penalties up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Leland is the highest-ranking Detroit politician charged with a federal crime since former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was indicted a decade ago and subsequently sentenced to 28 years in federal prison.

The indictment came as the councilman lived under a cloud of suspicion since The Detroit News obtained sealed FBI wiretap affidavits in 2017 that revealed he was the target of the federal bribery probe.