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M.L. Elrick forms candidate committee for Detroit City Council

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Pulitzer Prize-winning former Detroit Free Press journalist has formed a candidate committee for Detroit's City Council.

M.L. Elrick, who recently took a buyout with the Free Press and was wrapping up his final day at the newspaper Monday, filed paperwork with the Wayne County Clerk's Office on Dec. 21.

Such a filing is typically the first step in launching a campaign. Elrick's bid would be for District 4 on the city's east side. The seat currently is held by Councilman Andre Spivey.

Reached Monday, Elrick told The News that "Today is my last day at the Free Press and I'm still on deadline.

"When I'm on my own, I hope to be sharing my plans with people soon," Elrick added.

Alexis Wiley, left, Mayor Mike Duggan’s former chief of staff; reporter M.L. Elrick and Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield at “Cocktails for a Cause” at the Addison Eatery.

While working at the Free Press, Elrick and colleague Jim Schaefer were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in local reporting in 2009 for their "uncovering a pattern of lies by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick that included denial of a sexual relationship with his female chief of staff, prompting an investigation of perjury that eventually led to jail terms for the two officials," the Pulitzer Prize winners site notes.

The Michigan State University graduate has been a Detroit resident since 1999. He lives in East English Village and is on the association's board. 

He has had stints as an investigative reporter with WDIV-TV Channel 4 and WJBK-TV Fox 2 and he hosts the "Soul of Detroit" podcast. 

Spivey could not be reached for comment Monday. 

Elrick is known for his investigative reports involving elected officials.

Among his reports, Elrick called into question the attendance record and residency of Detroit Democrat and former state Rep. John Olumba as well as allegations of threatening behavior by former Wayne County Commissioner Reggie "Reg" Davis. 

He's also focused attention on Detroit's current and former council members. Elrick reported on Spivey's controversial collection of petition signatures in a past council race, the suspension of former Detroit Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr.'s law license and the legal troubles of Councilman Gabe Leland, who represents the city's District 7 and was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2018 on bribery conspiracy charges.

Spivey could not be immediately reached for comment Monday. 

Detroit's council president earns $86,967 per year. Other council members are paid $82,749 per year.