Library contractors get prison terms for bribery scheme

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — Two former Detroit Public Library contractors were sentenced Tuesday to more than two years in prison for their roles in a $1.4 million kickback scheme.

U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh on Tuesday sentenced James Henley, 44, of Detroit, and Ricardo Hearn, 32, of Royal Oak, to 27 months and 28 months, respectively, in federal prison. They also were ordered to pay $750,000 restitution to the library.

The sentences came four months after former Detroit Public Library executive Timothy Cromer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the kickback scheme.

“This case demonstrates that not just bribe takers, but bribe payers will be held accountable in appropriate cases,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement Wednesday. “Everyone who corrupts the system should be brought to justice.”

Cromer of West Bloomfield Township was a top library official from 2006-13 when he lost his $145,323 a year job after the FBI raided the library's main branch and his home.

Cromer, the library's former chief administrative and technology officer, secured nearly $5 million in fraudulent contracts for two information technologies companies, which paid him $1.4 million in kickbacks, investigators alleged. The technology companies were owned by Henley and Hearn.

The library work could have been completed for less than $150,000.

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