AG charges Robert Carmack with felony drunken driving

A Detroit businessman accused of defrauding the city in a land deal has found himself in more legal trouble.

Attorney General Dana Nessel on Friday charged Robert Carmack with one felony count of operating while intoxicated, third offense. The 60-year-old Woodhaven resident was arraigned the same day in 33rd District Court.

If convicted in connection with the Oct. 27 incident in Brownstown Township, he faces a penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Robert Carmack after his October arrest for suspicion of drunken driving.

He's due back in court Jan. 3 for a probable cause conference and his preliminary examination is set for Jan. 7. His bond was set at $5,000, 10%.

Reached Monday, Carmack's attorney Edward Zelenak declined to comment. Carmack could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to court records, Carmack is barred from drinking and subject to alcohol monitoring. 

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office requested that a special prosecutor handle the case, spokeswoman Maria Miller confirmed Monday.

Separately, Carmack is charged with multiple felonies in connection with a Detroit land deal; that case is being handled by the Genesee County Prosecutor's Office.

In that case, Carmack is charged with false pretenses and uttering and publishing in connection with the 2016 sale of the 10-acre property at 7751 Melville St. in southwest Detroit.

Authorities contend Carmack never completed a $250,000 purchase of the site but used draft documents from 2007 to fraudulently represent that he owned the land before selling it. Carmack could spend up to 14 years in prison if convicted in that case. 

On Thursday, Carmack's attorneys Lillian Diallo and Steve Haney argued during a motion hearing before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Noah Hood that the case should be dismissed, citing evidence that Carmack got the deed to the property, and city officials had signed off.

Haney, in court Thursday, said the evidence "that Mr. Carmack was validly conveyed the title to the Melville property" was "overwhelming."

Carmack's lawyers further contend that the case against him is "vindictive prosecution" based on retaliation. Carmack, Haney said, received the Melville property in a “proper and fair” manner.

The auto shop owner has taken aim at Mayor Mike Duggan with video footage displayed on billboard trucks and airplane banners.

Carmack hired a private investigator last year to trail Duggan and capture his comings and goings, including visits to a Novi condo, calling into question the mayor's relationship with a woman also captured in the video footage at the same location.

Assistant Genesee Prosecutor Patrick McCombs, who is prosecuting the case, argued against the dismissal, noting that a district court judge "properly found probable cause a crime was committed ... and Mr. Carmack committed them."

“We’re not here because he (Carmack)  went after the mayor," McCombs said. “We’re here because of probable cause."