Feds seek Romulus mayor's campaign records

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating the Romulus mayor and his campaign amid questions about spending campaign funds in a past race on personal expenses, including his daughter's wedding.

A federal grand jury subpoena was sent to the Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett's Office in July about Mayor LeRoy Burcroff’s campaign finance statements, according to documents The Detroit News obtained Monday through the Freedom of Information Act. The subpoena came after questions were raised earlier this year about the spending of campaign money in 2013 on the wedding of Burcroff's daughter. 

A federal grand jury subpoena has sought records about Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff’s campaign finance statements.

In July, the Michigan Secretary of State's Office said it had been investigating allegations around Burcroff's campaign spending for months

The Michigan Secretary of State's Office representatives didn't immediately respond Monday night to a request for comment on the status of the probe. 

The federal subpoena, dated July 8, requested “any and all campaign finance filings and/or correspondence related to the Committee to Elect Leroy D. Burcroff … between the dates of January 1, 2015 and July 1, 2021. Records provided should include any and all email correspondence and IP addresses used by the Committee to file reports and send/receive correspondence.”

The dates in the federal subpoena do not cover the wedding for the mayor’s daughter in 2013. However, Wayne County officials confirmed to The News on Monday that they turned over campaign filings for Burcroff dating back to 2007. 

The latest were from February 2021, according to the list of more than 30 items the county provided to The News.

Burcroff is not seeking reelection in November. Former Mayor Alan Lambert and Robert McCraight are seeking the office.

Burcroff's attorney told The News in July that the mayor had returned in September 2020 at least $4,500 in campaign funds used to cover the wedding costs. Lawyer Daniel J. Wholihan said the mayor took the action "because of the poor optics and the likelihood it could be used in negative campaigning."

There was no immediate comment from the FBI on the subpoena.

Wholihan did not immediately respond Monday night to a request for comment.

Through his attorney, Burcroff said in July he and his wife spent about $20,000 of their own money to pay for their daughter's ceremony, days after winning reelection.

The mayor said they invited donors, volunteers, supporters "and many constituents to the wedding,” according to his lawyer, and campaign money covered the nearly $4,500 tab.

"This was the basis of the mayor’s good faith belief that he was using (campaign) funds for a permitted victory party," Wholihan said in a statement at the time. 

"Under the advice of a Michigan campaign finance expert, Mayor Burcroff remitted the entire cost of this disbursement back to CTE (committee to elect) account on 9-18-2020 because of the poor optics and the likelihood it could be used in negative campaigning."

WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) first reported that Burcroff had returned the money and had raised questions about the contributions.