FBI targets sketchy political nonprofit in Detroit Council probe

December 01, 2021, 9:06 AM

Councilmember Janeé Ayers.

A political nonprofit set up this year to benefit Detroit city councilwoman Janeé Ayers as she sought re-election is reportedly being investigated by the FBI, sources familiar with the case tell The Detroit News.

Ayers lost her re-election bid by a sliver after raids on her home and office in August, but the probe — part of "Operation Northern Hook" — continues. 

The non-profit, Progess Detroit Inc., is reportedly run by Diana McBroom, a Democratic political donor, consultant, and high-ranking appointee of Oakland County executive David Coulter.

McBroom is not suspected of wrongdoing, according to a source, and it was unclear whether she is cooperating with investigators and federal prosecutors. "I don't have any comment for you," McBroom, 56, told The News during a brief interview.

Ayers and McBroom are described as close friends and colleagues. Since Ayers took office in 2015, her campaign has paid McBroom more than $70,000 in consulting fees and reimbursements, according to The News.

The nonprofit is a 501c4 that, unlike a traditional political campaign, does not have to publicly disclose donors or expenditures.

FBI agents have also sought 501c4 records from Detroit city councilman Scott Benson and his to top aide, Carol Banks. They're associated with the nonprofit Save Detroit Jobs, which in state business filings changed its name to Detroit Leaders in August. The News reports the nonprofit is also sometimes called Impact Detroit.

Read more:  The Detroit News

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