Ficano to be deposed in lawsuit brought by former photographer - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Ficano to be deposed in lawsuit brought by former photographer

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Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano faces a deposition on Friday  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano faces a deposition on Friday (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano is being sued by a former employee, who claims he was forced to do Ficano's political work on taxpayers' time.  Ficano will give his version of things this Friday under oath, but whatever he says, follow the money.

Ficano gave his State of the County address this week.  He talked a lot, but didn't say much, and he didn't say anything about the lawsuit.

"We've never lost sight of our mission of serving the citizens of Wayne County and helping to ensure and enhance their safety, health and well-being," Ficano said during the speech.

We told you last year when Ficano's assistant CEO of Wayne County Nader Fakhouri quit, he raised Ficano's political money, too, but Ficano fibbed about it.

"Nader Fakhouri resigned, do you comment on that?" I asked Ficano back then.

"Who?" Ficano said.

"Nader Fakhouri, your chief fundraiser," I responded.

"No, he isn't," Ficano replied.

Now according to a deposition that Fakhouri gave recently under oath in a lawsuit brought by Ficano's former photographer, Fakhouri admitted he was Ficano's money man.  He raised cash, he wrote checks and he was the head of Ficano's political charity.

And man what a fundraiser!  He got Ficano paid and Fakhouri got himself paid.  Remember we reported last year about a building in Inkster?  Fakhouri is related to the Boji family, developers and big contributors to Ficano.  They got $2 million in federal money through Turkia Mullin, and they built the place and then sold it back to the county for $7 million.  Remember we reported that Fakhouri was 20 percent partner in that deal.  We were right, and in that deposition he admitted that he got paid $1.5 million over two years.

And remember we told you about an "office suite" that was actually a mailbox in Oakland County where Fakhouri working as Ficano's fundraiser mailed $400,000 in checks.  When asked about that, Fakhouri took the fifth.

Now the FBI is tearing it up investigating whether or not county contractors had to pay kickbacks to Ficano's campaign fund in order to get the work.  We were at federal court last summer when Tahir Kazmi, Ficano's chief information officer, pled guilty to extortion and shaking down contractors.

During the deposition, Fakhouri was asked about an email between himself and Kazmi about some jobs that were going to be carved out for a contributor of Ficano's.  When asked about it, Fakhouri took the fifth for the second time.

We went to Oakland County to ask Fakhouri about all this, but nobody answered the door at his home.

Unbelievably, Ficano is thinking about running for CEO again, so guess who he hired for $6,000 a month to advise him?  Nader Fakhouri.  And what kind of advice did Fakhouri give Ficano?  Bob, you should attend ice cream socials.  Really.  I like my sundaes with severances on top.

Now this Friday it's going to be Ficano's turn to give his side of the story, but he will be under oath for that lawsuit brought by his former photographer, and in that deposition Ficano is going to have to answer questions about contractors, contributions and county employees doing political work on the taxpayers' time and the taxpayers' dime.  Let's hope we get a little bit more than this.

"I've been even more engaged, focused and more involved in details.  I assure you lessons have been learned by all," Ficano said in his State of the County speech.

Ficano's people say he will not comment on pending litigation.

As for Fakhouri, we're told he is recuperating from intestinal troubles.  We wish him well.

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