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Wayne County's new jail being turned into a pile of rubble

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Charlie LeDuff (left) and Wayne Co. Executive Robert Ficano (right) Charlie LeDuff (left) and Wayne Co. Executive Robert Ficano (right)

By Charlie LeDuff
FOX 2 News

DETROIT (WJBK) -- So I'm driving by the Wayne County Jail and - look - what are they doing? Working on it again? Nope.

They're taking it apart.

And where are they taking it? They're bringing it to be crushed up into dust. $404 million dollars - WASTED.

We've told you for two years that this thing was going to be over budget and not be big enough. They've already sunk $200 million into it - plus interest. Don't forget the interest. $404 million. So what's the answer? They're crushing it. They're crushing it without having told the county commission, the news media and most importantly: the taxpaying public.

"Yesterday we had a complete update from the commission and they never mentioned dismantling this, they were exploring all options they told us," Wayne County COmmissioner Kevin McNamara says.

I ask: Is it time for Ficano to go?

McNamara: It's been time for Ficano to go for awhile.

The word they gave to the public is they're securing the site for the wintertime. But that's only a half-truth. Because, in fact, they're tearing it down. Here's Bob Ficano's chief of staff, June Lee, admitting as much: "We're going to work together to come up with the best solution we can. It's not going to be perfect, it's not going to be what we first thought it was going to be, most likely, but the goal is to do the best that we can."

I ask: So that jail project's over?

Lee: This current jail project, as it currently stands, is over.

If that's the case, then why can't his boss Bob Ficano give you a straight answer?

I ask: Can you give the people an answer. ... It's about their money, and their children - is that jail project over?

Ficano: Charlie, I don't know how many more times I can tell you this.

I say: Maybe just say yes ...

Ficano: Because that wouldn't be truthful, would it? What the facts are is: we've stopped the project, we're doing an evaluation on the property and we're going to see where another jail could be built in negotiation with the state.

I ask: Has any of the cement been crushed?

Ficano: I don't know if any of the cement's been crushed.

I say: You want to call? I can wait. That's the big question for tonight, for my story. I want to get it right.

Ficano: I'll be truthful: I don't know because I don't follow it. I'm not the architect. I'm not the one unwinding it. You have professionals unwinding the contract.

I say: What if I told you it is being crushed? What would you think if I told you the jail's being demolished?

Ficano: At this point, it is being in the process of being secured. Okay? And what some might be doing, in how they're unwinding the contract, of that, is done by professionals. It's done by the contractors.

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