Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel answered questions from state attorneys for about an hour last week regarding allegations that he perjured himself when he signed a sworn statement that he was in compliance with election laws when he actually owed $42,000 in unpaid campaign fees, Cockrel’s attorney said today. Advertisement
Michael Hodge, an election law attorney, said he invited lawyers from the Attorney General’s Office to interview Cockrel about the situation in light of a complaint filed by a Detroit political consultant asking that Cockrel be charged.
“It was very conversational,” Hodge said. “Once the information provided by the mayor is confirmed by the Attorney General’s Office, I fully expect that the complaint will be dismissed.”
Two assistant attorneys general interviewed Cockrel on Thursday at Hodge’s Detroit law office, Hodge said.
The revelation of Cockrel’s interview came as the Wayne County Clerk’s Office announced that state attorneys had requested interviews of its staff and said Attorney General Mike Cox had opened an investigation. Hodge said he isn’t sure if an investigation has formally been opened and that it only makes sense that the clerk’s office be contacted since the information leading to the complaint came from the clerk’s office.
Robert Davis, a member of the Highland Park school board who’s advising Clerk Cathy Garrett, whose office levied the fees against Cockrel, said state attorneys could interview clerk staff as early as Tuesday. Davis is providing the advice for free.
Cox spokesman John Sellek said the attorney general’s office would not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, as is its policy in all such situations.
Cockrel's troubles began after he failed to resolve $42,000 in unpaid campaign fees that Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett assessed against his campaign fund in late 2006.
When Cockrel filed to run for mayor Oct. 14, he signed a sworn statement that the fees were paid, saying he thought his filing of remaining campaign paperwork would earn him a waiver, based on what he insists a member of the clerk’s staff told his campaign. Garrett has denied any staffer gave any such assurance and Cockrel has refused to say who gave him the information.
Garrett later rejected Cockrel’s waiver request, and Cockrel has since paid the fees.