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He said he didn't learn of the relationship until a few days later, when he called his legal counsel, Celia Washington, who had a friendly relationship with the Fiores.Related: FBI wiretaps reveal how towing titan Fiore built his empire Ex-Detroit police official pleads guilty to bribery: 'I should have known better'Michigan senator says his hands are clean in towing bribery scandal"I said, 'Why is Councilman Leland coming to me asking about towing?As I recall, all of the contracts, the extensions and amendments were non-controversial at the time, and fully vetted by the Police Department.I believe the votes at the council table were unanimous and later approved by the Financial Review Commission."The city's charter states that council members are required to disclose any financial interest, direct or indirect, that "he or she or an immediate family member has in any contract or matter pending before city council." The disclosures are required to be made in writing via a sworn, notarized affidavit, according to the charter.
Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor who has closely followed public corruption cases in Metro Detroit, said Leland should have recused himself from the votes involving his girlfriend's companies."It might not be a crime, but it could well be an ethics violation," Henning said.According to Craig, Leland hoodwinked him in setting up the 2016 meeting, pretending it was to discuss community initiatives when really, Craig said, Leland wanted an inside scoop on a towing investigation."Certainly when he set up the meeting it was not about towing.Leland, the FBI wrote, was one of his helpers who kept him in the loop. Gabe said he mentioned about the towing and the chief said he wasn't gonna do nothing with it right now, and so there's some stuff going on."FBI agent Bob Beeckman wrote in the affidavit: "This is a reference to the covert police corruption investigation, of which Fiore is now aware."The Free Press asked Leland additional questions via email, including whether Fiore at any point gave him any money or if he's had any conversations with the FBI since it was revealed he had been listed as a target. The majority of City Council members did not return calls or emails seeking comment about Leland voting on the contracts or the FBI investigation.As an agent wrote in one document, "it appears that Chief Craig briefed Gabe Leland about the towing case, and Leland has briefed the Fiore family about it."Specifically, wiretap evidence shows that the Fiore family learned about the so-called "Mars Investigation" from Leland. Wiretap evidence also captured Washington telling Gasper Fiore in a conversation: "So ... A spokesman for Mayor Mike Duggan declined to comment on the matter as well.