Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Former Detroit Library Official Charged with Corruption

The former chief administrative and technology officer of the Detroit Public Library was charged with taking more than $1.4 million in bribes and kickbacks from contractors of the library, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced yesterday in a prepared statement. She was joined in this announcement was Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez from the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

Timothy Cromer, age 46, who held his library position from 2006 to 2013, was charged in a 21-count superseding indictment. James Henley and Ricardo Hearn, both contractors at the library, were also charged yesterday.

According to the indictment, Cromer helped Henley create a business in 2007 called Core Consulting & Professional Services and then instructed him to submit a proposal for information technology services at the Detroit Public Library. Cromer arranged for Core to win the bid and approved various change orders and extensions, causing the Detroit Public Library to pay Core a total of about $1.8 million. Henley is alleged to have kicked back about $500,000 to Cromer until Core’s contract with the Detroit Public Library was terminated in January 2008. Cromer terminated the contract to prevent officials from discovering the kickback scheme. Even after the contract was terminated, Cromer instructed Henley to continue submitting invoices on behalf of Core. Cromer continued to approve the invoices, and Henley kicked back an additional $125,000 to Cromer.

Cromer was also charged with receiving kickbacks from Hearn, another contractor. Cromer allegedly approved no-bid professional services contracts for Hearn’s company, Cubemation LLC, to perform information technology services for the Detroit Public Library from 2008 until 2010. According to the indictment, Cubemation received about $2.8 million in payments from the Detroit Public Library, and Hearn delivered about $800,000 in cash to Cromer during that time period.

If convicted, Cromer, Henley, and Hearn each face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each bribery count. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of proceeds and payments associated with the bribery scheme.

U.S. Attorney McQuade stated, “Our public libraries exist for the cultural and intellectual enrichment of our citizens, not for the personal profit of the officials who work there. The bribery scheme alleged in the indictment represents a betrayal of the honest employees who have dedicated themselves to serving the Detroit Public Library and its patrons. We will do all we can to root out such corruption and deter officials from using public funds for self-enrichment.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III added, “We will aggressively pursue violations of the public trust such as that demonstrated in this case.”

The case was investigated by agents of the FBI and the IRS. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth A. Stafford and Julie Beck.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. It will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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