Thursday, February 25, 2021

Missing community center rental fees questioned

Alex Legion
Inkster police are investigating claims that the former parks and recreation director had been renting the city recreation complex through a private company in which he was a managing partner.

Alex Legion, who had been with the city for a short time, according to officials, was the managing partner and organizer of Signature Milestones LLC listed in state records. Officials said rental fees for the municipal buildings were paid to Signature Milestones in  amount totaling about $1,200. That money, according to Mayor Patrick Wimberly, was used to renovate and furnish Legion's city office.

A request for a police investigation into Legion's financial dealings and possible embezzlement was approved by a 5-0 vote of the city recreation commission members at their Feb. 11 meeting.  Chairperson of the commission, Shirley Hankerson, wrote to members of the city council regarding the situation explaining that the commission was not satisfied with the communication from the mayor regarding the situation.

“Questions were raised about the misuse of public funds with the Parks and Recreation Department as well as the prosecution of the past director, Alex Legion, who is suspected of embezzlement from the department's due revenue and was allowed to resign from his position and not terminated,” the communication read.

“Mayor Wimberly stated that he and the Chief of Police William T. Riley, III, launched an investigation but decided that he (Legion) should pay the money back. We contend that there was a grave miscarriage of justice for the city of Inkster in that the investigations did not result in definitive answers as to what are the true circumstances of the situation.”  

Hankerson said the facility rental fees were not deposited with the city treasurer and that she and the other commissioners do not feel there was a thorough investigation. Hankerson said she wants an outside investigation by the Michigan State Police, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department or the state attorney general. 

Wimberly said that Legion had, in fact, repaid the $1,200 to the city although officials were unaware that Legion's company had also received a $1,500 rental fee from the Biden presidential campaign for a Nov. 2 event at the Booker Dozier Recreation Center featuring actress Kerry Washington.

The Biden campaign reported paying $1,500 to Signature Milestones LLC for rental of the facility on campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. It appears that money was not deposited in city accounts or repaid although the investigation is continuing, Wimblerly said. “It's a company that he's affiliated with. Why would the Biden campaign write a check to the parks and rec director?”

Wimberly said the matter can best be handled by the city police department and that an outside investigation into the situation is not necessary.