Local Reporter Recaps Ypsilanti International Development Controversy

Oct 11, 2017

The Ypsilanti Water Street Redevelopment Area.
Credit The City of Ypsilanti

Metro Times reporter Tom Perkins has been closely following the proposed international development for Ypsilanti's Water Street property.  He talks about a recent Ypsilanti City Council hearing on the controversy surrounding who paid for a trip by four city officials who recently went to China.

89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry talked with Perkins about where things stand and what comes next.


Reporter Tom Perkins says questions were first raised about who was paying for the recent trip to China by Ypsilanti Mayor Amanda Edmonds, Mayor Pro-Tem Nicole Brown, Economic Development Director Beth Ernat, and Police Chief Tony DeGiusti.  They were invited to visit as a way of doing research on the proposed development backed by a Chinese-American developer out of Troy--the proposed International Village, which would be largely Chinese-funded and would largely house Chinese students in Ypsilanti.

Metro Times reporter Tom Perkins
Credit Tom Perkins

The Ypsilanti city attorney had said publicly it would be illegal and unethical for the developer to pay for the trip.  Then in early September, Beth Ernat sent an email to council members saying the Chinese Students and Scholars Association at Wayne State University were going to pay for the trip, which raised some questions and concerns about who would actually be paying.

There was a special city council hearing Tuesday night to gather information about who knew what when, as far as who was paying for the trip.

Perkins says the next step is to hire an independent attorney to look into the matter and find out exactly where the funding came from to pay for the trip.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu