Detroit MI Oct 12 2017 Indicted Detroit Deputy Police Chief Celia Washington is reeling over allegations that she took bribes from a millionaire towing magnate in exchange for helping him secure lucrative work in the city.
“It’s absolutely untrue. I am livid,” Washington said told the Free Press today, shortly after getting indicted on conspiracy and bribery charges in federal court. ” I did not accept a bribe.”
Washington, who resigned from her job at the Detroit Police Department in June after top brass learned she was under investigation for her alleged ties to towing mogul Gasper Fiore, was charged with pocketing at least $3,000 in cash bribes from a tower
he indictment does not name the towing operator who paid the bribes, but Washington said she “presumes” it is Fiore that the indictment is referring to.
According to the indictment, Washington would meet a tow operator in Detroit and “accept thousands of dollars in cash” from him. In exchange, Washington offered to help him secure multiple towing permits and rotation placements in the city of Detroit, which violated city rules that prohibits one tower from having multiple towing permits.
Washington adamantly denies the allegations, stressing she didn’t have the authority to do what the government alleges she did.
“I did not change anything on the rotation … I didn’t have the power to do so,” Washington said.
According to sources familiar with the investigation, Washington — as DPD’s legal adviser — oversaw Fiores’ and others’ towing rotations with the Detroit police. Last year, she recommended that DPD keep its towing rotation the same, which essentially saved Fiore a lot of business, the sources said.
Washington denies playing favorites with anyone, and said she treated all towers the same.
“I absolutely did not bend the rules,” she said. “I talked to all the towers … and to try and make it look like I took a bribe? … There is written proof that I told everyone who wanted anything ‘no.’ I told everyone ‘no.’ ”
Washington did not elaborate on what exactly towers requested of her.
Meanwhile, she feels as if her character is under attack.
“I have had a stellar career for 20 years. I worked my but off helping people,” she said, stressing there would be a vigorous defense to the allegations.
Fiore also has been charged in the case and his family towing business, Boulevard and Trumbull Towing, lost its towing permit in June amid the scandal.