Wayne County Chief Financial Officer Mark Abbo proposed a new budget that includes cutting $1 million of funding for what he referred to as “low priority” initiatives like testing evidence from the Detroit rape kit backlog. High priority initiatives include allocating $81 million dollars to the county’s waste management facilities so it can be turned out for future profit, and fixing other failed projects like the new Wayne County jail, which is currently sitting half-built in the middle of downtown Detroit, looking much like one of the city’s famed abandoned buildings.
Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano put construction of the new jail on hold after blowing through $170 million and needing a $91 million budget increase beyond the original $300 million estimated cost. The County is currently talking to Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert, who wants to add the jail to his fast-growing collection of Detroit city property.
The rape kit backlog, discovered in 2009 and dating back to 1991, requires an estimated budget of $5 million to rectify. Prosecutor Kym Worthy is currently suing Wayne County and Ficano’s office for that amount. In the interim, Wayne County has restricted her ability to further test the rape kit backlog unless money comes from external grants. On March 9th, the Prosecutor’s office will hold a fundraiser to support continued testing of the rape kit backlog. Mariska Hargitay of The Joyful Heart Foundation and the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will be speaking at the event to promote Worthy’s efforts to eliminate Detroit’s rape kit backlog.
Since this is a blog and not a newspaper, let me reiterate a few numbers:
Abbo & Ficano take $1 million away from sexual assault victims to put toward an $81 million project–their second of two get-rich-quick schemes involving turning out Detroit contract services. $1 million doesn’t mean shit to these guys–it’s just over 1% of their new proposed budget. This is how little Abbo & Ficano care about the 11,000 rape victims who have spent decades waiting for justice.