Detroit taxpayers paid out more than $13 million to a federal monitor over the past six years to clean up the troubled police department, but newly released documents fail to detail what residents got for their money, reports the Detroit Free Press. The city released 1,100 pages of fees and expenses for former monitor Sheryl Robinson Wood and her staff to oversee mandated reforms since 2003. The paperwork was thin on specifics. There were no receipts to bolster the reimbursements for air travel, lodging, meals, ground transportation, or parking.
The Free Press requested the documents after U.S. District Judge Julian Cook, forced Wood to resign last month after he concluded that she had an inappropriate relationship with ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Christopher Stone, who chairs the criminal justice policy and management program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, said civil rights consent decrees are still a fairly new phenomenon, making it difficult to gauge how closely expenses should be vetted. “There’s only about a decade of experience with these,” he said. “My own view is that the money spent on monitors has been more than it needed to be in these decrees in a number of cities, and Detroit is no exception.”