Another Detroit city worker is accused of misconduct on the job, and it appears that in exchange for cash, a child's health was put at risk.
DETROIT (WJBK) - Another Detroit city worker is accused of misconduct on the job, and it appears that in exchange for cash, a child's health was put at risk.
A city worker who apparently has a bad drug habit now has a serious problem with the law. The feds have charged him with fraud, saying he shook down some taxpayers for $400 in a very callous scheme.
Federal investigators say a city employee used a dangerous situation at a home in southwest Detroit to line his own pockets. The house had lead paint inside and a two-year-old boy was hospitalized with a case of lead poisoning.
That's where Donald Patterson came into the picture. He's an inspector for the city and was assigned to do a lead inspection at the home. Instead, the feds say, Patterson shook down the boy's grandfather and the owner of the rental home for $400. He allegedly told the grandfather he could give him "lead abatement training" so he could remove the dangerous paint himself and save a lot of money.
The feds say Patterson had the grandfather buy a bucket of paint remover and showed him how to spread it on and take it off. While Patterson was at the house, state lead inspectors showed up unexpectedly.
"He turned around, walked back out and called me outside and said I've got some more stuff I want to give you to finish the job, but I can't give it to you here. You've got to meet me somewhere... to get it," said James Harvey, the grandfather.
Even worse, the grandparents say the two-year-old was out of the hospital and in the home while the grandfather was removing the lead-based paint.
"Donald Patterson gave the okay for the baby to come back. So, we let him in, but he shouldn't have been here," said grandmother Sally Trejo.
Donald Patterson wasn't authorized to train anyone in lead paint removal, and city employees, of course, aren't supposed to charge taxpayers for their services.
However, this case isn't just about money. "This is way beyond a couple hundred dollars. There's a lot more involved here. Again, I am happy that... finally we're cracking down on fraud at any level in government," said FOX 2 Legal Analyst Charlie Langton.
Donald Patterson admitted to a serious drug problem. After he plead not guilty, he was released on bond and taken directly to drug rehab by the feds.
The home is now safe. After this alleged scheme was uncovered, the state came in and removed all of the lead-based paint for free.
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