Patrons of the Detroit Public Library (DPL) may have a greater interest in checking out books on fraud following an FBI sweep of the institution on Tuesday morning. Federal agents conducted coordinated raids of the library system, taking records from the main branch office of chief administrative and technology officer Tim Cromer. They also searched Cromer's home in West Bloomfield Twp. for evidence, reported the Detroit News.
Detroit Library Commission president Jonathan Kinloch said he believed the agency was interested in kickback allegations aimed at Cromer, concerning $3 million worth of contracts with two tech firms to update the library system's computers, according to the Detroit Free Press.
"There may be an individual who awarded contracts for personal gain. And if that is the case, it is a total violation of the public trust," he told the newspaper, though he would not name the person.
The embattled city's library system closed four of its 23 branches last year and cut 20 percent of its staff, due to a projected budget shortfall of more than $10 million. It later reopened two of the branches with restricted hours.
And the financially troubled library system is no stranger to controversy. The institution came under harsh criticism last year for lavish spending that included spending $8,900 on eight stainless-steel trash cans and nearly $22,000 on 20 deluxe lounge chairs. The expenditures were part of a $2.3 million renovation of the system's main branch.
The Detroit Library Commission has a meeting scheduled for Wednesday at at 1:30 p.m.