Jeff Wright (politician)

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Commissioner
Jeff Wright
County Drain Commissioner
Incumbent
Assumed office
2001
Deputy Warren Vyvyan, Chief
Preceded by Ken Hardin
Constituency Genesee County
1st Chief Executive Officer
Incumbent
Assumed office
October 26, 2010
Preceded by none
Constituency Karegnondi Water Authority
deputy drain commissioner
In office
1985–1997
Constituency Genesee County
Personal details
Political party Democrat[1]
Alma mater Atherton High School
Genesee Area Skill Center
Ferris State University[1]

Jeff Wright is a Genesee County, Michigan official currently serving as County Drain Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Karegnondi Water Authority.

Life[edit]

Early life[edit]

Raised in Burton, Michigan, Wright graduated from Atherton High School while taking some courses through the Genesee Area Skill Center. He then attended Ferris State University. In 1974, he took a job with the Genesee County Drain Commission.[1]

Political life[edit]

He became Deputy County Drain Commissioner in 1985. When the current Drain Commissioner Anthony Ragnone died in 1997, Wright applied to be appointed Drain Commissioner along with twelve other individuals. Ken Hardin was awarded the position. In 1998, Wright ran for the remaining term of Drain Commissioner. The incumbent, Ken Hardin was elected to the position. At that time, Wright started a water consulting business, Tara/Aqua Management.[1]

In 2000, Wright again ran for Drain Commissioner defeating Hardin in the Democratic Primary and winning the general election against Republican Robert Stewart. His platform was named the "Smart Growth Plan" which would reduce sewer spills, push for urban redevelopment, and retain farms and natural areas. An election supporting group, Friends of Jeff Wright, was investigated over using Flint City Council members’ names and NAACP’s name unauthorized in literature and investigated over possible improper campaign finance contributions.[1]

In 2004, Wright ran for reelection against Green Party Candidate Amber Carey and Republican challenger Robert Stewart whom Wright beat in the 2001 election by a 2 to 1 margin.[2]

In 2005 Wright was accused by Burton developer Blake Rizzo of money laundering. Rizzo made the allegations during an investigation by then Genesee County Prosecuting Attorney Art Busch into allegations that Rizzo committed insurance fraud and bribed officials relative to his property developments in the Burton area. The allegations became public when a 2003 transcript of Busch’s interview with Rizzo was leaked to the media.[3] No charges were ever filed against Wright and there is no indication Rizzo's allegations regarding Wright were ever even investigated.[1] Wright denied Rizzo’s allegations, noting that Rizzo admitted during the bribery and insurance fraud case that he committed perjury, which casts doubt on Rizzo’s credibility.[4] Busch stated that he did have enough evidence to charge Wright under state law.[5]

In 2006, Wright started the push to create the Karegnondi Water Authority started in 2010.[6][7] He was selected as the Authority's first Chief Executive Officer.[1]

In May 2010, Wright confirmed that he was an FBI informant in a corruption case against Sam Riddle, a Detroit political consultant.[1] Although Wright’s identity was not revealed until the corruption case against Riddle went to court in 2010, Wright participated in the investigation in 2007. As to the reason for his participation in the FBI’s investigation of Riddle, Wright stated, “I do not and will not tolerate any form of public corruption.”[8]

Other civic activities[edit]

  • Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners
    • Statute Review Committee
    • secretary/treasurer
  • Democratic Party
    • precinct delegate
    • 3rd District Democratic Club
  • Metropolitan Planning Commission
  • board member, Sam Duncan Scholarship Fund
  • Burton Zoning Board of Appeals[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mostafavi, Beata (May 13, 2010). "More about Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright". Flint Journal. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Fonger, Ron (October 5, 2012). "Wright running strong for drain commissioner election 2004". The Flint Journal: A06. Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ Raymer, Marjory (May 13, 2010). "'Leak' probe demanded: Attorneys claim early release of bribe-case document violated law". MLive. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Raymer, Marjory (June 23, 2005). "Probation for Rizzo: What's Next?". MLive. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Fonger, Ron (May 13, 2010). "Former Genesee County prosecutor Art Busch: Several scenarios possible in connecting Wright and FBI". MLive. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Fonger, Ron (October 23, 2010). "Years in the making, Karegnondi Water Authority is ready to set new course for water". Flint Journal. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Lawlor, Joe (May 28, 2009). "Pipeline for Genesee County appears to have little initial opposition". The Flint Journal. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Longley, Kristin (May 13, 2010). "Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright said he agreed to be confidential FBI source in Detroit corruption probe". MLive. Retrieved 5 July 2012.