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Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan is engaged to a woman with whom his relationship was publicly questioned after concerns were raised two years ago about whether the city gave preferential treatment to a Wayne State University program she led.
Until now, Duggan had declined to discuss his relationship with Dr. Sonia Hassan. In the past, although the two had been publicly linked, they refused to talk about their personal lives.
Duggan and the city of Detroit's dealings with the university's Make Your Date program, led by Hassan, had been the focus of city and state investigations on claims of potential abuse of authority over whether preferential treatment was given to the effort, which is dedicated to preventing premature births. In April, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she decided not to levy charges against Duggan or several city staffers over allegations that city resources were used to solicit donations for Make Your Date.
Nessel said preferential treatment "is not against the law" and because Duggan is the mayor, he's able to determine what his priorities are, including prioritizing Make Your Date. The two intend to be married in a small family ceremony at a date to be set this fall, mayoral spokesman John Roach said Tuesday.
The announcement comes as Duggan seeks a third, four-year term as Detroit's mayor.
Duggan's former wife, Mary Loretto Maher, filed for divorce in springnearly six months after the couple defended their marriage in response to the mayor being publicly challenged over his ties to Hassan. City businessman Robert Carmack, who was locked in a legal battle with Detroit, took aim at Duggan over the relationship. Carmack aired footage of the mayor's comings and goings at Hassan's residence on a billboard truck outside City Hall and hired private airplanes to fly banners asserting the mayor and Hassan had been carrying on a relationship. Carmack could not be reached Tuesday.
The inspector general called on the city to reform its policies and staff training, and take disciplinary action against three employees, including Wiley, who now le Duggan's reelection campaign. Wiley declined to comment Tuesday. ly, the former reporter said she disagreed with the OIG findings, noting that she's spent her life building a career based on integrity and "would never knowingly do anything that would jeopardize or undermine that.
While the OIG investigation concluded that Duggan provided special treatment to Make Your Date, it did not rise to the level of an abuse of power because he did not violate city rules or laws, it said. Such treatment, however, "was not best practice or good governance. The mayor said the city never directed a cent to a nonprofit.
The partnership, Duggan added, was with the university directly. University representatives have reiterated Duggan's stance, that the program has been handled by Wayne State from the beginning. The nonprofit, the university has said, was never activated and has never received or put out a penny.
Hassan was named Michiganian of the Year by The Detroit News in highlighting her work on the program. Facebook Twitter .
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan gets engaged to doctor linked to controversy.