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Metro Airport CEO returns controversial "severance" pay

The CEO of Metro Airport has returned some of the money she was paid to move from one Wayne County job to another.

Turkia Mullin got $200,000 to leave her post as Wayne County economic development director and take over the airport earlier this year.

She returned $135,900 this week, saying the rest went to taxes. Her secretary, who also received a severance payment, has also returned the money.

Both Mullin and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano initially defended the so-called “severance” payment. But Ficano later called it a mistake, and Mullin agreed to return the money.

Wayne County Commissioners are still looking into who arranged for the payout, and when.

County Treasurer Ray Wojtowicz, Chief Financial Officer Carla Sledge, and Assistant County Executive Alan Helmkamp all told the Commission Thursday they didn’t know who had authorized the payment, or how.

Ficano has suspended two top county appointees and fired a contractor over the issue.

In the meantime, the FBI is investigating the severance along with other aspects of Wayne County business, including questionable land deals and relationships between officials and county contractors.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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