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Former Detroit public library official jailed 10 years for graft

Timothy Cromer was sentenced in federal court Tuesday for taking more than $1.4 million in kickbacks and bribes while he served as chief administrator and technology officer of the Detroit Public Library.

Cromer, 47, was charged earlier this year in a 21-county indictment. He pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy and bribery.

Two contractors, James Henley and Ricardo Hearn, were also named in the indictment. They’ve pleaded guilty and are set to be sentenced next month.

Cromer helped Henley create a business called Core Consulting and Professional Services. Cromer then awarded Core a no-bid contract to provide information technology services to the library.

With the extras, change orders, and extensions approved by Cromer, Core collected total payments of about $1.8 million.

From that money, Henley paid Cromer $625,000 before Core’s contract was terminated in early 2008.

The other contractor, Hearn, received $2.8 million between 2008 and 2010 for information technology services provided to the library by his company, Cubemation.

Hearn paid Cromer about $800,000 during that time, according to the indictment.

Cromer earned $145,000 as the public library’s chief administrative and technology officer. He held the post until last year.

When he was hired, Cromer’s held only a GED and had a history of run-ins with police.

At his sentencing Tuesday, he told the judge he wasn’t ready for the high position at the library. His own lawyer called his hiring “mind boggling,” according to a local report.

The people who hired Cromer are no longer with the library, the report said.

FBI agents raided Cromer’s office at the library and his home in late 2012.

The raids followed calls by some members of the library’s board of commission for an audit of the no-bid contracts Cromer had awarded to companies like Core and Cubemation.

The Detroit Public Library is the largest library system in Michigan. It has struggled for years financially and branches have been closed and employees laid off to cut costs.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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