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Lawsuit: Detroit Councilman Extorted Food, Alcohol From Bar

Reginald Hardwick

A bar owner has filed a lawsuit that claims a Detroit city councilman extorted more than $5,000 in alcohol and food from the now-closed business.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Centre Park Bar co-owner Kenneth Bridgewater says in the suit that during a 2016 discussion about leasing and police harassment issues Councilman Gabe Leland demanded free alcohol and food for himself and a friend.

The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Detroit says Leland also wanted free entry to parties at the bar.

Leland told reporters Tuesday that he "probably" had food and a drink at the bar while discussing city business, but said the lawsuit was a "witch hunt" and that the claims were "allegations."

The downtown bar closed in April.

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