Bray's Hamburgers owner accused of running loan shark operation - New York News

Bray's Hamburgers owner accused of running loan shark operation

Posted: Updated:
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -

You could call Tom Duhanaj a friend of the politicians.  Records show he's donated to the campaigns of Gary Peters and Carl Levin.  He's also posed with other political big wigs like Sander Levin and former President Bill Clinton.

The same man is now under arrest, charged with lying to federal investigators and accused of running a loan shark operation for fellow Albanians, including a candidate for the 13th Congressional District, John Goci of Westland.

"I'm kind of shocked about [the] charges," said Goci.  "Not the guy I know.  I've seen him around town.  He's been really good.  He helped me out in my time of need.  I'm a small business owner, and sometimes you have ideas and it takes money to make things happen."

Goci, who has been questioned by federal investigators, says he received a $30,000 loan and has a picture of the check to prove it, but he claims the money came from Oakland County businessman Randy Dzierzawski.  Duhanaj acted as the middle man.

How did Goci know to go to him as a middle man?

"I heard that in the community, that he knew a guy that was loaning out money, that had access to money, so that's what I did."

Sources say Duhanaj charged high interest on his loans up to 45 percent and threatened violence if he didn't get paid.

Goci said he was only charged 15 percent and never felt he was in danger when he accepted a loan to help his Wayne restaurant that was going through tough financial times.

"15 percent.  It was a little higher than the bank, but you know what, it's a little simpler to get."

On Thursday, federal agents raided Duhanaj's restaurants, Bray's Hamburgers in Westland and Capital Coney Island in Ferndale and his home in Troy,
sources say in search of financial records.

According to federal court documents, 42-year-old Duhanaj entered this country illegally in 2002 to escape the violence in the former Yugoslavia.  He was arrested a short time later and fought for political asylum, but lost.  He's been under investigation for months and because of his alleged crimes, he will be deported.

Goci claims he never knew of Duhanaj's past and hopes it won't impact his political future.

"I hope not.  I hope people will see through this.  I've done nothing wrong.  I'm just a small businessman trying to keep my door open."

It turns out Duhanaj even donated to Goci's campaign, but he told us he plans to return the $1,000.

Although he isn't considered a frontrunner, Goci said he has run a strong campaign and if elected plans to get people back to work and create equality in education.

We were unable to reach Dzierzawski for comment Monday evening.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Tornado kills N.J. couple in Va. campground

    Tornado kills N.J. couple in Va. campground

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:06:16 GMT
    Virginia State Police photoVirginia State Police photo
    A New Jersey couple was killed after a tornado caused a tree to fall on their tent at a popular campground, according to Virginia State Police. Lord Balatbat and Lolabeth Ortega, of Jersey City, were killed Thursday morning as a fierce storm ripped through the campground, police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.
    A New Jersey couple was killed after a tornado caused a tree to fall on their tent at a popular campground, according to Virginia State Police. Lord Balatbat and Lolabeth Ortega, of Jersey City, were killed Thursday morning as a fierce storm ripped through the campground, police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.
  • Family of 5-year-old with cancer upset with cruise line

    Family of 5-year-old with cancer upset with cruise line

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:25 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:25:23 GMT
    A Long Island family is upset that a cruise line won't accommodate them after their five-year-old son had to have emergency surgery for cancer.  Nicolas Colucci and the rest of his family was supposed to go on a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway on June 1, 2014.  On May 19 he ended up having to have surgery on his liver, gallbladder, diaphragm and lymph nodes after doctors found out he had a large cancerous tumor growing inside of his liver.
    A Long Island family is upset that a cruise line won't accommodate them after their five-year-old son had to have emergency surgery for cancer.  Nicolas Colucci and the rest of his family was supposed to go on a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway on June 1, 2014.  On May 19 he ended up having to have surgery on his liver, gallbladder, diaphragm and lymph nodes after doctors found out he had a large cancerous tumor growing inside of his liver.
  • Mom: 4-year-old banned from doughnut shop

    Mom: 4-year-old banned from doughnut shop

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:05 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:05:13 GMT
    4-year-old Justin Otero is a curious guy, but his curiosity got him into some trouble at his local Connecticut doughnut shop.
    4-year-old Justin Otero is a curious guy, but his curiosity got him into some trouble at his local Connecticut doughnut shop.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Man sentenced to life in prison for toddler's death

    Man sentenced to life in prison for toddler's death

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:08 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:08:27 GMT
    A Macomb County man will spend the rest of his life in jail for the beating death of a 2-year-old boy.
    A Macomb County man will spend the rest of his life in jail for the beating death of a 2-year-old boy.
  • The two sides of the Detroit water bill crisis

    The two sides of the Detroit water bill crisis

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:59 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:59:57 GMT
    As the city of Detroit advances through its historic bankruptcy, focus has shifted to the water department's controversial efforts to collect unpaid water bills.
    As the city of Detroit advances through its historic bankruptcy, focus has shifted to the water department's controversial efforts to collect unpaid water bills.
  • The importance of your child's back-to-school checkup

    The importance of your child's back-to-school checkup

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:25 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:25:35 GMT
    We may be in the heart of summer but now is the time parents should start thinking about getting their children into the doctor for the back-to-school physicals.
    We may be in the heart of summer but now is the time parents should start thinking about getting their children into the doctor for the back-to-school physicals.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices