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Posts Tagged ‘City Hall Business’

FBI: Former Detroit Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Received at Least a Hundred Thousand in Cash Bribes, New Charges Coming Soon

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

In this May 7, 2007 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obaa acknowledges the crowd after being introduced by former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at the Detroit Economic Club in Detroit, where Obama praised Kilpatrick as "a great mayor." President Obama's past praise and support of Kilpatrick may come under renewed scrutiny as the FBI and federal prosecutors prepare new bribery, corruption and perhaps racketeering charges against Kilpatrick (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Late Sunday evening, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News reported that federal authorities have obtained testimony of approximately $100,000.00 direct cash bribes paid to former Detroit Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, with hundreds of thousands more in cash bribes going to Kwame’s father and associates, from city contractors. Federal officials also informed the Detroit News that federal charges are planned for Kilpatrick and his father. For Michigan Democrats, who are already facing a difficult political environment, the prospect of new federal criminal charges against the well-known Democrat Kilpatrick in the lead up to the November 2010 is chilling as such charges would feed the GOP’s corruption narrative regarding Democratic governance. Today’s leaks from the FBI mark the first time that federal officials have confirmed that charges are forthcoming against Kilpatrick. The Detroit News provides a brief synopsis:

Detroit — Federal officials are preparing felony charges against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his father, business consultant Bernard N. Kilpatrick, The Detroit News has learned.

For at least five years, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have been investigating an alleged “pay to play” system at City Hall under Kilpatrick and allegations that contractors wanting City Hall business were directed to hire the former mayor’s father as a consultant.

Now there are new allegations that former Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado, who has been cooperating with the FBI since 2005, not only paid close to $300,000 to the mayor’s father but made about $100,000 in illegal cash payments directly to the former mayor.

Those allegations are contained in sworn statements that are part of the evidence in the wide-ranging corruption probe, a person familiar with the investigation said Sunday. Charges are expected against both Kwame Kilpatrick and his father, though the timing and specific nature of those charges are still being determined, the source said.

It’s the first time a source close to the investigation has said corruption charges against the former mayor are planned, though there have been strong signals Kilpatrick was the ultimate target of a long-running investigation that has netted nine guilty pleas.

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records and testimony related to possible abuses in fundraising and expenditures connected with the former mayor’s nonprofit foundation, the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, and possible felony income tax violations are being examined, people familiar with the investigation said.

Obama’s past political ties with Kilpatrick, including Obama’s 2007 speech at the Detroit Economic Club where Obama praised Kilpatrick, on video, as “a great mayor,” could come under renewed scrutiny as the more salacious charges against Kilpatrick are publicly disclosed in the near future. For Michigan Democratic Congressional incumbents, most of which worked closely with Kilpatrick and campaigned with him, the likely new charges will further darken the electoral outlook for November 2010. The Detroit Free Press summarized the new disclosures by federal authorities regarding Kilpatrick’s “pay to play” scheme:

Authorities describe a variety of alleged bribes and extortion demands during Kilpatrick’s years in office that, when taken together, could amount to racketeering violations under federal law. Allegations cited in government documents and culled from interviews include:

• That Kwame Kilpatrick accepted bribes of up to $100,000 from Kado, a businessman who had exclusive, no-bid janitorial and electrical-services contracts at Cobo Center and a sundry shop at the convention hall.

• That Kilpatrick deposited unspecified sums of cash into bank accounts without declaring the funds as income.

• That Bernard Kilpatrick received large amounts of money from contractors and business owners in return for official acts by the mayor; and that he pressured others to donate to his son’s political or civic fund.

• That Kado paid at least $30,000 in bribes to mayoral aide Derrick Miller, including $10,000 for a trip to Europe.

• That Miller told a local businessman he would be punished for backing a political opponent when Kilpatrick sought re-election. Shortly afterward, the businessman’s commercial vehicles started getting ticketed in Detroit — with the directive to do so allegedly coming from the mayor’s office.

FBI agents have said they believe these activities and others constitute a criminal enterprise — wording that indicates the government is trying to build a case under the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, which has been used to prosecute a pattern of crimes by public officials, Wall Street swindlers and, most notably, Mafia families.

Back in September 2008, many thought that Kilpatrick’s time in the sights of prosecutors was over when he agreed to resign from his position as Mayor of Detroit as part of a plea deal related to the cover up of an extramarital affair with a staffer. Indeed, after his plea deal, Kilpatrick served his time and moved on to a new job as “an account executive for Compuware Covisint, a subsidiary of Detroit-based software company Compuware Corp., concentrating on the health care industry, the Detroit Free Press reported, citing a company memo.” Compuware Corp.’s principal, Peter Karmanos, was a strong financial and political backer of Kilpatrick, including a gaudy “$100,000 to Kilpatrick’s Generations political action committee in October 2005, the single largest donation.”

Since Kilpatrick’s release on February 4, 2009, Kilpatrick has worked in Texas for Karmanos and has been public about his wealthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, Kilpatrick was not made the agreed-upon restitution payments to the City of Detroit as of Friday’s deadline, and a Michigan judge could order Kilpatrick jailed for his violation of these terms of his probation as soon as next week according to the Washington Post. With the possibility of new federal charges looming in the near future, and the probable issuance of an arrest warrant next week for probation violations, Kwame Kilpatrick’s days in the media spotlight look certain to grow, much to the chagrin of Michigan Democrats and President Obama.

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