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Archive for September 13th, 2011

Good News for the Feds; Bad News for Detroit’s Ex-“Hip Hop Mayor” Kwame Kilpatrick


Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Good news for the feds. Bad news for Kwame Kilpatrick, the  ex- “hip hop mayor” of Detroit, who is eye-brow deep in legal trouble.

Derrick Miller, 41, a Kilpatrick confidante who worked as the city’s Chief Administrative Officer, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to corruption and tax charges and agreed to cooperate and testify for the feds against Kilpatrick, who faces federal corruption charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit announced.

Federal authorities said that Miller admitted, among many things, that “at the direction of then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Miller and other members of the City administration assisted Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson by steering millions of dollars of City business to Ferguson.”

Ferguson is a contractor and close friend of Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick, as well as his top assistants, including Miller and Victor Mercado (ex-head of the city Water Department), pressured contractors to put Ferguson on City contracts they had received, or risk having the contracts held up or canceled, authorities alleged.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Mercado and other City officials influenced the award of contracts to teams that included Ferguson on them, including re-evaluating bids if Ferguson was not part of the winning team. Miller and other City officials also gave Ferguson inside information about contracts or bid evaluations to give Ferguson’s team an edge over competing bidders.

Kwame was sometimes referred to as the “hip hop mayor” because of his hip, young image as an up and coming mayor.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Kilpatrick told reporters he would “absolutely not” answer questions as he left a book signing. His father and codefendant, Bernard, said of Miller, according to the Free Press: “I know the kind of pressure that the government puts on people in these kinds of situations. They pushed him right in a corner. He felt he had no choice.”

“This guilty plea marks an important step in the investigation and prosecution of those involved in municipal corruption during the Kilpatrick administration of the City of Detroit,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement. “It also serves as a warning to those who hold public office throughout this region that there are serious consequences to abusing the trust of the citizens they are supposed to serve.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena added: “This plea is part of a multi-year, multi-agency investigation in to the corruption plaguing the City of Detroit.”

 

Coke Kingpin Charged in Miami; Considered Among Colombia’s Most Wanted

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The feds in Miami are taking aim at some big guys in the drug world.

Authorities filed charges against  Daniel Barrera-Barrera, an international drug smuggler with alleged ties to terrorist groups in Columbia, reports the Miami Herald.

The report calls Barrera-Barrera, 42, one of Columbia’s most-wanted, and says he “maintains a partnership with the U.S.-designated terrorist group known as the FARC,” a leftist guerrilla group.

Barrera-Barrera, also know as “Loco Barrara,” remains at large. He was charged in Miami along with two brothers, Javier Fernandez-Barrero, 43, and Orlando Fernandez-Barrero, 45, also known as “Los Gorditos.” The brothers are in custody.

The family’s “criminal enterprise is responsible for distributing tons of cocaine into the U.S and other countries,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge John Gillies, according to the Herald.

To read more click here.


Rep Issa Calls Atty. Gen. Holder Inept and Dangerous and Thinks He Should be Fired

Rep. Issa/gov photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The botched ATF gun walking program Operation Fast and Furious continues to stoke anger in Washington.

The latest: Republican Rep. Darrell Issa’s reprimand of Attorney General Eric Holder.

“[Eric Holder is so] inept that he is dangerous to have as the Attorney General,” Issa said on the Laura Ingraham show, reports the Hill. He also said the president should consider removing him from office.

The program is currently under investigation, and it remains in question who in the upper reaches of the Justice Department knew about the operation. But Issa seems convinced already, saying on the show that “the only way the attorney general didn’t know is that he made sure he didn’t want to know,” said Issa. “He doesn’t want to admit that it was felony-stupid.”

And if there’s any question as to the breakdown in trust between the nation’s voters and their elected officials, the 83 comments left on the Hill post are certainly an indication. While there are plenty of comments from all angles, there seems to be overall little sympathy for the Justice Department or the ATF, with vitriol on all sides.

Man Arrested for Threatening to Kill VP Joe Biden; Email Traced to Wifi in Thailand

white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sounds like a case of displaced anger. After all, why Joe Biden?

Justin Alan Woodward was charged with threatening to kill Vice President Joe Biden after allegedly posting a message on the White House website, the Associated Press reported. He faces a detention hearing Wednesday in Hawaii.

AP reports that Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie said agents arrested Justin Alan Woodward on Friday when he arrived in Honolulu on a Delta Airlines flight from Bangkok, Thailand.

AP reported that the criminal complaint filed in federal court alleged that Woodward’s email was traced to a public Wi-Fi access point in Thailand.

The complaint notes that Woodward is from Kansas and was discharged from the Marines in 2004 after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

 

NJ Feds and State Atty. Gen. Publicly Fight Over Taking Credit in Health Fraud Settlement


NJ Atty. Gen. Paula Dow

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s not unusual for law enforcement agencies to clash behind close doors. It just happens sometimes.

But it is unusual when they start to spat in a very public way the way the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office and the state Attorney General’s Office did.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that each claimed credit Monday for a national, $150 million health care fraud settlement.

The paper reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Gilmore Childers first publicly said in a statement to reporters that the state “played a limited administrative role in this case.”

“It is troubling and disappointing that they would take credit for years of tireless work done by federal agents and prosecutors,” Childers said, “particularly concerning an issue so important to the people of New Jersey.”

An hour later, the paper reported,  Attorney General Paula Dow publicly said the feds account was a “mischaracterization.”

She said he was “downplaying the role of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in leading 41 states to participate in this important national healthcare fraud case.”

The feds then fired back, according to the Star-Ledger.

“While pretending to be disinterested in who gets credit, the AG’s office has continued to make claims about its role that are not true,” a spokeswoman, Rebekah Carmichael, said in a statement.

 

Chicago U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald Marks 10 Years on the Job