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Tag: mayor

FBI Brings Heat on Small Indiana Town over Questionable Bid Awards

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

City officials in a small Indiana town were served grand jury subpoenas as part of an investigation involving loans and grants since 2007, FOX 19 reports.

The mayor, city council president and treasurer were served in what a city councilman described as illegal bid-awarding deals.

FOX 19 wrote that state police and IRS investigators were on hand.

The news agency was unable to reach the city officials for comment.

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Was Swimming in Cash, Prosecutor Says

Kwame Kilpatrick top (right) leaves court at close of first day of trial. /Deadline Detroit photo

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — The prosecution lit into Kwame Kilpatrick in opening arguments today, and the defense countered with sharp criticism of the charges. By 1:55p.m., the first day of battle was over, opening the way for the government to call its first witnesses on Monday in the biggest case in Detroit history in memory.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow began the morning by carving up Kilpatrick, claiming as mayor he rigged tens of millions of dollars in contracts for his friend Bobby Ferguson and his father Bernard while lining his own pockets with bribes and kickbacks. He said if Ferguson didn’t get a piece of a contract, Victor Mercado, the head of the water and sewerage department at the time, would hold up or cancel the contract.

Kilpatrick faces 32 counts of public corruption along with co-defendants Ferguson, a close friend and contractor; father Bernard who had a consulting firm; and Mercado.

The prosecution tried painting Kilpatrick as man with plenty of questionable cash. Chutkow said he had at least $540,000 in cash above his paycheck during his mayoral reign, and suggested there was more beyond what the government could document. He noted that Kilpatrick would regularly go to the bank and ended up turning over some $280,000 in cash to pay for credit card debt.

To read full story click here.

The U.S. vs Detroit’s Ex-Mayor Kwame Malik Kilpatrick

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — More than two years after he was indicted by the feds, and four years after he resigned in disgrace as mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick steps into the legal ring in federal court Friday,  ready to do battle as he tries to stay free and remain with his wife and kids.

A loss could easily put him behind bars for 10 or 15 years or more. A win would give him freedom and a crown of invincibility.

Flanked by his attorneys, Kilpatrick, 42, will go up against the full-force of the Justice Department and FBI in what is easily the highest profile trial in Detroit in recent memory. The trial is expected to last about four months.

The prosecution, in opening statements today will vilify him, portraying him as the kingpin of the “Kilpatrick Enterprise”, a criminal organization that used city hall to make lots of money for family and friends by rigging contracts and extorting donations to three non-profits.

Kilpatrick’s attorney is likely to portray him as a mayor who cared dearly about his job and the people and was wrongly accused.

The feds will come armed with a full arsenal; wiretaps, surveillance video, his text messages and prosecution witnesses including friends and former appointees.

To read the full story click here.

Column: Just Following Orders — No Laughing Matter For Ex-Detroit Mayor’s Co-Defendant

Victor Mercado

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Back in 9th grade I remember a teacher yelling me and a classmate as we laughed uncontrollably. We were watching a movie about a 1960s psychological experiment at Yale on peoples’ willingness to obey authority.

It was called the Milgram Experiment. A male volunteer was assigned to be a teacher. A middle-aged decoy, who sat in another room, was the “learner” or student. The teacher asked questions through an intercom, and each time the learner gave a wrong answer, the teacher delivered an electric shock. The voltage increased with each incorrect answer. The learner really wasn’t getting a shock, but the volunteer didn’t know that.

Before long, the learner shouted “ouch” after each shock (it was actually a recording) and complained about a heart condition. Some of the volunteers refused to continue, even after a facilitator ordered them to. But others, albeit hesitant, kept delivering shock after shock as directed. They felt pressure from the facilitator. They were just following orders.

I’m reminded of that film as the corruption trial starts Friday for ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.  Four people are standing trial, including Victor Mercado, the former water department boss, who claims that he felt pressure from the Mayor, and was just following orders. Besides Kilpatrick and Mercado, co-defendants include contractor Bobby Ferguson and Kilpatrick’s dad Bernard Kilpatrick.

The feds charged that Mercado, 61, helped delay or cancel city contracts, at the behest of the mayor, so contractors would be forced to give Kilpatrick’s friend Bobby Ferguson a piece of the action or kickbacks. Ferguson then allegedly spread the love to the mayor and his father.

To read full column click here.

Ex-Hip Hop Mayor’s Presence Felt in Buddy’s Detroit Trial

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Ex-Hip hop Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was nowhere to be seen. He wasn’t on trial. He wasn’t in the gallery.

But his presence Tuesday was undeniable. His good buddy, contractor Bobby Ferguson, went on trial in downtown Detroit in a $12-million bid-rigging case involving a low-income housing project and allegations about money laundering and hidden safes flush with cash.

If it weren’t for Kwame, why else would the U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade have bothered to sit in on the opening statements? Why else would it generate intense press interest? Allegations against an ordinary businessman; who would pay that much attention?

Ferguson is no Bernie Madoff. He’s no Jeff Skilling, the CEO of Enron.

But he is FOK (Friend of Kwame), and in this town that’s big. Plus, it reminds us of the very shady, ugly dealings of the Kilpatrick administration and the lengthy FBI probe into city hall corruption.

To read more click here.

FBI: Texas Topless Club Owner Put Hit on Arlington Mayor and Atty

SF Police Chief Wants Mayor to Reject Legislation that Would Restrict Cops Working With FBI Counterterrorism

 

Police Chief Greg Suhr/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The San Francisco police chief is urging Mayor Ed Lee to veto local legislation that would put restrictions on cops who work with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force , the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

That word comes in wake of local legislation passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that would require a written agreement between the FBI and the police department that would prevent S.F. cops from engaging in surveillance of people who were not suspected of crimes.

The paper reported that the mayor has said he will look to the police chief for guidance on whether to sign or veto the legislation. The paper said the mayor is likely to veto the bill unless major changes are made.

Police Chief Greg Suhr has said he will recommend a thumbs down for the legislation, the paper reported.

Currently, three cops work with the FBI task force.

To read more click here.

Feds Allege that Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Took $10,000 Bribe in Restaurant

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — At this point it would be hard to tarnish the reputation of ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

But the feds heaped on some more serious allegations to his already pending public corruption charges.

The Detroit News reports that new court filings in fed court in Detroit allege that Kilpatrick took a $10,000 kickback in a restaurant bathroom and tried forcing a business to take in his father as a minority partner.

The allegations were included in an updated racketeering conspiracy indictment against Kilpatrick and three others.

The News reports that the allegation appears to rely on some information from the mayor’s ex-aide and good buddy Derrick Miller, who pleaded guilty in September and has been cooperating.

One allegation is that Miller hand-delivered Kilpatrick a $10,000 kickback inside a Detroit restaurant bathroom in fall 2007.

The News reported that the cash came from a developer who was seeking a loan from city pension funds for Asian Village, the defunct restaurant development.

The News reported that another new allegation was that “Kilpatrick allegedly tried to strong-arm a company in 2002 that wanted to open a House of Blues restaurant at Ford Field.

“During negotiations, according to the indictment, a city development official pressured a company official to hire the mayor’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, as minority partner. The firm, identified as ‘Company F’ in the indictment, said no. So Kilpatrick withdrew the city’s support, according to the indictment.”

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