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Tag: Detroit

Prosecution: Ex-Detroit Mayor Ran a Criminal Enterprise That Was Like a “Private Profit Machine”

Kwame Kilpatrick/deadline detroit

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Federal prosecutor Mike Bullotta loaded up with plenty of ammunition and never stopped firing away Monday afternoon during a forceful closing argument in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial.

Standing in front of a lectern, before jurors, he said Kilpatrick turned the mayor’s office into “a private profit machine” in what the government dubbed “Kilpatrick Incorporated.”

He said the mantra of corrupt organization, made of up Kilpatrick, his dad Bernard Kilpatrick and friend Bobby Ferguson — was “no deal without me.”

“If you wanted a city contract, you had to pay,” Bullotta said. “If you didn’t pay, you didn’t get a contract.” He added that the citizens of Detroit lost out.

To read more click here. 

 

 

When You’re a Detroit City Councilman, Is It Ever a Good Thing to Get a Visit From the FBI?

Councilman Gary Brown

 
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — When you serve on the Detroit City Council and one of your employees at city hall tells you the FBI is here to see you . . .well, your mind starts racing. You figure the agents aren’t there to talk about the Tigers’ prospects.

President Pro-tem Gary Brown recounted the FBI dropping by his office a while back during a ceremony Friday in U.S. District Court in downtown Detroit in which he spoke on behalf of his friend Terry Berg, the former acting U.S. Attorney who was sworn in as a federal judge.

Brown told the packed room of dignitaries, which included Sen. Debbie Stabenow, that he thought, just maybe, that because he was in Monica Conyer’s former office, and she was in federal prison, the agents were there to collect listening devices they might have planted.

Instead, he said, the FBI visitors came to ask background questions about Berg, who had been nominated for a federal judgeship by President Obama. That was a relief.

Terrance Berg/doj photo

He said he went to say very very flattering things about Berg, his Northwest Detroit neighbor, who belongs to the same jogging group.

Since it sounded as though they were such great friends, the agents — who seemed to be testing him — asked if he could give them Berg’s address. He couldn’t. He told them he was bad with numbers.

In fact, he said he couldn’t recall Berg’s street name, but was able to say where to turn off 7 Mile Road to get there.

After recounting that story about how he almost blew it, he turned to Berg and told him he was surprised he got confirmed.

 

Prosecution in Ex-Detroit Mayor Case Rests: Defense Starts Its Offense With a Whimper

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — After 4 1/2 months and about 80 witnesses, the prosecution in the federal trial of the ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick rested Thursday morning, opening the door for the defense to begin calling witnesses in what’s expected to take less than two weeks.

But things didn’t go so great for the defense on its first day on the offense.

Jim Thomas, Kilpatrick’s attorney, called to the stand forensic accountant Gary Leeman, an expert in non-profits, who appeared to be more of a help to the prosecution than the defense.

During cross examination, Leeman laughed when prosecutor Mike Bullotta asked if yoga lessons for Kilpatrick would have been a legit expense from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, a non-profit fund created to help the community.

“I would highly doubt that that would be proper,” he said laughing a bit. “Not even close.”

It was obviously something Thomas would have preferred not to hear from his own witness.

To read more click here.

 

 

FBI: Four Detroit-Area Police Charged in Public Corruption Scandal

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– Four Detroit-area police officers are facing federal charges of public corruption following an FBI probe.

Details of the charges, which were unclear this morning, will be available today when the federal complaints are unsealed.

The FBI declined to comment on the Highland Park Police Department case, other than to say the case involves corruption. Highland Park is incorporated city within the city limits of Detroit.

It’s just the latest federal probe that has swept up metro Detroit public officials in recent years. Others include Detroit, Ecorse, Pontiac, Ecorse, Royal Oak Township, Wayne County and the Detroit Public School.

Check back for updates.

Ohio Woman Sues FBI, Claiming She Was Mishandled Because of Her Ethnicity

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

DETROIT — A 36-year-old Ohio woman is suing the FBI and other federal agencies, saying she was removed from a flight in Detroit on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, manhandled, strip-searched and thrown into a dirty cell for more than four hours, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Shoshana Hebshi, who the Free Press describe as half-Jewish and half-Arab, says she and two Indian-American men were yanked from a Frontier Airlines flight after it landed in Detroit.

Federal agents handcuffed the trio, escorted them off the plan and pushed them into vehicles.

The ACLU filed the suit Tuesday in Detroit.

“I was frightened and humiliated,” said Hebshi, a freelance journalist and mother of 7-year-old twins. “As an American citizen and a mom, I’m really concerned about my children growing up in a country where your skin color and your name can put your freedom and liberty at risk at any time.”

Who Is Mobster Tony Zerilli And What Does He Really Know About Hoffa?

A reporter helps mobster Tony Zerilli out of the car.

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT –– He was son of Joseph Zerilli, Detroit’s top mobster.

Anthony Joseph Zerilli, who went by the nickname “Tony Z,” followed his dad’s career path, rising to top spot in the local Mafia before heading to prison in 1974 for his hidden interest in two Las Vegas casinos. When he resurfaced on the outside five years later, he had been dethroned and demoted to a “capo” (captain) role.

Now frail, moving about with a walker, and residing in a senior community on Van Dyke in Sterling Heights, the 85-year-old is suddenly in the spotlight, having told a New York TV reporter that he knows what happened to Teamster President James Riddle Hoffa and where he’s buried.

“I’m dead broke,” he also told NBC 4 New York reporter Marc Santia, formerly of WDIV in Detroit, in an interview aired Sunday. “My quality of life is zero.” He’s also in failing health.

Zerilli told Santia that Hoffa is buried in northern Oakland County, but he had nothing to do with the 1975 disappearance. A source tells Deadline Detroit that the property in Oakland Township belonged to a top-ranking mobster.

Zerilli said people intended to move the body to a northern Michigan hunting lodge, but never did. He gives no names.

The NBC 4 correspondent says Zerilli came forward in hopes of profiting from publicity and showing he had nothing to do with Hoffa abrupt disappearance outside a Bloomfield Township restaurant on July 30, 1975.

One thing is clear, Zerilli is talking to more than just the media.

To read more click here.

The Headache Named Bobby Ferguson: A Pain to Everyone Except Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Bobby Ferguson pictured above. Art by Lauren Davies for Deadline Detroit.

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — He was Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s good buddy, his confidante, his favorite city contractor.

But Bobby Ferguson managed to turn off many in Kilpatrick’s inner circle.

Contractors and city officials — including Victor Mercado, the head of the water department — complained about Ferguson.

Even Kilpatrick’s sister, Ayanna, found Ferguson a big headache who wouldn’t go away.

“Here we go with the Bobby bull again,” Ayanna texted mayoral insider Derrick Miller, complaining that her brother kept feeding Ferguson city business — at the expense of her the clients she represented.

As the Kwame Kilpatrick trial moved into the New Year, prosecutors this week homed in on Ferguson, a co-defendant, who the feds have portrayed as a bully who illegally conspired with Kilpatrick to rig city construction contracts and extort contractors for a piece of their action.

In turn, the feds allege that Ferguson gave Kilpatrick kickbacks from the demolition and excavation work. Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard, a business consultant, is the other co-defendant in the trial that began in September and is likely to go at least into February.

To read more click here.

In an Asian Restaurant Bathroom, Aide Delivered $10,000 Payoff to Detroit Mayor

Ex-Mayor Kilpatrick with ex-friend Derrick Miller (inset)

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — On Thursday, Derrick Miller finally talked about the much anticipated payoff in the bathroom — something out of an episdoe of “The Sopranos.”

Miller, a former close friend who was in Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s administration, testified at Kilpatrick’s federal trial that the then-mayor asked him to get cash for him from the partners of Asian Village, the now-defunct restaurant venture on the Detroit River.

“Can you get it from your Asian Village guys?” Miller says Kilpatrick asked.

Miller said he got $10,000 and met Kilpatrick in a bathroom at Asian Village. He did not specify a date, but it was believed to be around 2007.

“I gave him the money,” Miller said.

When Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked.

“What did he say?” Chutkow asked.

To read more click here.

httpv://youtu.be/EJJ64fgubTM