Bernard Kilpatrick was plied with cash and promises of much more as he helped waste firm Synagro get a $1.1 billion contract, according to a Synagro executive who took jurors Thursday through audio and video tapes.
James Rosendall also testified he flew Kwame Kilpatrick and top aides to Las Vegas in the years before Synagro got the deal to treat and sell the city’s wastewater sludge.
Rosendall recounted how the former mayor told him to deal with Bernard Kilpatrick and how Synagro agreed to spend $7 million to $8 million on over the life of the deal on Bernard and two others.
The testimony was marked by numerous secret audio tapes and concluded with a videotape during which Rosendall, after he agreed to cooperate with the FBI, talked with Bernard Kilpatrick about the deal.
In the video, the elder Kilpatrick complained that Rosendall had wrongly tried to hand him cash at a restaurant months earlier.
“I don’t want anybody to see me take money from anybody,” he said.
Moments later, though, he told Rosendall that he should be getting $5,000 as part of the Synagro deal.
The trial resumes Friday with another piece of video. Rosendall was convicted of bribery conspiracy for his role in the scandal.
Meanwhile, there are several indications that the government is nearing the end of its five-month case against Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Ferguson.
The government could rest as early as next week, sources told The News.
Live Updates EndedPlease read below for an archived view of this event.
Bernard Kilipatrick said during secretly recorded conversations that then-City Council members Monica Conyers and Barbara-Rose Collins could be bought.
The conversation with James Rosendall of Synagro was played during Kilpatrick’s corruption trial Thursday.
“Barbara-Rose could be bought, no question about it,” he said.
As for Conyers, Kilpatrick said, “Monica tries to play both sides of the game, she tries to get money.”
Conyers spent more than two years in a federal prison camp after pleading guilty to accepting at least $6,000 for her deciding vote on the 2007 Synagro Technologies Inc. sludge contract.
Synagro hoped to generate $47 million a year in revenue from the contract, or $1.1 billion over 25 years.
Reached at home Thursday, Collins said her vote had never been for sale.
“No one offered me anything, no one gave me anything, and I never asked for anything,” she said.
She attributed Bernard Kilpatrick’s comments to bad blood between her and his family. She ran against Kilpatrick’s ex-wife, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, for Congress.
Former Wayne County deputy Mike Duggan, now exploring a bid for Detroit mayor, was part of questionable deals when Bernard Kilpatrick worked for the county, Kilpatrick said in a secretly recorded conversation played today in federal court.
In surprising testimony in the Kilpatrick public corruption trial, prosecutors played a recording in which Bernard Kilpatrick accused his former bosses of “borderline illegal” deals.
On the audio, he named former Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara and Duggan specificall,y and said: “We carved out this, and I know this is … is borderline illegal and … the county was a different animal, everybody will tell you that.”
Kilpatrick was a one-time top aide to McNamara before he became a private consultant once his son became Detroit mayor in 2002.
Duggan denied any wrongdoing.
“I have no idea what he’s talking about,” he said about Kilpatrick. “But I have no idea why he did a lot of the things he did.”
Asked why federal prosecutors allowed the taped remark to be played publicly, Duggan said he was asking himself the same question. Duggan had been critical of an earlier federal probe of his old boss, Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara.
“You do have to wonder about that,” said Duggan. “It did seem like it was unrelated (to the corruption trial).”
Duggan said the publicity wouldn’t affect his decision to run for mayor.
“I left the McNamara administration 13 years ago,” he said. “I was never accused of doing anything wrong.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office sought to downplay the recordings.
“Over the course of this four-month trial, the names of dozens of public officials and business leaders have been mentioned,” Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said in an emailed statement. “References to their names in no way mean that they have done anything wrong.”
The audio came during a breakfast meeting between Bernard Kilpatrick, Synagro exec James Rosendall and Akunna Olumba. They were talking about how Olumba and Bernard Kilpatrick were going to get paid for helping Synagro get a $1.1 billion, 25-year deal with the city to handle sludge. Olumba is Bernard Kilpatrick’s former girlfriend.
Bernard Kilpatrick was in line for a huge payday if the Synagro sludge contract went through, former Synagro exec James Rosendall testified today.
Rosenall said Bernard Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick’s former girlfriend and Rayford Jackson stood to split between $7 million and $8 million if the deal came to fruition.
In an audio recording from 2007 at a Royal Oak restaurant secretly recorded by the FBI, Rosendall went over details of the kickback with Kilpatrick and Akunna Olumba.
The idea was to split the deal 45 percent to Rayford Jackson, 45 percent to Kilpatrick and 10 percent to Olumba.
But Rosendall said he would only give 55 percent to Olumba, who would have to split her cut with Kilpatrick.
Synagro wouldn’t agree to a deal if Kilpatrick’s name was on it, “because his name could not appear on any agreements that Synagro had,” Rosendall said.
The payments to Kilpatrick could reach $25,000 a month and include other lump sump payments, said Rosendall, who was convicted of bribery conspiracy for his role in the deal.
He has testified he gave Bernard Kilpatrick cash and checks and flew top city officials to Las Vegas at Synagro’s expense.
Bernard Kilpatrick was concerned about his close ties to his son and suggested a sludge executive seeking city business hire an intermediary.
James Rosendall said the elder Kilpatrick said he should hire Rayford Jackson to navigate the process. The suggestion came after Kwame Kilpatrick told Rosendall to work with his father on the deal. At the time, Bernard Kilpatrick was a private consultant and had no formal role with the city.
Bernard Kilpatrick suggested Jackson, Rosendall said, because of concern over the Kilpatrick family name.
Despite having a formal arrangement with Jackson, Rosendall said he wrote two checks for $5,000 each to Bernard Kilpatrick to avoid any problems with Synagro contract, which could produce $1.1 billion over 25 years, he said.
“We paid the $5,000 just to not get interrupted in our process of getting our contract approved,” Rosendall said.
Half of the $10,000 given in 2006 was listed as a loan, but Rosendall said Bernard Kilpatrick never paid it back.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked Rosendall if Bernard Kilpatrick provided consulting services.
“Not really,” he said.
“Then why pay?” Bullotta asked.
“His son was the mayor.”
Bullotta also showed $22,500 in checks from Rosendall to Kilpatrick’s nonprofit, his political-action committee and his inaugural committee. He wrote another $3,400 to Kilpatrick’s campaign committee.
In a meeting in the basement of the Manoogian Mansion, Kwame Kilpatrick steered former sludge exec James Rosendall to his father, Bernard Kilpatrick.
“This is the guy I want you to work with,” on city sludge contracts, Kwame Kilpatrick allegedly said, according to Rosendall.
At the time, Bernard Kilpatrick had no official role in City Hall and was a private consultant. Prosecutors allege the elder Kilpatrick cashed in on his son’s political power, brokering pay-to-play deals with contractors.
Rosendall said he felt he would have to pay Bernard Kilpatrick “to be able to get this contract changed and implemented.”
Kwame Kilpatrick and his dad took $100,000 worth of private jet flights from a Synagro executive in exchange for supporting a $1.2 billion sludge deal, according to prosecutors.
After the sludge firm Synagro chartered a private jet to whisk top city officials to Las Vegas for a prize fight in 2003, former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick decided the plane was too small, former Synagro exec James Rosendall said today.
The solution: One of the mayor’s boys had to stay behind.
Rosendall said political liaison Mike Tardiff had gone to Willow Run Airport intending to go on the Sept. 12-14 trip to see a boxing match. But Kilpatrick thought the plane couldn’t handle everyone and had Tardiff stay behind.
Those who did go included Ruth Carter, Derrick Miller, Mike Martin and Jim Sype, along with Kilpatrick. The flight alone cost Synagro nearly $20,000 .
Rosendall is detailing how he gave Kilpatrick cash and other benefits in hopes of securing a $1.2 billion deal to process the city’s waste sludge. He said his courtship began in Lansing when Kilpatrick was a state representative running for mayor.
His initial financial help was $10,200 for his campaign coffers, Rosendall said.
The two met in a green house near the capital, and Rosendall said Kilpatrick listened to his pitch.
“He was receptive, I think it was more along the line of if he makes it in (as mayor), we’ll talk,” he said.
The long-anticipated testimony of Synagro scandal figure James R. Rosendall Jr. has begun.
Rosendall is a West Michigan businessman whose undercover skills were last seen in 2011, when The News obtained FBI surveillance video showing him handing a city official a $2,000 payoff.
Jurors first saw Rosendall during opening statements, when prosecutors played a snippet of a hidden video in which Bernard Kilpatrick tells Rosendall not to give him money in public.
Prosecutors also showed jurors a surveillance photo of Rosendall carrying a box while walking with Bernard Kilpatrick. The box contained a bribe for Bernard Kilpatrick — a case of Cristal champagne, according to the feds.
Prosecutors allege that Kwame Kilpatrick and his dad took $100,000 worth of private jet flights from Rosendall in exchange for supporting a $1.2 billion sludge deal, according to prosecutors.
And Bernard Kilpatrick allegedly tried to extort $5,000 from Rosendall.
A Detroit contractor, who said he felt Bobby Ferguson had used his ties to Kwame Kilpatrick to block his company’s ability to get work, could not recall any contracts that his company bid on after the two men had a dispute.
Odell Jones III of Jomar Construction told Ferguson defense attorney Gerald Evelyn he could not remember specific city projects that Jomar had gone after and lost.
Evelyn pressured Jones to identify projects that Jomar felt it lost, and Jones said his company had a list of contracts won and lost but could not identify any individual contract. When Evelyn ask if he could recall how many contracts were “lost,” Jones said he didn’t know.
“There’s no way I could tell you that,” Jones said.
On Wednesday, Jones had criticized the quality of Ferguson’s work at the Book Cadillac hotel renovations and his work at a Detroit public school. Text messages were shown in which Ferguson and Kilpatrick appeared to mock Jones’ attempts to get help from Kilpatrick’s mother.
FBI informant James R. Rosendall Jr. traded the Big House for a REALLY BIG HOUSE and then checked into the poor house after serving an 11-month federal prison sentence for his role in a Detroit sludge-hauling scandal.
Now the former Synagro Technologies Inc. executive, who is expected to testify soon in the City Hall corruption trial, is locked in a tug-of-war with his bank over the $1 million House that Sludge Built in Grand Rapids.
The fight over the 7,000-square-foot estate is the latest in a string of legal woes for Rosendall, 48, who filed bankruptcy (read all about it here) in June 2011 — one month after leaving federal prison.
The ranch is ritzy. Read the realtor babble (and thumb through the photo gallery below):
This spacious and loaded ranch has a separate yet attached 1,616 sq ft guest house w/2 bedrooms and 2 baths, laundry room, kitchen, dining and living room. There’s also a finished 2,100 sq ft motor coach garage with infrared heat and plenty of other storage! The apartment, motor coach garage, office/game area, bath can all be easily accessed via an elevator to all 3 floors.
Rosendall is expected to help prosecutors unveil some of the most powerful evidence in the City Hall corruption trial, including wiretaps and surveillance video of Bernard Kilpatrick, the mayor’s father.
Prosecutors are armed with a surveillance photo of Rosendall carrying a box while walking with Bernard Kilpatrick. The box contained a bribe for the ex-mayor’s dad — a case of Cristal champagne, according to the feds.
Kwame Kilpatrick and his dad allegedly took $100,000 worth of private jet flights and tens of thousands of dollars from Rosendall in exchange for supporting a $1.2 billion sludge deal with Synagro, according to prosecutors.