Bribe payer got break from feds in Kilpatrick case

Convicted Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado, who is set to deliver potentially devastating testimony against Kwame Kilpatrick and his father, caught a break from prosecutors in early 2010 because he helped the feds probe City Hall corruption.

Kado told agents he paid at least $360,000 in bribes to the former mayor, his father, and Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller. Kado paid the alleged bribes to gain favorable treatment from city officials, who had power over his electrical, janitorial and food contracts at Cobo, according to the feds.

In March 2010, prosecutors urged a judge to sentence Kado to no more than six months in prison on tax charges even though his sentencing guidelines were 12-18 months in federal prison.

From Kado’s sentencing memo, written by federal prosecutors:

“Kado’s offense, including the underlying bribery conduct, is serious. While in some cases, Kado may not have instigated the bribes, he nonetheless engaged in a pattern of bribery that corrupted contracting at Cobo Hall, making it difficult for ethical companies to compete for business there. Moreover, Kado profited handsomely from his corrupt contracts.”

Prosecutors explained why Kado deserved a break.

“The need for deterrence must be weighed with the importance of obtaining cooperation from persons like Kado, without whom the government would not be able to hold certain public officials accountable for their illegal conduct.”

Following the government’s request, Kado was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Robert Snell
Robert Snell is the Detroit News federal courts reporter. He can be reached at or (313) 222-2028.