Trial focus shifts to Synagro sludge scandal

Prosecutors turned their focus to the tainted Synagro Technologies sludge contract and a company executive who lavished free private jet flights and other perks on Kwame Kilpatrick and his father.

James R. Rosendall Jr.

James R. Rosendall Jr.

Former Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller testified about his interactions with Synagro Vice President James R. Rosendall Jr. and consultant Rayford Jackson. Both men were convicted in connection with an FBI probe of City Hall corruption.

According to prosecutors, Rosendall allegedly provided at least $100,000 in cash, private jet flights and entertainment for the mayor and his father Bernard Kilpatrick.

Bernard Kilpatrick also tried to extort $5,000 from Rosendall, according to prosecutors.

From the indictment:

“In about 2008, BERNARD KILPATRICK attempted to extort $5,000 from Rosendall by threatening to “kill” the sludge contract if he was not paid.”

Rosendall became an FBI informant while pushing his company’s attempt to land a $1.2 billion sewage sludge disposal contract.

He helped the FBI secretly record a City Council official pocketing bribes.

Monica Conyers.

Monica Conyers.

The Texas company was awarded the Detroit contract on a split city council vote in 2007. He got 11 months after pleading guilty to bribery.

Former Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers cast the deciding vote in favor of the Synagro deal and later struck a plea-bargain on bribery conspiracy charges.

She was sentenced to 37 months in prison and was released from federal prison last month.

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