Wiretap: Kilpatrick threatened to 'pull plug' on $1.2B deal

Bernard Kilpatrick

Bernard Kilpatrick

Bernard Kilpatrick threatened to pull the plug on a $1.2 billion sludge deal unless a businessman came up with cash for his girlfriend’s company, according to a wiretapped conversation.

Jurors heard a wiretapped phone call between Kilpatrick and his girlfriend, Akunna Olumba in December 2007.

During the call, which was being recorded by the FBI, Kilpatrick bragged that Synagro Technologies Inc. executive James Rosendall was going to send money after the mayor’s dad threatened to “pull the plug” on the sludge deal.

“And he’s like ah, hell no,” Olumba said. “That’s a lot of work down the drain.”

Akunna Olumba

Akunna Olumba

Rosendall had told Kilpatrick that Synagro would wire money to Olumba’s company.

It was a lie. Rosendall was stringing Kilpatrick along, according to testimony.

“Why didn’t you just say to Bernard Kilpatrick ‘we can’t do any deal, you are the mayor’s father, it doesn’t look right?'” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked Rosendall.

“I probably should have said that,” Rosendall said.

“Is there any reason why you didn’t just blow him off?” Bullotta asked.

“I didn’t want him to stop the deal,” Rosendall said.

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