DETROIT (WXYZ) - Another big name has surfaced in the Detroit pension fund scandal.
This time it’s a prominent businessman who’s accused of bribing pension board members with casino chips and cash. The new information is surfacing just days after the pension board’s attorney and one trustee were indicted on corruption charges.
The man accused of paying bribes is Greektown restaurant and hotel owner Jim Pappas, and it’s not the first time his name has come up in a federal corruption case.
The 7 Action News Investigators have confirmed that Papas is the person named by code words in a recent indictment, alleged to have bribed two city officials with $20,000 in poker chips.
According to the indictment, the bribes were paid when Papas was trying to buy a deep injection well in Romulus that was owned by the pension system.
The indictment refers to the alleged bribe payer in code, as “principal of company R”. But a source confirms that person is Papas, who eventually bought the injection well.
$5,000 in poker chips allegedly went to this man, Paul Stewart, a former pension trustee indicted by the feds earlier this week. Another
$15,000 in poker chips allegedly went to another pension board member identified only as “trustee B”.
Papas has a 50 percent ownership in the Antheneum hotel in Greektown. It was there, the indictment alleges, that Papas did more palm greasing for pension board members, hosting birthday parties for them in hotel suites.
The indictment says Papas and recently indicted pension fund lawyer Ron Zajac collected cash from investors seeking loans from the pension board. They allegedly gave Five thousand in cash to Paul Stewart and the board member identified as “trustee B”.
Papas’ name also came in the Kilpatrick corruption trial. Emma Bell testified she paid cash bribes to Kilpatrick that she carried in her bra. She said she sometimes used Jim Papas’ office.
Papas name also surfaced during the corruption trials of Sam Riddle and former councilwoman Monica Conyers.
The 7 Action News Investigators reached out to Papas’ attorney Christopher Andreoff who said that this information is un-proven, merely an allegation and that he would have no comment beyond that.
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