BLOG: Kilpatrick faces FBI informant who wore wire, alleges bribes

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Follow along with the Kilpatrick corruption trial as 7 Action News Investigator Ross Jones blogs from federal court. WARNING: Some of today's testimony includes harsh language:

1:00--All for today: Bullotta is ending for the day, and has a few more minutes of questions for Rosendall that he'll hold for tomorrow.  The defense has their work cut out for them after today's testimony.  See you tomorrow at 9AM, right here at WXYZ.com to see how they fight back.

12:56--Implication: Bernard Kilpatrick implied, says Rosendall, that he wanted half of consultant Rayford Jackson's payments on the Synagro deal.  Jackson received $10,000 a month and, when talking about his payments, Kilpatrick held up five fingers and said, "Why don't we try to do that." 

He wanted $5,000, said Rosendall.

12:55--Hidden camera: The FBI put a hidden camera on Rosendall, and a recording from it is about to be played.  Rosendall wore it during a conversation between him and Bernard Kilpatrick outside of Kilpatrick's apartment.  The mayor's dad is wearing a sweater that appears to have King Tut on it.

"I was pissed about the other day...trying to hand me $2,500 in a restaurant with Akunna (Olumba) sitting there," Kilpatrick said, referring to the Southern Fires encounter we heard about earlier.

"I don't ever want anybody to see me take money from somebody...you've been around," Kilpatrick said.

"Most people will not go under the bus for you," he says later, adding that he only has "three people in the city" that he trusts on that level, and that Olumba apparently wasn't one of them.

"We in a restaurant.  You don't know if they got cameras there," Kilpatrick said.

12:43--Next payment: We can hear Rosendall telling Bernard Kilpatrick that he expects his next lump-sum payment will be $500,000.  It sounds like the three of them (including Olumba) are discussing how the monthly payments will be broken down for this major contract.

12:40--Check or cash: Also on the recording, we can hear Rosendall asking Bernard if he wants "check or cash."  Rosendall had $2,500 in cash with him that the FBI had given him.

"I folded it in half and I went to hand it to him, and he didn't take it," Rosendall said.

"That's when he said he wanted a check."

Kilpatrick's girlfriend Akunna Olumba, also at the table, said she would take a check if it was made out to "Black Onyx," a company of hers.

12:35--Five people: On the recording, we can hear Bernard Kilpatrick talking about lining up "five people" for the Synagro deal. That's the number needed to get a deal approved.

"Barbara-Rose could be bought, ain't no question you all could buy her," Bernard Kilpatrick said, speaking about Councilmember Barbara-Rose Collins.

"Monica plays both sides of the game, she tries to get money," Kilpatrick said, referencing Monica Conyers.

12:30--Blow it up: Rosendall said Bernard Kilpatrick threatened that he kill the Synagro deal.  In the wiretapped conversation, the two appear to be talking about a tug of war between Bernard Kilpatrick and Rayford Jackson (both consultants on the deal).  Kilpatrick used a metaphor in describing the deal:

"I'll walk away, but I'll try to blow up the house," he said.

"If you steal the TV and I can't get it, I'll just blow my house up.  Blow my TV up, too.  You can't have it either."

The "house," said Rosendall, was the Synagro deal, and the "TV" was Bernard Kilpatrick's cut.

12:25--Don't kill it: In the recorded meeting, we can hear Rosendall say he doesn't want Bernard Kilpatrick to "kill the deal."

12:23--Meeting: Wearing a wire and working with the FBI, Rosendall said he arranged a meeting with Bernard Kilpatrick at a Detroit restaurant called Southern Fires.  Rosendall brought thousands of dollars with him, he said.

12:19--Memorable pull over: Rosendall said he was pulled over by FBI agent Bob Beeckman on his way back to Jackson, Michigan.  Rosendall says he was told that he had been monitored by the feds, and they wanted him to come to their offices downtown.  He said he would come downtown, but would do more listening than talking.

Later that night, Rosendall said he decided to cooperate with the FBI.

"It was the right thing to do," he said. 

12:15--Break: Court is on a short break. 

Sorry for the delay in blog posts.  I had to run outside to do a quick live shot for our 7 Action News at Noon viewers.

11:50--Video, too: We just saw some undercover video shot by the FBI, where we can see Rosendall getting a box out of his SUV and putting in the back of Bernard Kilpatrick's.  In the case, Rosendall said, was thousands of dollars worth of cristal champagne.

Rosendall said he also gave the mayor's dad $300 stashed in a gum wrapper. 

He said he gave Bernard Kilpatrick the money and champagne because he had left Rosendall an angry voicemail days earlier, demanding that he call him back while he was on vacation.

On a voicemail played to the jury, we can hear Kilpatrick say he wants a call back now, "vacation or no mother fucking vacation."

11:42--"Borderline illegal:" Bernard Kilpatrick can be heard discussing how what he was proposing was "borderline illegal," and was how Ed McNamara and Mike Duggan "carving up" contracts while at Wayne County.

Duggan is exploring a run for Mayor. 

11:30--Recordings: On the wiretaps, Rosendall is talking to Bernard Kilpatrick and his girlfriend Olumba about how the payments will break down, assuming the contract went through.  Rosendall tells Bernard: "I can't tell them you're involved."

He says he was referring to his company, Synagro, who would not have been comfortable paying someone who was that closely linked to Kwame Kilpatrick.  

Rosendall says that the payments that would be divided between Bernard Kilpatrick and Rayford Jackson was between $7 million and $8 million.

There was a written agreement between Rayford Jackson and Synagro, but it did not mention Olumba, at least initially. That would change, though, when her name would be added.  That was done, Rosendall said, so that she could collect the money that would be then paid to Bernard Kilpatrick. 

11:21--Pancakes and wiretaps: Rosendall said he traveled to the Pancake House in Royal Oak to meet with Bernard Kilpatrick.  People were waiting in line for a seat but, strangely, a table was waiting for Bernard and Rosendall.

Turns out, says Bullotta, that the table was reserved for them...by the FBI.  The booth was bugged, too.  Rosendall didn't know it. 

11:20--Breakdown: The payment that was due following the Synagro deal's approval was broken down like this:

"Rayford was supposed to get 45%, Bernard was supposed to get 45% and Akunna was supposed to get 10%," Rosendall said. 

Akunna Olumba was a former girlfriend of Bernard Kilpatrick's. 

11:13--Wiretap: We're about to hear a wiretap of a phone call between Rosendall and Rayford Jackson.  The FBI was intercepting Rosendall's phone calls, but he didn't know it.

On the call, we hear Rosendall asking Jackson if Kwame Kilpatrick has signed-off on the Synagro contract. 

 

"The mayor's already signed off…take care of B.K," Jackson said.

B.K. was Bernard Kilpatrick, said Rosendall.  

11:10--Rayford Jackson: Rosendall says Synagro made payments to their second consultant, Rayford Jackson.  Jackson told Rosendall that he had "made some payments" to council members in order to get their votes lined up on the Synagro deal, and Jackson wanted to be reimbursed for the payments.

As we now know, those payments were made to Monica Conyers.  Her prison sentence over those bribes recently finished up. Rosendall says he knew the money was being used to bribe Conyers. 

11:08--Important date: Rosendall is being asked if November 20, 2007 was an important date at the Detroit City Council. It was the day they voted to approved the Synagro sludge contract. 

11:04--More checks: Rosendall was very generous. He wrote a $5,000 check on January 3, 2006 to Kilpatrick's inaugural committee. Again, a personal check. He wrote another one on May 19, 2007 to "Kilpatrick for Mayor" in 2007.  It was written out for $3,400, the legal limit for an individual.

"We were pretty close to having this contract stuff wrapped up, and we didn't need to rock the boat at that point," he said. 

11:01--Boo: On Halloween 2005, Rosendall wrote a $7,500 check to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund after, he said, being pressured by political consultant Mike Tardif and Bernard Kilpatrick to do so.

A week later, he wrote a $10,000 check to "Generations PAC," Kilpatrick's political action committee. 

"Why did you give $10,000 a week later to another entity associated with Kilpatrick?" Bullotta asked. 

"They were pushing me to make a $20,000 donation...I did the $7,500 hoping it would go away and it didn't, so then I wrote a check to the PAC for $10,000," he said. 

10:59--Paying cash: Rosendall says he paid Bernard Kilpatrick cash, too, saying he specifically remembered giving him $300.  Bullotta said there is surveillance video of this, which we'll see later.  He took Bernard out to lunches and dinners, too.  

All of this was done, he said, to land a $1.2 billion sewage contract. Yes, billion. 

10:58--More checks: Rosendall says he wrote more personal checks to the mayor's dad. 

"Once again, he was pressuring me for money," Rosendall said.

Rosendall wrote "loan" in the memo line, but Bullotta asked if it was really a loan. 

"I guess I had hoped it was...but it wasn't," he said, adding that Rosendall never paid it back.  

10:53--Paying Bernard: "Did Bernard Kilpatrick ever ask you for money?" Bullotta asked.

"Yes," Rosendall said.

The jury is being shown a $5,000 check written on 2/13/06.  It's written to Bernard Kilpatrick. 

"He was leaning on me for either a loan or money for something," Rosendall said.

On the check, Rosendall wrote "Consulting" on the memo line.  But was it consulting?

"Not really," Rosendall said.  He added that the check was written so that his city contract wouldn't be "interrupted" by Mayor Kilpatrick. 

The check is a personal check. 

10:50--Other contractor: The other contractor that Bernard Kilpatrick wanted Rosendall to work with was Rayford Jackson, Rosendall says.

He says he didn't know Jackson.  

10:45--Ill jurors: It sounds like we have two ill jurors, according to Judge Nancy Edmunds. It also sounds like they'll brave their illnesses and still try to be present for testimony. Talk about devotion. 

10:21--Juror issue: There appears to be an issue with a juror right now, perhaps health related.  We're taking a break right now.  Stay with us. 

10:19--Hire another one: Bernard Kilpatrick told Rosendall to hire another consultant (in addition to him) because he was "too close" to the mayor.  

10:18--Pay Kilpatrick: Some key questions being asked here.  

"Did you think you were going to have to pay Bernard Kilpatrick," asked Asst. U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta.

"Yes," Rosendall responded.

"To do what?" Bullotta asked.

"In order to have this contract changed and implemented," Rosendall said. 

Rosendall said Synagro already had a consultant.  

10:13--Heard things: Rosendall says he had heard rumors while he was in Grand Rapids about business people having to "pay to play" to obtain contracts in the City of Detroit. 

10:09--Mansion meeting: In late 2003, Rosendall says he came to the Manoogian Mansion for a fundraiser.  Tardif was there this time.  After saying hello to Kilpatrick, Rosendall says the mayor took him downstairs to introduce him to his father Bernard.  

"This is the guy I want you to work with on the Minergy," Rosendall said he was told. 

10:07--Fight night: The fight they were flying to see, between Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, was attended by Kilpatrick, Rosendall says. 

10:06--Stylin': They flew like stars and drove like them, too.  Rosendall says that Synagro paid $475 for Limousine service while the group was in Las Vegas.  

10:05--Schedule confirms: Kilpatrick's mayoral schedule confirms the Las Vegas trip, as well as the departure and arrival times. 

10:03--Synagro paid: That flight to Vegas was paid for by Synagro.  A check is being shown to the jury right now in the amount of $19,993.55.  The check was dated 9/30/2003.  

10:01--Coming attractions: The prosecution is admitting pieces of evidence that we will soon see and hear: they include videos of face-to-face meetings, recordings of voicemails, and other pieces of evidence. It's a real shame we can't have cameras in federal court.  

9:59--No room: Well, this is awkward. Rosendall says that when they were about to take off at Willow Run Airport headed to Vegas, Kilpatrick said that there wasn't enough room for political consultant Mike Tardif. So Tardif didn't make the trip, at least on the jet.

He probably wasn't thrilled about it at the time, but I imagine he is today. 

9:57--Viva Las Vegas: What happens in Vegas...comes out in federal court. In September of 2003, Rosendall said he, Kilpatrick, Sype, Kilpatrick bodyguard Mike Martin, and Ruth Carter (Bernard Kilpatrick's one time girlfriend) flew on a private jet to see a fight in Las Vegas.

9:56--Kilpatrick's reaction: The former mayor is leaning back in his chair as Rosendall testifies with his hands clasped and resting on his stomach.  He's showing little expression. 

9:55--Meeting in GR: Later on at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids (where Rosendall lives), Rosendall says he met with Kilpatrick, Sype and others, including Derrick Miller. 

9:52--Contract: Around this time, Synagro was trying to purchase a contract from a company called Minergy, which took sludge and turned it into glass. Rosendall says he talked to Kilpatrick about that contract, how they wanted it and what they would do to change it if Kilpatrick became mayor.

Also at the meeting was Jim Sype, who Rosendall says worked for Kilpatrick.  At the meeting, he says he gave Kilpatrick three donations for $3,400.  One was from him, two were from others who also supported Kilpatrick. 

$3,400 is the maximum individual contribution. 

Kilpatrick was receptive, says Rosendall, and he left the meeting thinking that "if he makes it in, he'll talk." 

9:50--Meets Kilpatrick: In 2001, Rosendall says he met Kilpatrick while he was still a state representative running for mayor.  He said he believed Kilpatrick had a good chance of being elected, and wanted to talk to him about a sewage contract his company was pursuing in Detroit. 

9:42--Rosendall up: To quote Terrell Owens, "Get your popcorn ready."  James Rosendall, the former Synagro executive who was key to the government's case, is now on the stand.  He allegedly caught Kilpatrick's father and others on hidden camera video talking about bribes and other illegal acts.  

9:38--More bug talk: Jones acknowledges telling Ferguson that he would "squash him like a bug" if he didn't deliver on the jobs he was hired to do. 

Jones said he told that to Ferguson and anyone else doing work for him. 

9:36--Basketball w/ Bobby: Jones says he was invited by Ferguson to join him and others for pick-up basketball games at his offices in Detroit. Jones says he sprained his ankle during one of the games. 

9:27--Didn't win: Under cross-examination by Ferguson attorney Gerald Evelyn, Jones is being asked if he can recall any bids after the Book-Cadillac Hotel project that he didn't win.  

Jones says he cannot. 

9:24--Darn bugs: Judge Nancy Edmunds announced that the courtroom was sprayed yesterday to combat the jumping/flying bugs that have been snacking on jurors. Who said the wheels of justice turn slowly? The court was quick on this one. 

9:12--On the stand: When we get started (hopefully in a few minutes), Detroit contractor Odell Jones will be on the stand.  Odell Jones, former owner of Jomar Costruction, worked on the Book Cadillac Hotel project along with Ferguson. 

Yesterday, he testified about violations Ferguson's company received from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) inspectors.  He met with Ferguson about how his worker's were performing asbestos removal without the proper protective gear.  Jones said Ferguson didn't care, telling him he had "turned into a punk and a puppet for the white man."

9:07--The end is near: I had a brief conversation with Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow downstairs in the security line. He said that he expects the prosecution's case should be done by Friday of next week. He asked if I was looking forward to getting back to other stories after the trial's over. I told him I am.  

"But you probably are, too," I said.

He smiled.  

9:00--Welcome back: It's day 56 of trial, with just a few more days left of the prosecution's case. My colleague Heather Catallo stepped in yesterday to handle blogging duties as I had to make a trip to Lansing for another story I'm working on (stay tuned).  Apparently, I picked a good day to be absent.  We learned that jurors were bitten yesterday by a flying/jumping bugs.  

Perhaps it's time to have the courtroom swept for bugs, though...not the kind Kilpatrick is alleged to have been worried about.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments