Pension board attorney linked to Kilpatrick corruption probe is swiftly fired

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Pension board members weren't buying what attorney Ron Zajac was selling them today. He made a last ditch effort to keep his job as the lawyer for the city's police and fire pension board, but was voted out by a vote of 7 to 5.

Zajac held the job for 40 years, but it was a February indictment stemming from the Kilpatrick corruption probe that turned him toxic.  The feds say Zajac helped throw a birthday party for two pension board members, where he pressured companies doing business with the board to give thousands of dollars to Jeffrey Beasley: he's one of Kwame Kilpatrick's close friends, and—at the time—was a pension board member.  After the birthday party, the feds say Beasley helped get Zajac a big raise.

"Did you collect money for those parties," asked pension board trustee Mark Diaz.

"I don't think it's appropriate for me to answer that question," Zajac responded.

"And that's just it," Diaz responded.

"Because you got a raise right after that, and that's what I'm trying to get to. I'm asking you to help me out here, but all you're doing is blocking me.  I'm trying to help you, and all you're doing is saying I'm not going to answer that question.  How can I have confidence in you if you can't answer my questions," he asked.

Zajac dodged almost every question about the party.  But he did say it didn't violate any law or ethics rules. In fact, he compared it to a 7 year old's birthday party.

"Do you know a lot of seven year old who receive thousands of dollars in gifts," 7 Action News Investigator Ross Jones asked.

But after talking for more than 90 minutes, he went mute outside the meeting, leaving before a vote was even taken.  We followed him into an elevator, but he still had nothing to say.

Even though Zajac lost his job today at the police and fire pension board, he still has his position at the city's other pension board. 

If you have a tip for the 7 Action News Investigators, contact us at tips@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.

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