DETROIT (WXYZ) - Tahir Kazmi is no doubt the biggest domino to fall in the FBI's almost year-long probe into Wayne County government. With his guilty plea secured, county officials are wondering who could be next.
"The bus for cooperators is only so big, and you want to get a seat on that if you come forward," said Bill Kowalski, a former assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit office, now working for Troy's Rehmann Corporation.
Today, Kazmi made sure not to miss the bus. The deal he made with the US attorney could shave 15 years off the prison sentence he faced. In exchange, the feds expect the former Ficano aide to help build their case on other county officials.
"Pleas like this won't be taken unless there's...some showing that there's value in the information he possess going forward, either further up the chain or other co-conspirators," Kowalski said.
"It's very reasonable for them to believe that he's shown them something worthwhile for both sides."
Kazmi is one of five charged in the probe so far, but the highest-ranking Ficano appointee to fall. Former Ficano aide Michael Grundy was charged earlier this year, accused of shaking down a vendor for $50,000 a month. So far, he's not made a deal with the feds. If Kazmi has information that could implicate Grundy, he may wish he had.
Not charged but named in last year's subpoenas to Wayne County are former Deputy CEO Azzam Elder, and former Economic Development Chief Turkia Mullin. If they know of any dirty deals within the county, Kowalski says now is the time to talk before their seat on the bus is taken.
"Anybody that has that information is going to be sweating and wondering what side of the team do I want to be on," Kowalski said.
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