Witness who wore wire in Kilpatrick probe tells of bribes and taped meetings

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Cases of champagne, cash payoffs, and secret FBI recordings--those were just a few of things that emerged from the dramatic testimony during the Kilpatrick Corruption Case Thursday.

James Rosendall is giving some of the most stunning testimony yet about the pay-to-play allegations that are at the core of the Kilpatrick Corruption Case.

The former Synagro Technologies VP pleaded guilty to bribing city officials – and agreed to cooperate with the FBI probe.

Today, Rosendall told the jury that he gave Detroit's former mayor $36,100 in checks for his various campaign and civic funds because he wanted the city to approve Synagro's $1.1 Billion sludge hauling contract. 

Rosendall testified that he spent nearly $20,000 to fly Kwame Kilpatrick and several of his aides to Las Vegas on a private jet. He took Kilpatrick to a boxing prize fight and spent nearly $500 on limousine service in Sin City.

Rosendall says Kilpatrick directed him to use his father, Bernard, to get the Synagro contract approved.  Rosendall testified that he believed that to mean he'd have to pay Bernard Kilpatrick – and he did. 

Federal prosecutors showed the jury $10,000 in personal checks that Rosendall wrote to Bernard Kilpatrick.

The Grand Rapids businessman didn't realize it at the time, but the FBI started monitoring his calls and interactions with both the senior Kilpatrick and Rayford Jackson, another consultant that Bernard brought in to the Synagro deal.

All told, Rosendall says Kilpatrick and Jackson were in line to make between $7 - $8 Million dollars on the sludge deal and Rosendall says he agreed to start paying them because Bernard Kilpatrick kept threatening to kill the contract.

The feds played wiretapped phone calls and undercover video – as the 3 discussed how the money would be divided up.

On one call, Jackson tells Rosendall the mayor had already signed off on the deal – and says "Take care of BK."

Rosendall described an often irate Kilpatrick who constantly demanded payment-- at one point the feds videotaped Rosendall delivering a case of Cristal champagne and $300 in cash hidden inside a gum wrapper.

In another video, Bernard Kilpatrick holds out his hand with a number 5 gesture – which Rosendall said he believed meant Kilpatrick wanted 5-grand.

Outside federal court today, this is what Bernard Kilpatrick said when he was asked if he's worried about those videos: "No."

Rosendall described one meeting he had at the Original Pancake House in Birmingham; when he arrived, there was a huge wait for tables, but he was ushered right in pas the waiting line of people. He says he later learned the FBI had found out about the meeting, reserved the table for Rosendall and Kilpatrick and wired it to record their conversation.

After years of wining, dining, and allegedly paying off Bernard Kilpatrick, Rosendall told the jury that one day FBI Special Agent Robert Beeckman pulled him over and told him they'd been monitoring him for some time. 

Rosendall says he decided to cooperate and started secretly recording his interactions with Bernard Kilpatrick – at one point trying to pass $2500 in cash from the FBI to Kilpatrick inside a crowded Detroit restaurant.

Bernard Kilpatrick refused to take the cash that time – and Rosendall later videotaped Bernard saying he did not want to be seen taking money because quote "most people will not go under the bus for you."

The feds also recorded Bernard Kilpatrick talking about Rosendall allegedly buying the votes of city council members in 2007 for the Synagro deal, namely Monica Conyers and Barbara Rose Collins.

On the audio tape that was played for the jury, Bernard Kilpatrick says quote "Barbara Rose could be bought, ain't no question, y'all could buy her" and quote, "Monica plays both sides of the game, she tries to get her money…"

Conyers went to prison for accepting that bribe, there's no evidence Collins took anything. 

"Over the course of this four-month trial, the names of dozens of public officials and business leaders have been mentioned. References to their names in no way mean that they have done anything wrong," said U. S. Attorney Spokeswoman Gina Balaya.

Rosendall's testimony along with the wiretaps and videos could be difficult for Bernard Kilpatrick's lawyer John Shea to overcome… But Shea has been preparing for this government cooperator for weeks, and will likely put on a show of his own for the jury Friday.

"We're ready to go," said Shea.

 

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