Wayne County Executive Warren Evans rescinds controversial Great Lakes Water Authority nomination

Posted at 11:33 PM, Dec 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 23:34:00-05

He's a lawyer who has a long history with Detroit’s disgraced former mayor.

So why did the Wayne County Executive want him to represent taxpayers on the water board?

The 7 Investigators first started looking into William Phillips back in 2007.

That's when he was serving as the secretary of the controversial Kilpatrick Civic Fund. That was the non-profit that, according to the feds, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick once used as his personal slush fund.

Kilpatrick is now serving a 28-year federal prison sentence after a jury convicted him of corruption and wire fraud charges. 

Many of those crimes stemmed from misuse of the civic fund and city water department contracts.

We recently learned that Wayne County Executive Warren Evans nominated Phillips to represent the county on the Great Lakes Water Authority - which is the board that now oversees the water system.

County commissioners were not happy with Evans’ choice.

“The fundraising for that person, other things, associations they have had, with that mayor, I think that's a concern, whether or not there were any ethical issues or illegal - I'm not implying that, but ethical - would make one question,” said Commissioner Glenn Anderson.

After the 7 Investigators asked the county executive why he was choosing Phillips, he rescinded the nomination.

In a statement, Evans told us:

The concerns [the] commission relayed to me regarding Mr. Phillips' nomination are unrelated to his work under the former mayor. I believe Mr. Phillips was a good candidate and would serve the board, and the entire county well. However, i understand the commission's concerns and [i] am rescinding the nomination.

In fact, county commissioners told us they were worried about Phillips’ past with Kilpatrick. 

We should point out, William Phillips has also made campaign contributions to Warren Evans.

We did reach out to him for comment on this, but he has not called us back.