Indictments against additional members of the Kilpatrick administration continue to surface in Detroit as two men involved with the city’s pension funds were accused of bribery conspiracy today. United States Attorney Barbara McQuade named the pension funds General Counsel and a former trustee in indictments of bribery conspiracy and kickback conspiracy involving over $200 million in pension fund investments was reported by WXYZ.com today.
The two men involved, Ronald Zajac and Paul Stewart, were charged in a 13-count grand jury indictment. In the indictment the prosecutors said the former pension fund lawyer Zajac and former trustee Stewart conspired with former city treasurer Jeffrey Beasley to defraud Detroit retirees. These indictments come one week after former Mayor Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick and friend Bobby Ferguson were found guilty of corruption charges.
Federal prosecutors said Stewart accepted “gifts” from people that wanted the police and fire pensions to invest with them. Some of the gifts included:
- a $5,000 casino chip
- a Christmas basket that included an envelope filled with thousands of dollars in cash
- excursions to the Bahamas and Naples, FL
- and a $5,000 cash “birthday present” at the Atheneum Hotel
WXYZ.com further reports that:
"Public officials entrusted with billions of dollars in employees money cannot take bribes and kickbacks to influence their investment decisions," said McQuade.
According to today’s indictment – Zajac sought to curry favor with Beasley and former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick by raising more than $70,000 for the Kilpatrick Civic Fund. The feds also say he forced people having business before the retirement funds to spend thousands of dollars to entertain trustees.. including making one person pay more than $10,000 for limousines in New York City.
"Those who are fortunate enough to serve in positions of public trust are expected to act with honesty and integrity at all times. The FBI is committed to holding these individuals accountable for abuses including acts of bribery, kickbacks and other serious crimes," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Foley.
Today’s indictments against Zajac and Stewart might cost them fines up to $250,000 and up to 20 years if found guilty.