Another Detroit Official Pleads Guilty to Bribery

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A former aide to disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty in federal court of paying a kickback in connection with a political favor involving the selection of an investment firm for one of the city’s pension funds. Marc Andre Cunningham, 41, said that he paid at least $15,000 to the relative of a city official as a reward for the official’s support in helping a venture capital firm make a deal with the Detroit General Retirement System.

In 2006, while Cunningham was employed as a consultant to the investment firm, Syncom Funding, he helped secure a $30 million investment account for the firm from one of the city’s retirement funds. After the deal was approved by the city, Cunningham received a $300,000 commission for his efforts.

Months later, Cunningham paid the kickback to a relative of the unnamed city official, partially to reward the official for helping secure the transaction, and to also insure that future dealings with the firm would be accorded similar treatment.

Shortly after the deal was secured, Cunningham was hired by former Mayor Kilpatrick to be his executive assistant and later, head of the film office. Cunningham was a fraternity brother at Florida A&M University with Kilpatrick and former city treasurer Jeff Beasley.  The only other work experience of the college dropout was managing a cell phone store.

The City of Detroit has been rocked by widespread corruption and scandals in recent years, most of which involved former Mayor Kilpatrick and his associates. Kilpatrick resigned from office in 2008 after being charged with 10 felonies, including perjury, misconduct in office and obstruction of justice. He is currently serving time in federal prison in Milan, Michigan.

The Detroit News

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