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Oakland Co. Exec On Detroit Corruption

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The indictments against what’s been dubbed the “Kilpatrick Enterprise” all have to do with business conducted in the city of Detroit, but the issue could certainly have reach into the suburbs – especially since it names Victor Mercado, the former Director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

It’s an area of city government that’s always been a sore spot — given the antiquated system and skyrocketing water bills.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says he’s curious about the part of the indictment tied to Detroit’s Water Department. “If the whole Detroit water and sewerage bureau is corrupt, how much of that corruption has found its way into the rates that we have to pay? How much have we been overcharged throughout the years,” says Patterson.

Patterson says his county first filed suit in 1977 over water rates, trying to learn how rates are calculated. The Oakland County executive believes Detroit
water customers could be in line for a rebate if corruption charges are proven in court. However, he says the chance of getting money from former water department head Victor Mercado is a pretty remote possibility.

Patterson tells WWJ it’s disappointing to see Kilpatrick – one of his political colleagues – fall from grace, especially one who showed so much promise. He likens the entire Kilpatrick saga to “a Greek tragedy.”

“He had it all. He had the gravitas, he had the persona, he had the intelligence, the wit. He could have gone all the way…” says Patterson who adds, “But, some people just have that fatal flaw, and it just run rampant in his genes.”

An 89-page, 38-count indictment including extortion, bribery, and fraud names former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his father Bernard Kipatrick, along with longtime Kilpatrick pal and city contractor Bobby Ferguson, ex-city water director Victor Mercado, and ex-mayoral aide Derrick Miller. They were indicted under federal “RICO” (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statues, which could mean tougher sentences if they’re convicted. No arraignments have been scheduled.

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