DETROIT (WWJ) – Another high-profile city administrator and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick associate is under fire in an ongoing corruption investigation.
Former Detroit city treasurer Jeffrey Beasley, who now lives in Chicago, has been indicted for allegedly taking bribes and kickbacks in return for approving more than $200 million in investments by two city pension funds.
The indictment alleges that Beasley extorted more than $10,000 in cash from people doing business before the funds at a “birthday party” in his honor. Investigators say the pension funds suffered more than $84 million in losses from investments associated with the conspiracy, while Beasley pocketed tens of thousands of dollars.
Beasley and his co-conspirators allegedly demanded and received trips, private plane flights, and lavish entertainment from an investment manager of the Police and Fire Retirement System who managed more than $150 million in properties owned by the system.
According to the FBI, Beasley also demanded that people having business before the pension funds contribute tens of thousands of dollars to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.
“This is another example of a once trusted public official abusing their power for personal gain,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena, in a statement. “The FBI remains dedicated to rooting out this type of corruption and reminding public officials they serve the citizens not themselves.”
Beasley and former Kwame Kilpatrick were college fraternity brothers. Kilpatrick, who is himself under indictment on tax and fraud charges, faces trial later this year.
Retired Detroit Police and Firefighters Association President Don Taylor, who has been working to get representation on pension board for years, said the indictment did not come as a surprise.
“The investigation was going on for years,” Taylor told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Florence Walton. “We (were) hoping the feds would wrap it up as soon as possible to clear out the corruption in the city of Detroit … the alleged corruption, especially to do with the pension board … We’re deeply concerned with that.”
If convicted, Beasley faces a maximum of twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the six counts of extortion, attempted extortion, and conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud. The Indictment also seeks forfeiture of more than $225,000 unlawfully received.
Wayne State University Law Professor Peter Henning said the indictment against Beasley could help the feds build their case against the Kilpatrick.
“It’s part of what appears to be a very broad and intricate web of connections that very much seem to tie back to the former mayor,” said Henning. “At least that’s what the government, I expect, will try to portray it.”
Henning said, at least so far, Beasley has been refusing to give up evidence against Kilpatrick. It’s possible the indictment may push him to negotiate a plea deal.