DETROIT (AP) — A high-ranking aide to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick told jurors Monday that he picked up thousands of dollars in bribes for his boss from a contractor at the city’s convention center where both men had broad powers over operations.
Derrick Miller, who was Detroit’s chief administrative officer, said he collected thousands of dollars “once or twice,” typically in stacks of hundred-dollar bills, for Kilpatrick, whom he has known since high school. Miller said he also took his own payoffs from Karl Kado, who held contracts at Cobo Center during Kilpatrick’s nearly seven years in office.
“I picked it up from Kado, took it to (Kilpatrick). … I didn’t count it but it was a lot of money. Five (thousand) to 10,000,” said Miller, whose testimony matched what Kado said earlier in the trial.
Miller’s testimony is important for prosecutors trying to prove that Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and pal Bobby Ferguson spent years rigging contracts and taking payoffs. Miller was a defendant in the case until 2011, when he pleaded guilty to taking bribes and committing tax crimes and agreed to help the government.
Kilpatrick at times grinned, shook his head, consulted with his lawyer and took many notes while Miller, nicknamed “Zeke,” answered questions from Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow.
Miller met Kilpatrick in a ninth-grade English class and later worked on his staff at the state Legislature. He helped hatch Kilpatrick’s first run for mayor in 2001 and held senior roles at city hall.
As chief administrative officer, Miller had authority over Cobo Center, its director and contractors. Cobo now is run by a regional board and no longer is solely in the hands of city government.