Detroit, Emergency Managers — November 1, 2013 at 7:29 am

More on CVS Caremark’s no-bid contract after NERD Fund donation. Did Detroit swap one form of cronyism for another?


Isn’t this EXACTLY why Kwame Kilpatrick is sitting in jail?

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]

NOTE: This story has been updated HERE.

When Kwame Kilpatrick went to jail this year on corruption charges, it was because he basically used the city of Detroit as a personal ATM machine to dispense money to his friends. He now sits in jail as does one of his partners in crime, Bobby Ferguson. Most of us were happy to put this embarrassing chapter in Detroit’s history behind us and eager to see Motown rise like a phoenix from the burnt out ashes of its financial ruin.

But now we have a new sheriff in town and, by all appearances, he’s doing much the same thing that Kwame Kilpatrick did: doling out contracts in return for favors. How else can you explain the fact that CVS Caremark made a donation to Governor Snyder’s NERD Fund one year and then obtained what state Representative Thomas F. Stallworth III calls a “no-bid contract” worth $60 million the next? Perhaps the only difference is that Kilpatrick got a hell of a lot more than $1,000 for his trouble.

Michigan Democratic Party chair Lon Johnson issued this statement yesterday:

This Republican governor promised to ‘ensure that government is open, fair, and accountable to the citizens by making Michigan a national leader in transparency and ethics,’ but instead he’s made our state a leader in pay-to-play contracts and shady politics. This new information is exactly why Michigan voters deserve transparency for this fund. It’s past time for Gov. Snyder to disclose donors to his secret NERD Fund.

Governor Snyder and Kevyn Orr have some explaining to do. It seems clear to me that the reason they are holding back on releasing NERD Fund donors is because the situation with CVS Caremark is just the tip of the iceberg. With dozens of contracts given to consultants and other contractors under Orr’s emergency management — contracts worth well over $100 million — it seems likely that there are other contractors cashing in on Detroit’s bankruptcy after having donated to Gov. Snyder’s secret fund.

I’m puzzled by the lack of reporting on this. None of the mainstream media outlets have touched this so far. It’s my hope that it’s because they are digging deeper (they don’t have other day jobs like I do) and will get some true reporting on this coming soon. I surely hope so because, based on the evidence before us, Detroit seems to have traded one set of crony managers for another. Kwame Kilpatrick did it to benefit himself, his pals, and his father. Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr are doing it to benefit their business partners.

And that’s a BFD.