Are you ready to watch another corruption trial unfold?
What do you think caused Detroit’s fall into bankruptcy?
It has been just over a year since Detroit’s ex-mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, was convicted with a lengthy prison sentence. All last year, Detroiters heard about Kilpatrick’s lavish lifestyle and the corruption that went on in the mayor’s office. This corruption included bribes, steering contracts and adding family and friends to the city’s payroll.
Now, another corruption trial has started in Detroit. This one might be even harder for Detroiter’s to stomach because, this time, what were swindled were their pensions.
This time, it is Jeffrey Beasley, Kilpatrick’s fraternity brother and former Detroit Treasurer who is facing serious charges. Beasley, along with three others, has been accused of cheating $200 million dollars from troubled pensions.
Beasley’s Corruption Underway
Yesterday, the trial started with opening statements. We are expecting to hear about more lavish living like officials accepting gifts. These gifts, according to the Detroit Free Press, included golf outings and Christmas baskets stuffed with cash. There were even allegedly trips to Las Vegas, England and the Caribbean that have been mentioned as perks Beasley received in exchange for favoritism.
Many are expecting the trial to offer an understanding of the $1.4 billion debt deal that was brokered by the Kilpatrick administration. That same debt deal had a major role to play in Detroit’s fall into bankruptcy.
The defense lawyers have worked hard to evade the point that many believe the $1.4 billion lead to Detroit’s bankruptcy. However, according to the Detroit News, they were unsuccessful when trying to block jurors from hearing how the allegedly corrupt deals lost pension funds.
Jeffery Beasley was one of the businessmen who likely ended up with some of that money.
The trial will examine a timeline that starts in 2006 and ends in 2009 according to the Detroit News. It is alleged that retirees were cheated out of $84 million dollars.
Beasley, in order to get pension fund loans, is also being accused of pressuring people to contribute money to the ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s non-profit group
If convicted, Beasley would face up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The judge that sentenced Kilpatrick to 28 years in prison and Bobby Ferguson to more than 20 years is the same judge that will oversee this trial as well. The Judge’s name is District Judge Nancy Edmunds. The judge has yet to show the Kilpatrick enterprise any mercy so far with convictions. Here is what Edmunds had to say after the conviction of Kwame Kilpatrick,
“We’re demanding transparency and accountability in our government. If there has been corruption in the past, there will be corruption no more.”
The trial started yesterday, and for many Detroiters a wound has been reopened. For others, like one of the jurors, they believe that those who should have been accountable were not and Kilpatrick was treated differently because he was black.
What can be said is that this is going to be another tough trial for the city of Detroit.
What Do You Think?
Will Beasley become a scapegoat for Detroit’s bankruptcy?