Kandia Milton expected to plead guilty today

Former Detroit Deputy Mayor Kandia Milton is expected to plead guilty to a federal bribery conspiracy charge this afternoon, according to a spokeswoman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Milton was implicated last week when former Detroit police officer Jerry Rivers pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Detroit to bribery in connection with a real estate deal.

Rivers told a judge he took a $50,000 bribe and split it with Milton and Milton’s younger brother DeDan Milton to ensure that the Detroit City Council approved a $3.5-million sale of Camp Brighton, city-owned land in Livingston County, to the Chaldean Catholic Church.

The news of Milton’s expected plea
reported by freep.com at 7:45 this morning.

Milton’s lawyer Elliott Hall confirmed that he expects the plea to take place this afternoon, adding that his client “violated the law, but it’s a minimal violation.”

Hall said that Milton “enjoys a good relationship with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

The plea to corruption charges comes from someone within former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s inner circle. Milton and Kilpatrick were childhood friends and his mother, Sandra Ramsey, is also a close Kilpatrick friend.

Milton rose to deputy mayor under the Kilpatrick administration and was mayor for a day in August 2008 when Kilpatrick went to jail on a bond violation before pleading guilty in the text message scandal. Milton carried his own financial woes. He and his wife filed for bankruptcy in 2006, overcome by property taxes and credit card and mortgage debts.

Rivers told Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen during his plea that a representative of the church, Eddie Bacall, approached him in 2006, seeking help in getting the council to approve the sale. Camp Brighton was owned by Detroit and had been used as a summer camp before it closed in 1995.

Rivers said he introduced the representative to the Miltons and they later received a $50,000 payment from a church priest through a middleman that he identified as a relative of the Miltons.
Bacall, of Bacall Development in Farmington Hills, said today that he did nothing wrong and never paid any bribe, only consulting fees.

“I’m a developer,” Bacall said. “We were the only bidder. If the city council thinks they were cheated, they can have the property back and give us our money back. We did nothing wrong.”

Bacall said the church purchase 160 acres of Camp Brighton and uses it as a camp for the Chaldean community. He said the church also gave the city an option to use the land whenever they wanted.

The church also has denied wrongdoing.

Kilpatrick’s lawyer James Thomas said this morning that he “cannot comment on this except to wish the best for Kandia and his family.”

DeDan Milton is not expected to appear in court this afternoon.

Detroit City Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel said she was shocked to hear about Kandia Milton’s upcoming plea.

“I think this is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions,” she said today. “He’s a talented person who I worked across the aisle with the administration on many important projects.”

Besides working as deputy mayor, Kandia Milton had worked as Kilpatrick’s chief of staff and liaison to the city council.

Cockrel said she maintains that the sale of Camp Brighton was a good deal because it was sitting unused and costing the city money. Camp Brighton was owned by Detroit and had been used as a summer camp before it closed in 1995.

“It is now 20/20 hindsight to say pay to play was the fundamental characteristic of the Kwame Kilpatrick administration,” she said. “But it is possible that good transactions got caught up in this stench.”