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Published: Thursday, 6/18/2009

Detroit council member mum on contract scandal


DETROIT - In the glare of a corruption investigation, City Council member Monica Conyers said nothing publicly yesterday about an alleged scheme to trade votes for money.

"I am not going to talk to you. I've got nothing to say to you," Ms. Conyers, the wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.), told reporters outside her home.

She accused the news media of "harassing" her, then rode to City Hall where she led a hearing about possible restrictions at strip clubs before council President Ken Cockrel, Jr., took over.

A person has told the Associated Press that Ms. Conyers is "Council Member A" listed in a document as receiving more than $6,000 for her vote in 2007 in favor of a sludge contract with Synagro Technologies of Houston.

The information comes from a person with knowledge of the investigation who asked not to be named because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.

On Monday, businessman Rayford Jackson, a Synagro contractor, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery to win the $47 million-a-year sludge deal.

Jackson said he arranged at least four payments for Council Member A, including $3,000 on the same day Ms. Conyers joined with the majority in approving the Synagro deal, 5-4.

In January, Synagro representative Jim Rosendall pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.

His plea agreement described how he distributed cash and other gifts to officials, including Council Member A.

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