Update: Walbridge Construction Says It Was A Victim In Ferguson's Pay-To-Play Scheme
October 11th, 2013, 4:07 PM
4:07 PM: The Detroit News now reports that Walbridge says they would donate any restitution payments the company receives back to the community.
“Our request for restitution is simply to vindicate our name,” Walbridge spokesman Terry Merritt said.
6:55 AM: Mike Wilkinson and Robert Snell of The Detroit News report construction company Walbridge is asking for as much as $5 million in restitution that prosecutors want awarded to Detroit because company officials argue the firm was victimized by Kilpatrick’s criminal scheme.
The company’s request, in a victim impact letter, surfaced Thursday after U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds sentenced Kwame Kilpatrick to 28 years in prison and castigated him for living “larger than life” on millions of dollars he stole after creating a “corrosive pay-to-play” system in City Hall.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade would not specifically address the Walbridge restitution claim but said companies identified in the corruption indictment share some culpability.
“In some ways, they are all culpable because they participated in a pay-to-play culture,” McQuade said. “Some are victims because they lost business after they failed to play along.”
Walbridge was among a number of contractors which agreed to pay Ferguson in order to get business, but none were charged with crimes. Some contractors eventually testified but neither John Rakolta nor any Walbridge top executives testified during the five-month corruption trial. Walbridge is headed by Rakolta, who last year served as a national finance chairman for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
A Walbridge spokesman did not respond to messages from The News seeking comment Thursday.