Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers has been repeatedly the subject of scathing media articles regarding physical and verbal attacks on her critics, here and here and here. She is now facing a corruption probe after being identified as the alleged “Council Member A” in a federal investigation who accepted more than $6000 for a vote on a sludge contract.
The federal investigators are looking into how Houston-based Synagro Technologies won a $47 million-a-year contract to recycle sludge from a wastewater treatment plant.
Synagro contractor and local businessman Rayford Jackson testified that he gave more than $6,000 to Council Member A. Notably, he said the first $3000 payment was given on Nov. 20, 2007, the same day Conyers joined with the majority in approving the Synagro deal 5-4. The rest of the money was allegedly passed over in a McDonald’s parking lot. There may be more money involved. The Associated Press says that “in a separate matter” “an intermediary” for the company passed $5,000 to $8,000 to Council Member A for a March vote.
There is no allegation that Judiciary Chairman, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., had any role in the alleged corruption in Detroit. The City Council in Detroit has been the focus of numerous scandals and investigations in recent years.
Monica Conyers is facing reelection and used an appearance at a church to call for prayers: “All these things that are going on right now … I believe in my heart that God will deliver me from them. And so I say to all of the people out there: If you’re not praying for me, then you’re just adding to the problem.”
My favorite quote from this appearance came from Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit & Vicinity, which met with Conyers in determining whether to support her for reelection. Rev. Oscar King, the group’s president, indicated that the group was not influenced by such alleged corruption: “As of this morning, the lady has not been indicted. We’re not passing judgment at this point because we’re being pastoral in the political process.”
I have long been a critic of religious leaders getting involved in politics. While I do not know what it means to be “pastoral in the political process,” I doubt I would like it.
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