Former Detroit Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Bribery Scheme Related to Sale of Camp Brighton
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 04, 2009|
Jerry M. Rivers, 39, of Taylor, and a former Detroit Police Officer, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Gerald Rosen to participating in a bribery scheme, United States Attorney Terrence Berg announced today. Berg was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent In Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the charges in the Information and the facts stipulated to in the written plea agreement, in 2006 and 2007, in exchange for $50,000, Rivers assisted a non-profit entity in purchasing property from the City of Detroit—namely, a 160-acre campsite in Livingston County called Camp Brighton/Detroit Recreation Camp. Two city officials (described in court documents as City Officials C & D) assisted Rivers, using their positions in the city administration to advocate that the administration and city council approve the sale of Camp Brighton to the non-profit entity for $3.5 million. On November 9, 2006, the City’s Planning & Development Department recommended that the City Council approve the sale. On June 27, 2007, the City Council, by a five-to-four vote, approved the sale. After the sale closed, the $50,000 payment from the non-profit entity was divided roughly as follows: $20,000 to Rivers; $20,000 to City Official C; and $10,000 to City Official D. They recruited a middleman to accept the money from the Non-Profit Entity because they did not want the money to go directly to themselves.
United States Attorney Berg said, “This Office is committed to aggressively pursuing corruption by public officials. It is a fundamental violation of the public trust for an official to accept payments or bribes in exchange for carrying out an official act, as the defendant admitted doing in today’s guilty plea. I commend the continuing hard work of the FBI and the prosecutors in this Office that has resulted in today’s guilty plea.”
Special Agent in Charge Arena stated, "The Detroit employees acted in their own best interests which was personal gain. Detroit has a right to expect honest services from both city employees and elected officials. This investigation further demonstrates the FBI's commitment in investigating public corruption and bringing those who betray the public's trust to justice."
Rivers was released on bond pending his sentencing. He was referred to the United States Probation Department for a presentence investigation. Rivers faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to five years in prison or a fine of $250,000, or both.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, the parties agreed that the sentence would not exceed 37 months in prison. The agreement also provided that Mr. Rivers would cooperate in the government’s continuing investigation of others, and that he could be eligible to receive a sentence reduction if his cooperation is deemed to be substantial assistance under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The investigation of this case is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Chutkow and R. Michael Bullotta.