Home Detroit Press Releases 2010 Former Mayoral Assistant Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery

Former Mayoral Assistant Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 04, 2010
  • Eastern District of Michigan (313) 226-9100

Marc Andre Cunningham, former executive assistant to the mayor of Detroit during the Kilpatrick administration, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit bribery, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent In Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Cunningham, 41, of Detroit, faces a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Under a plea agreement with the government, Cunningham's sentencing range is 30 to 37 months in prison, with a chance for a lessor sentence based on Cunningham's truthful cooperation.

In 2006, Cunningham was working as a consultant with a venture capital firm which he helped to obtain $30 million in investments from the City of Detroit General Retirement System and Police and Fire pension funds. Later in 2006, Cunningham became the executive assistant to former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. At the request of a City of Detroit official, Cunningham agreed to reward that official for supporting the pension fund deal by paying the official's relative a portion of the $300,000 commission that Cunningham received from the venture capital firm. In addition to rewarding the official, Cunningham agreed to the payments to ensure favorable treatment by the official in any future business that Cunningham might have with the City of Detroit.

Between October and June, 2007, shortly after Cunningham received his periodic commission payments from the venture capital firm, he gave a portion of that money (in amounts between $4,000 to $6,000), in cash, to the relative, as directed by the official. The total amount of cash Cunningham paid to the relative was at least $15,000.

United States Attorney McQuade said: "This guilty plea represents another important step in the dismantling of municipal corruption in the City of Detroit and serves as a warning to those who hold public office of the consequences of abusing the trust of the people."

"This plea is a result of the continuing investigation into the corruption and fraud that has long plagued the City of Detroit," said Special Agent in Charge Arena. "The FBI, with our law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate and expose the individuals who participate in these schemes involving blatant greed."

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Michael Bullotta and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark D. Chutkow.

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