News and Press Releases


April 15, 2011

John Clark, the former Chief of Staff to the then Detroit City Council President Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., pleaded guilty today to lying to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) during their corruption investigation relating to the Synagro Technologies, Inc. (“Synagro”) sludge hauling contract United States Attorney Barbara McQuade announced today.

During a hearing this afternoon before United States District Judge Avern Cohn, Clark admitted that he lied to FBI agents when he told them that he had returned $3,000 in cash that he had accepted from Synagro executive James Rosendall. During the plea hearing, Clark also admitted that he kept the $3,000 that he had accepted from Rosendall. Pursuant to the terms of the parties’ plea agreement, at the time of the sentencing hearing in this case, Judge Cohn will decide if Clark also lied to the FBI agents when he denied accepting the $3,000 from Rosendall as a reward for his efforts as Chief of Staff to get the Synagro contract onto the City Council agenda for a vote in November 2007. If Judge Cohn decides that Clark lied about being rewarded with cash for his official acts, then Clark would face the possibility of a longer prison sentence because Clark corruptly accepted an illegal gratuity in exchange for his acts as a public official.

Based on his guilty plea and felony conviction for lying to the FBI during the corruption investigation, Clark is facing a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena.

United States Attorney McQuade said, "Obstruction of justice goes to the very heart of our legal system. Lying to federal agents prolongs our efforts to bring people to justice in public corruption and other kinds of cases. We hope that prosecuting those who obstruct justice will deter others from lying."
Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena stated, "This indictment is part of the continuing investigation into the corruption which has plagued Detroit. Public corruption is a top criminal priority of the FBI and will not be tolerated. This investigation demonstrates the FBI's commitment in investigating public corruption and brings those who betray the public's trust to justice."

The case was investigated by agents of the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David A. Gardey.

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