Thursday, March 21, 2013
Charity Bribery Just Did Not Work
by Gary Snyder
Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
According to an indictment, attorney Ronald Zajac raised more than $70,000 for the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, a nonprofit that was raided by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick for personal adventures. He raised the money to curry favor with the Mayor.
It worked until he got caught.
Zajac was charged with overseeing Detroit's billion-dollar pension funds. He had a $400,000 salary. That was not enough. He also became a thief accepting perks galore from businessmen seeking favors, including a $5,000 casino chip, a Christmas basket stuffed with cash and trips for him and his mistress. His bribes and kickbacks schemes cost two pension funds $84 million in losses.
Zajac forced people with business before the pension funds to spend thousands of dollars to entertain trustees, and once forced one trustee to pay more than $10,000 for limousines for other trustees during a trip to New York City, the indictment said.
He bribed three trustees with thousands of dollars in cash at birthday parties in return for the trustees to vote to give Zajac a substantial raise, bringing his salary to more than $400,000.
The board is reviewing the appropriateness of Mr. Zajac continuing to serve as the General Retirement System’s attorney. The Board of Trustees of the Police and Fire Retirement System fired Zajac as general counsel. (Free Press)