Former City Consultant Charged in Scheme Defends $1 Million in Payments
Dec. 09, 1990
DETROIT (AP) _ Kenneth Weiner, Detroit's former deputy civilian police chief, testified that the city paid him about $1 million from its secret police fund for security consulting and trips to Europe on city business.
Weiner, 44, is one of three defendants on trial in U.S. District Court on charges of organizing a precious metals scheme that bilked more than 100 wealthy investors out of millions of dollars.
The one-time confidant of Mayor Coleman Young who is now accused of being a con man testified Friday that his work as a city consultant took him to ''New York, California, Washington, Europe, Geneva, London.''
The mayor's ties to Weiner go back to when Weiner was deputy civilian police chief between 1978 and 1986, when he resigned amid an investigation into the precious metals scandal.
Testifying for a second day in his own defense, Weiner said the payments between 1986 and 1988 averaged $333,333 a year and were legitimate, covering ''all my expenses, travel, time, equipment, any security equipment, any project, anywhere I had to go.''
Also on trial are Weiner associates Alvin Gendelman and Steven Lewin.
Weiner, who was arrested a year ago and is being held without bond, is also the subject of a federal grand jury probe into $2.4 million missing from the secret police fund.
While being paid by the city, Weiner also was working undercover with the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service, authorities say. The federal agencies were investigating allegations of corruption in Young's administration.
Weiner testified that the FBI recruited him in 1986 to look into claims Young was peddling influence to Japanese interests, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.
Weiner is the only member of the Young administration charged as a result of that probe. Young has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Weiner also worked for Young's private consulting firm, Detroit Technologies and Investment Inc., dealing in gold and diamonds for the mayor. Weiner said Young began investing with him in 1981.
An ongoing federal grand jury probe of alleged corruption and mishandling of funds at the Police Department has subpoenaed financial records of Young's consulting company, but the government hasn't disclosed whether Young is targeted in that investigation, the mayor's attorney has said.
Weiner said his role in the FBI investigation was complicated by federal agents, whom he claimed were often uncooperative. Agents once refused to give him 400 ounces of gold he was due to return to Young that day, he said.
Weiner said FBI agents coached him on how to draw information from the mayor.
''I was to tape certain conversations, at their direction,'' Weiner testified. ''In each meeting they wanted facts discussed and if we discussed gold, they wanted it discussed in a certain way.''
He said he taped about 75 conversations while working with the FBI and IRS.