Who is Victor Mercado? How did he break the law?

Mercado, Detroit's former water boss, pleads guilty to corruption in Kwame Kilpatrick's federal trial

Author: Karen Drew, Local 4 Defender, Anchor, @KDrewLocal4, kdrew@wdiv.com
Published On: Nov 07 2012 12:59:28 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 05 2012 06:32:45 PM EST
Victor Mercado former Detroit water boss
DETROIT -

Victor Mercado former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado was the highest-ranking Hispanic city official in Detroit's history when former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick named him director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Federal prosecutors say Mercado was involved with Kilpatrick's alleged pay-to-play scheme which looted millions of dollars from the water system.

Mercado came from a Puerto Rican utility in 2002. He was head of Detroit's water department for six years. He earned $240,000 each year which made him one of the highest-paid public employees in the state of Michigan.

Watch: How does Mercado's guilty plea change Kilpatrick trial?

"I don't believe over a six-year period with him being in office and me being in office we have had a better period of history of the management of the Water Department, in the history of the city of Detroit," Kilpatrick had said.

Federal prosecutors disagree with the former mayor. Prosecutors say Mercado helped Kilpatrick and his associates rig millions of dollars in city contracts. They say Mercado did not keep any money and he was following orders.

Jurors may have sympathy with him.

However, in charging Mercado with racketeering, prosecutors did not have to prove Mercado benefited. They only had to prove he was part of a criminal enterprise aimed at extorting money. On Monday, it was conspiracy that Mercado pleaded guilty to.

After Mercado's job was mentioned in the indictment against him, Bobby Ferguson, Bernard Kilpatrick and Kwame Kilpatrick, he was fired from a similar utility job in Texas. Mercado is suing that employer.

Victor Mercado former Detroit water boss 1
-- Victor Mercado