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Detroit - Mitt's presidential ambitions may meet their Waterloo in the Big Mitten and if they do, Mitt might have Bob to thank.
That's because Romney and Bob Ficano, the Wayne County executive who is caught in the crosshairs of an FBI corruption probe, have a certain friend in common -- John Rakolta. Rakolta is a prominent Detroit developer whose company, Walbridge, won a $300 million contract last summer to build the new Wayne County jail.
In turns out Rakolta is Romney's co-national finance chairman.
The Rakolta connection couldn't come at a worse time for Romney, whose commanding lead in his boyhood state of Michigan has shriveled to a statistical tie with Rick Santorum.
The feds are investigating a pattern of pay-to-play in the jail deal and have subpoenaed the county's records in connection with Walbridge. As it happens, Rakolta has been a contributor to the Democrat Ficano, a member of Ficano's finance host committee, and a $25,000 contributor to a non-profit business group know as Edge Opportunities that paid Turkia Mullin to lobby the county development czar.
Members of a Wayne County economic development nonprofit that gave Turkia Mullin a $75,000 bonus last year voted this week to ban similar payouts.
The board members of Edge Opportunities, also known as the Wayne County Business Development Corp., met on Monday and made the move, according to a press release from its new chairman, Jeffrey Collins, the incoming deputy county executive.
Collins was elected the new chairman Monday and Ray Byers, the incoming county economic development chief, was elected the new executive director. County Executive Robert Ficano brought the two on staff two weeks ago after announcing the departure of Deputy County Executive Azzam Elder.