A Naples News article published 4.16.06, “Money a motivator in I-75 earmark?” indicates Fried helped Aronoff with a Florida fundraiser for Alaska’s Rep. Don Young that has now come into question as part of an alleged pay-to-play scandal involving a $10 million earmark for a Florida interchange.
According to the Michigan Bar Association member directory, Sarah Deson-Fried, Harold Fried’s wife, in 2003 she joined the Troy, MI law offices of Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone PLC as senior counselor in its real estate group; however, she’s no longer featured on the Miller Canfield Web site. Deson-Fried was a gubernatorial appointee to the Michigan Humanities Council Board of Directors and was elected its treasurer in 2005; however she resigned the post in 2007 with two years left on the term. She is also affiliated with HSL Investments, LLC.
The Michigan Humanities Council Web site lists the following as its largest donors for FY 2005:
- Friends in FY 2005
- Sage ($1,000 and over)
Daniel & Nancy Aranoff, Bloomfield Hills
Sarah Deson-Fried, Birmingham
Fried Sapersten Abbat PC
Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone
Marilyn Williamson, West Bloomfield
A review of political contributions using OpenSecrets.org, suggests that when clients like Aronoff and Ilitch called upon Harold Fried to support political candidates they were trying to influence, Fried and his wife jumped on the bandwagon.
Between 1999 and 2005, the Frieds frequently made political contributions which mirrored contributions made by Daniel Aronoff and/or his wife Nancy. The beneficiaries of their political generosity included Reps. Don Young, Katherine Harris, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Thad McCotter among others.
Records available via CSPAN indicate Sarah Deson-Fried participated in a 3.11.03 fundraiser hosted by Detroit’s Ilitch family and attended by their friends, associates and a stable of their attorneys who raied money for Rep. Candice Miller. The fundraiser was held less than a month after Rep. Miller had introduced her first bill in Congress, H.R. 831, intended to pave the way for a Port Huron casino backed by Ilitch and friends. That bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Don Young.
Fried’s roster of high-profile clients who call when they’re in trouble includes:
- *Sergei Fedorov, at the time one Mike Ilitch’s star skaters on the Detroit Red Wings, was arrested in 2001 after failing a field sobriety test and charged with driving while impaired. (Click-On Detroit)
*Bob Probert, another Red Wings player who was arrested in 1989 for smuggling cocaine and subsequently served three months in federal prison. (St. Petersburg Times)
*Nellie Varner, a former University of Michigan Regent who along with Herb Strather founded Atwater Entertainment Associates (MotorCity Casino), faced allegations of possible involvement in the 1998 murder of her daughter's ex-boyfriend. (Michigan Daily)
*Ronald Ilitch, the eldest son of Mike and Marian Ilitch, who was arrested on domestic violence charges in 2004 involving a girlfriend, Lisa Wood. Ilitch ultimately plead guilty to the charges. (Detroit Free Press)
*Fried also represented Ron Ilitch in a 1997 divorce proceeding. (Oakland Co. Courts)
*Michael Ilitch, Jr., another of Mike & Marian Ilitch's sons, has reportedly struggled with addictions during his life. Fried attempted to get Ilitch’s previously suspended Michigan drivers license re-instated during court proceedings in 2000. (Oakland Co. Courts)
- In 1996, an Administrator representing Michigan’s Attorney Grievance Commission alleged that Fried and several colleagues participated in a scheme to counsel clients, who were dissatisfied with the judge assigned to their case, to retain an attorney related to that judge as co-counsel, solely for the purpose of removing the judge from their case. The Administrator alleged that Fried and the others received compensation based on their ability to get a client’s case transferred to another judge. (Grievance)
During a 2006 trial on wrongful discharge claims brought by a former Clerk of the 48th District Court (Bloomfield Township, MI), the Detroit Free Press reported that jurors heard testimony which alleged: “Harold Fried, an Oakland County defense attorney who has raised tens of thousands of dollars for myriad judicial candidates, routinely distributed tickets to prized sports events in an effort to curry favor with court employees.” (Detroit Free Press)