DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A businessman who claims he was extorted to protect his contracts at a Detroit convention center says he wasn’t directly threatened by the father of then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Karl Kado was put under a rigorous cross-examination Tuesday, a day after telling jurors that he passed cash to Kwame and Bernard Kilpatrick.
Defense lawyer John Shea referred to secretly recorded conversations that show Kado talking to Bernard Kilpatrick about getting legitimate overdue payments from Detroit for work at Cobo Center. Bernard Kilpatrick believed he could cut through red tape and get the money.
Kado had a store and held other contracts at Cobo. He says he paid $200,000 to $300,000 to Bernard Kilpatrick to protect his work there, although he later conceded that he’s not certain about the total amount.
Kado is a crucial witness at the corruption trial, which began in September. After several days of testimony about the technical nitty-gritty of water department contracts, the evidence is returning to payoffs – loads of cash stashed in brown bags or simply pulled from a suit coat.
“If you don’t pay money, you are going to risk everything,” Kado told jurors. “It’s like extortion.”
Kwame Kilpatrick was elected mayor in 2001. He resigned in 2008 and pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by lying in a civil case about having sex with an aide. He subsequently served 14 months in prison for violating his probation in that case.
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