Kwame Kilpatrick Federal Corruption Trial Week In Review
Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is charged with fraud, bribery, tax crimes and racketeering conspiracy. His father, Bernard Kilpatrick and Detroit contractor Bobby Ferguson are also on trial in Detroit federal court.
Trial Update By Vickie Thomas
Former Cobo Hall contractor Karl Kado kicked off the week of testimony. A few months after Kwame Kilpatrick took office, Kado says the mayor called and said, “Karl, give me $10,000.” Kado told Kilpatrick it would take a couple of days. He came up with the cash. Derrick Miller, an executive in the administration, went to pick it up at Cobo. Kado said it was in a brown paper bag. Under cross examination it was revealed that the money was in an envelope.
Kado said he went to the mayor’s office three or four times and handed Kilpatrick $5,000 or $10,000 on each occasion. Kado testified that the mayor even picked up the money at Cobo. They were mostly large bills, 100’s and 50’s. Kado says he made several cash payments to Bernard Kilpatrick and gave Derrick Miller $10,000 for a trip to Europe. He says he had no choice if he wanted to keep his contracts at Cobo.
Kado also owned a building at 547 East Jefferson. Bernard Kilpatrick had his office there and paid rent for the first month or so. Then he never paid and moved out in 2010 when Kwame left office. On cross examination, several rent checks paid by Bernard Kilpatrick were introduced into evidence.
In June of 2005 Kado said he made a final, unrequested payment to Bernard Kilpatrick of $100,000. Kado said, “Take it for Kwame’s reelection and I’m done. You will never see me again in your life.” After receiving a letter from the FBI informing Kado that he was the target of an investigation, the contractor began cooperating with agents and wore recording devices. In one recording, Kilpatrick acknowledges receipt of the $100,000.
Under cross examination by Bernard Kilpatrick’s attorney John Shay, Kado admits there were never any threats of not getting or canceling contracts if he didn’t make payments. And Kwame Kilpatrick’s attorney Jim Thomas quizzed Kado about his own statements to federal agents expressing concern that he may have dementia.
The government called FBI Agent Robert Beckman to the stand. Through a series of text messages, he shows that Bernard Kilpatrick worked behind the scenes to steer a contract to Kado. The agent also acknowledged that Kado expressed concern about suffering from dementia in two of their meetings.
Another federal agent about $605,000 in cash Bernard Kilpatrick deposited in his bank account over a seven year period. Checks totaling $134,000 were deposited from Archie Clark’s company. He partnered with Kado on one of the Cobo contracts and was a close friend of Bernard Kilpatrick.
Business Mogul Anthony Soave was next to take the stand. He owned Inland Waters which did business with the city’s water department. Soave provided sometimes colorful testimony over the course of three days on the stand.
Soave says when a $50-million-dollar contract had been awarded to Inland but was being held up he went to see Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. He told Soave he had the wrong (minority) subcontractor on the job. Soave asked him who was the right one and he said it was Bobby Ferguson. Tony didn’t know him and he told Kilpatrick he would make the change.
Soave says he had Charlie Williams as the minority contractor because he was mentoring his company. But, Soave agreed to make the change because he wanted the job. It was a big deal for Inland. He was worried about losing the contract. A lot of people would have been out of work. Tony says Williams was disappointed so he gave Charlie $200,000. “I was feeling bad for him and wanted to help him out.”
Soave also testified about providing $400,000 in flights to Kwame Kilpatrick and company on one of three private jets owned by business tycoon. On cross examination, Soave admitted that he invited Kilpatrick on some trips, like a shopping spree in New York and to visit Naples to see one of Soave’s housing developments. The two talked about such housing on Detroit’s east riverfront.
Kathleen McCann followed her former boss on the witness stand. She worked for Soave Enterprises for over 20 years. She provided more detail about interactions with Bobby Ferguson who was described as, “A handful.” In meetings, McCann says Ferguson demanded more money on the contract and reminded everyone that he was the only reason Inland was awarded the contract. Concerned about want was going on, she told employees to document their conversations with Ferguson.
UP NEXT: McCann resumes her testimony.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“I’m like a hostage in Iran…I’m a hostage at Cobo.” Former Cobo Hall contractor Karl Kado on allegedly paying cash bribes.
“This seat is warm.” Business Tycoon Anthony Soave as he took the witness stand.