Testimony during Day 3 of the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial followed form with colorful figures, damning testimony and money.
The first witness Tuesday, Kilpatrick’s college friend, Mahlon Clift, is a jeweler from Chicago whose customers include athletes and entertainers, including singer R. Kelly. He testified contractor Bobby Ferguson gave him a sack filled with $90,000 cash. His marching orders: Give it to “black” (yet a new nickname for Kwame Kilpatrick).
A second witness, Detroit Police Officer Michael Fountain, testified about being threatened by Ferguson to drop dumping charges. The contractor threatened Fountain’s wife and kids, according to testimony.
There’s no testimony Wednesday due to the religious holiday Yom Kippur. We’ll be back at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Live Updates EndedPlease read below for an archived view of this event.
One of the enduring mysteries from Kwame Kilpatrick’s past is the identity of Carmen Slowski. She’s the woman Kilpatrick allegedly accompanied to a North Carolina spa in 2008 in the wake of the text-message scandal involving his mistress, former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.
We still don’t know who she is, but federal prosecutors kissed on the subject when they flashed a summary of checks, including one for $746 for his getaway at the Grove Park Inn.
In January 2008, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) reported that Kilpatrick visited the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa in the western mountains of North Carolina with a woman who wasn’t his wife.
According to the Channel 7 report, the woman identified herself as Carmen Slowski at the spa. The name “Slowski” is similar to the name of the Slowskys, husband and wife turtles featured in several Comcast Cable commercials.
Kilpatrick soaked in a luxury resort hot tub and got a massage with Slowski, according to the televised report, which endures on YouTube. The trip was paid for by organizers of a prayer breakfast where Kilpatrick was a keynote speaker.
A Detroit Police officer allegedly threatened by contractor Bobby Ferguson was quizzed why he didn’t complain after an incident involving two of Kwame Kilpatrick’s bodyguards.
“You’re carrying a gun, you’re in a building with a bunch of officers…security guards, a private security company and you’re saying this man threatened you and your kids, is that right?” Ferguson lawyer Gerald Evelyn asked.
Fountain said he knew one of the officers, Kilpatrick bodyguard Mike Martin.
“You didn’t say ‘Mike, how can you let this happen?’” Evelyn asked.
“I remember we were looking at each other like ‘what’s going on?’” Fountain testified.
“In the last year or so, you were asked to identify those officers. You picked out the wrong guy, didn’t you?” Ferguson lawyer Gerald Evelyn asked.
“I don’t know that,” Fountain answered.
One of the tickets was issued Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks in New York City and elsewhere.
Evelyn asked how Fountain could have had time to write an environmental ticket on a day when Detroit police officers were assigned to protect the city in case of a terrorist attack.
“I was an environmental officer, and we were still allowed to write tickets,” Fountain said.
Evelyn asked him to account for his duties on Sept. 11, 2001. Fountain said he could only recall part of the day.
“You’re a Detroit police officer and you can’t remember what you did on 9/11?” Evelyn asked.
A Detroit police officer allegedly threatened by contractor Bobby Ferguson just took the stand and is expected to testify about a run-in referenced in the City Hall corruption indictment.
Ferguson is accused of teaming with Kilpatrick’s bodyguards to intimidate an officer into dropping illegal dumping charges against his company, Ferguson Enterprises.
Michael Fountain testified today he issued illegal dumping ticket to Ferguson in October 2001 related to property the contractor owned on Military in Detroit.
In November 2001, the officer, identified in the indictment as “Officer A,” attended Ferguson’s arraignment on the misdemeanor charge in 36th District Court.
Ferguson, a close friend of the mayor, approached the officer.
“He said ‘I’m Bobby Ferguson, do you know who I am?’” Fountain testified today. “He was quite confident. He had a Mr. Kilpatrick button on.”
“A campaign button?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked.
“Yes,” Fountain said.
In February 2002, Ferguson showed up in court for the trial with two Kilpatrick bodyguards, according to the indictment.
One of the bodyguards allegedly told the officer it would be in his best interest to drop the charge. From the indictment:
“Shortly thereafter, Officer A, fearing for the safety of his family, caused the ordinance violations against Ferguson Enterprises to be dismissed.”
One of the bodyguards was Mike Martin, a close friend of the mayor’s.
Ferguson delivered a threat, Fountain testified.
“He said it would behoove me to cancel the tickets,” Fountain said. “He said my family wouldn’t like all this going on because something could happen. At that point, I had a wife and children. They were teenagers and one was a baby.”
“Did the fact Mr. Ferguson was with two officers play into your fear?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta said.
“Yeah, to a degree,” Fountain said. “Here it is, I’m sitting here talking to a business owner, and he’s got the protection of two police officers. It definitely weighed against me.
“So I canceled the tickets. I told the judge I made a mistake.”
“Did you make a mistake?” Bullotta asked.
“No,” Fountain said.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer is trying to discredit a government witness who said he gave the former mayor $90,000 in cash from contractor Bobby Ferguson.
Attorney James C. Thomas asked Mahlon Clift if he counted drug dealers among his customers as a jeweler.
“I don’t know what they did for a living,” Clift said. “When you go into McDonald’s, they don’t ask you what you do for a living.”
Clift, who is identified in the indictment as “Courier A,” said his clients included singer R. Kelly and athletes.
“You didn’t want to know because you wanted their $20,000, or $50,000 or $100,000,” Thomas said.
“I wasn’t nosy,” Clift said. “I wanted their business.”
Thomas asked Clift if he ever saw Ferguson give Kilpatrick money.
“Never, never happened,” Clift said.
“Do you know if Kwame Kilpatrick had large amounts of cash on him?” Thomas asked.
“No, he had balled up $20s, it got on my nerves,” Clift said. “I don’t like money balled up.”
Clift said Tuesday he sold the $22,000 Rolex watch members of Kilpatrick’s staff gave the mayor as a birthday present.
Clift also sold the mayor a $15,000 bracelet on an installment plan. He recalls it took Kilpatrick a long time to pay.
One of Kwame Kilpatrick’s best friends, who allegedly received $90,000 from contractor Bobby Ferguson, agreed Tuesday there is no proof he was at the Atheneum Suite Hotel in Detroit when prosecutors say the hand-off happened.
Ferguson lawyer Michael Rataj handed Mahlon Clift a stack of hotel receipts showing when the Chicago native stayed at the Atheneum Suite Hotel between 2004 and 2008.
Clift stayed at the hotel in June 2008 but said that was before Ferguson allegedly gave him $90,000 to give to Kilpatrick.
“Sir, would you agree there’s not one shred of evidence that suggests you were staying at the Atheneum between July, August or September of 2008, isn’t that right?” Rataj asked.
Bobby Ferguson’s lawyer is grilling Kwame Kilpatrick’s pal about the alleged bag filled with $90,00 later given to the mayor.
“He never told you that he wants you to give this to Mr. Kilpatrick, did he?” Ferguson lawyer Michael Rataj asked Mahlon Clift.
“No, he didn’t,” said Clift, who is identified in the indictment as “Courier A.”
“Or give it to Mr. Kilpatrick today?” Rataj asked.
“No,” Clift answered.
“He didn’t give you any other instructions than to hold it, did he?” Rataj asked.
“Yes sir,” Clift said.
Rataj is asking Clift about how he flew home to Chicago with $90,000 stuffed in his gym shorts.
“How many stacks did you stick in your right pocket?” Rataj asked.
“That’s a great question sir,” Clift answered.
He couldn’t recall.
“I bet you looked like the Michelin Man,” Rataj said.
Rataj wants to know how Clift got through airport security.
“Are you trying to tell us with all money stuffed in pockets you weren’t bulging out?” Rataj asked.
“I felt the bulge but the bulge wasn’t visible,” Clift answered.
One of Kwame Kilpatrick’s best friends testified Tuesday that contractor Bobby Ferguson handed him a bag filled with $90,000 to give the mayor in fall 2008.
The exchange happened at the Atheneum Suite Hotel where Ferguson gave Mahlon Clift the bag.
(Ferguson) basically said hold onto this for black,” Clift testified.
“Who’s black?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta said.
“I assumed it was Kwame,” Clift said.
According to the indictment and previous testimony, Clift stashed the money in a vacuum cleaner before giving it to Kilpatrick in chunks — in Detroit and Dallas, Texas.
Clift gave Kilpatrick $50,000 at the Hilton Hotel in Southlake, Texas in mid-September 2008 and $40,000 at the Park Shelton apartments in Detroit in late October 2008. That’s where Kilpatrick and his family lived after resigning and moving out of the Manoogian Mansion.
Clift, who helped introduce Kilpatrick to his future wife, Carlita, worked for a jeweler and was involved in securing musicians, rap stars and high-profile people as clients.
The Chicago resident signed an immunity agreement with the government.
“Did you do any business with drug dealers?” Ferguson lawyer Michael Rataj asked Clift.
“Could have been,” he answered.
Clift called Kilpatrick one of his best friends. The ex-mayor served as a groomsman in Clift’s wedding.
Clift testified about taking private jet flights to an R. Kelly concert in Houston and Bermuda with Kilpatrick and other insiders.
Clift, a former college classmate of the ex-mayor’s at Florida A&M University who considers Kilpatrick a brother, testified before a federal grand jury in September 2010. He was asked how he felt about the experience.
“Same way I feel now,” Clift said. “Uncomfortable and I didn’t want to be part of it.”
Rough day for poor multimillionaire Grosse Pointe Farms businessman Tony Soave on Monday. First, thieves steal an armored truck with $2 million inside that was fixing an ATM owned by a Soave-related firm. Then, he gets reputation-jacked during the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial.
Kilpatrick’s former bodyguards fingered Soave as the businessman who allegedly let Kilpatrick and his posse fly for free on his private jet to Bermuda and New York City. Testimony also showed Soave lavished the former mayor and his mistress Christine Beatty with a luxurious NYC shopping spree.
Kilpatrick’s co-defendant, former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado, earlier said Soave bribed the mayor $10,000 worth of courtside Detroit Pistons tickets and helped Ms. Do You Know Who the —- I Am lease a Land Rover.
Soave, whose company got millions in water department work and hired one of contractor Bobby Ferguson’s firms as a subcontractor, says he was extorted.
A Soave Enterprises spokesman issued the following release Monday:
“At approximately 7:15 a.m. this morning an armored vehicle servicing Strong Steel Products was robbed at gunpoint. Fortunately no one was injured in this incident and law enforcement were quick to arrive on the scene. We would like to thank the Detroit Police Department and FBI for their rapid response, and we are working with them to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. In an effort to maintain the integrity of the ongoing investigation, we will not be making any further statements at this time. Any further questions will be referred to the Detroit Police Department.”