Jurors learned about love nests feathered by donors to Kwame Kilpatrick’s charity, the ex-mayor’s yoga skills, college tuition for his relatives and found out acting skills run deep in hizzoner’s family Wednesday during the City Hall corruption case.
The parade of entertaining figures continues Thursday, as prosecutors continue to focus on Kilpatrick Civic Fund expenses.
Here’s a partial list of Civic Fund expenses flagged by prosecutors in the indictment:
Yoga lessons for KWAME KILPATRICK
Golf-related expenses for KWAME KILPATRICK and others, including lessons, a set of Nike golf clubs and a personalized golf bag
Summer camp for KWAME KILPATRICK’s children
A video documenting KWAME KILPATRICK’s family history
Lease of a personal residence for KWAME KILPATRICK and his family
Lease of a Cadillac DeVille for KWAME KILPATRICK
Live Updates EndedPlease read below for an archived view of this event.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s spokesman Matt Allen testified Wednesday about a public records request filed by the ex-mayor’s nemesis, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) reporter Steve Wilson, in spring 2007.
Wilson wanted to know if Kilpatrick charged the city for expenses related to a stay at a California resort. Earlier testimony showed the Kilpatrick Civic Fund spent more than $8,600 for a trip to the La Costa Resort and Spa for Kilpatrick’s family in August 2006.
Allen looked into the request and learned the mayor’s city-issued credit card was used to book the room.
“I kept telling (Wilson) repeatedly that the mayor paid for his family,” Allen testified.
Prosecutors showed a clip of Allen talking to a Channel 7 reporter.
“For the family trip, the mayor paid for that trip,” Allen said on the clip.
Kilpatrick’s lawyer earlier said the trip was a mix of business and pleasure and that the mayor met with donors to his charity.
Prosecutors allege the $8,600 expense was an illegal expense for a charity that was supposed to benefit the community.
After watching the Channel 7 report, Allen was surprised to learn the Civic Fund paid for the stay.
“I felt like I had my pants down,” Allen testified.
He went to talk to Kilpatrick and Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.
“I said what’s the deal?” Allen testified.
Beatty and Kilpatrick were angry about the news report. Allen was later told the trip was for fundraising purposes.
Allen said he learned someone obtained a copy of the mayor’s resort stay by posing as Kilpatrick.
“I made the assumption it was Steve Wilson,” Allen testified.
Kilpatrick filed a police report in California over the disclosure of his bills, Allen testified.
To counter the negative publicity over the California trip, Allen suggested enlisting Civic Fund donors who met with Kilpatrick and holding a news conference.
“I said why not say here’s some high net-worth, powerful, credible people that met with you and gave you money for the Civic Fund,” Allen testified.
The idea went nowhere, Allen said.
“(Kilpatrick) didn’t like that idea,” Allen testified.
The national mayor’s group referenced by Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer as a possible explanation for a 2002 trip taken by the ex-mayor and his mistress doesn’t appear to exist.
Attorney James C. Thomas suggested the real purpose of a resort stay in Vail, Colo., was for Kilpatrick to attend a meeting of the National Council of Mayors about 97 miles away in Denver.
There does not appear to be such a group.
There is, however, a U.S. Conference of Mayors based in Washington, D.C. The group lists its annual and winter meetings for each year going back to 1998.
The group held its annual meeting in Denver, but in 2003, according to the group’s website.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer attacked high-priced resort stays paid for by the ex-mayor’s charity and enjoyed by Kilpatrick, his mistress, wife and children.
“No one says he has to go to a Holiday Inn,” attorney James C. Thomas said.
The Kilpatrick Civic Fund spent more than $8,600 for a trip to a California resort for Kilpatrick’s family in August 2006. The charity paid for a week-long stay at the $625-a-night La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.
Thomas suggested Kilpatrick met with Civic Fund donors while staying at the luxury resort. Prosecutors allege the expense violated IRS tax laws because Kilpatrick received a personal benefit paid for by a nonprofit charity established to help children and the community.
Thomas asked IRS Special Agent Ron Sauer about the hotel and whether it was one of the country’s most luxurious.
“That’s not where I would be staying,” the agent said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta challenged claims Kilpatrick raised funds for the charity while staying at the resort.
“Did you come across any evidence…that would indicate Kwame Kilpatrick or anyone did any fundraising activities while at the La Costa Resort & Spa?” Bullotta asked the agent.
“I’m not aware of any fundraising activities,” the agent said.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer suggested a spa trip the ex-mayor took to Colorado with his mistress, Christine Beatty, was for business, not pleasure.
The testimony revolved around the Kilpatrick Civic Fund writing a $1,009 check for the getaway at the Sonnenalp Resort.
“Suffice to say you never looked if he went anywhere else other than the hotel getting a rubdown?” lawyer James C. Thomas asked IRS Special Agent Ron Sauer.
Thomas asked if Kilpatrick and Beatty had another reason for visiting the resort.
“It appeared to be a personal trip,” Sauer said, citing room records and bills for personal expenses, including manicures, pedicures and a “gentleman’s facial.”
“Do you know whether there was another purpose?” Thomas asked the agent.
“Do I know? I don’t know if there was another purpose,” Sauer said.
Thomas said the National Council of Mayors was meeting in nearby Denver the same time in November 2002.
Sauer: “I’m not aware of those meetings.”
Thomas: “Because you didn’t look.”
Sauer: “I’m not aware of those meetings.”
Thomas: “Did you pull the receipt for the lease of the automobile to see if there was mileage sufficient to go from Vail to Denver?”
Sauer: “I don’t have those records.”
Thomas: “Did you pull those records?”
Thomas: “Did you think to pull those records?”
Sauer: “We did not pull those records.”
Kilpatrick’s lawyer also raised doubt about what prosecutors said is a $5,000 check from the charity for preschool tuition for the mayor’s children at A Step Ahead school in 2002.
Thomas said the mayor’s children did not attend the school in 2002.
“Do you think it might be important to determine if there was a personal purpose here or if it was a gift from the Civic Fund to an educational institution they had respect for?”
“I believe it was a preschool and the Kilpatrick children went there,” Sauer said.
There was no specific rule barring Kwame Kilpatrick’s charity from paying for his sister’s tuition at New York University, the former mayor’s lawyer said Wednesday.
Under cross-examination, IRS Special Agent Ron Sauer said there was nothing in the Kilpatrick Civic Fund’s articles of incorporation preventing the charity from giving the ex-mayor’s sister Diarra Kilpatrick (an actress shown in the above video) a tuition check.
“A scholarship would be considered charitable?” Thomas asked the agent.
“Perhaps,” the agent said.
Prosecutors allege the tuition expense, and other personal benefits received by Kwame Kilpatrick, violated IRS tax laws and defrauded donors to the charity. The charity was set up to benefit Detroit children and the community.
The Civic Fund also spent $1,000 paying tuition for a Kilpatrick cousin at Tennessee State University.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s affair with his Chief of Staff Christine Beatty was not a crime, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Attorney James C. Thomas started his cross examination of an IRS agent by making clear for jurors that the corruption case is not about the affair.
IRS Special Agent Ron Sauer has testified about several trips and expenses, some of which included Beatty, paid for by the ex-mayor’s charity. In most examples shown in court Wednesday, Beatty signed the charity’s checks, which paid for the trips.
Sauer talked about his probe, which focused on tax crimes and mail and wire fraud.
“This case is not about an affair Mr. Kilpatrick had with Christine Beatty, is it?” Thomas asked.
“Correct,” the agent said.
“He’s hurt a lot of people, his wife and family, but this case is not about that, correct?” Thomas asked.
“That is correct,” Sauer said.
One trip involved the ex-mayor’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, and contractor Bobby Ferguson flying to New Orleans, La., in early 2002. Both men are standing trial alongside the former mayor.
The charity booked the trip, and at least one other vacation, through Joan Anderson Travel Service, a Detroit firm.
Bernard Kilpatrick’s lawyer, John Shea, questioned the IRS agent about whether there is any proof the ex-mayor’s dad took the trip.
Under questioning, the agent said he was unable to find any evidence in Bernard Kilpatrick’s bank accounts that he stayed at a hotel or paid for meals or entertainment in New Orleans in early 2002.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s mistress wasn’t the only person wined and dined on the mayor’s charity’s dime. Kilpatrick took his wife and kids on an expensive trip, too.
The Kilpatrick Civic Fund spent more than $8,600 for a trip to a California resort for Kilpatrick’s family in August 2006, according to testimony Wednesday.
The charity paid for a weeklong stay at the $625-a-night La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif. The family stayed in two rooms.
Kilpatrick and his wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, also billed the charity for pedicures, manicures and massages.
Prosecutors allege the trips and personal expenses violated IRS laws and defrauded donors who gave money to a charity set up to benefit children of Detroit and the community.
On the mayor’s official calendar, seized by investigators, Kilpatrick’s stay in California is listed as a “family trip.”
Here’s the resort:
The mayor’s charity paid for a luxury getaway between Kwame Kilpatrick and his mistress Christine Beatty in November 2002 in Vail, Colo.
The Kilpatrick Civic Fund wrote a $1,009 check for the getaway at the Sonnenalp Resort, according to an IRS agent. The expense violated IRS laws, Special Agent Ron Sauer testified
He subpoenaed the resort’s records for the weekend getaway on Nov. 7, 2002.
From the resort’s website:
The Sonnenalp Resort of Vail features 112 luxury suites and 15 hotel rooms — all with a view of either Gore Creek or Vail Village. Each suite has a bedroom and a well-appointed, delightfully comfortable living room area. Custom-made Bavarian furniture, a gas-log fireplace and large bathrooms with heated floors complete each suite.
While there, the charity paid for manicures, pedicures and a “gentleman’s facial.”
Prosecutors showed text messages between Beatty and the mayor ahead of the trip. The lovers spent three nights in a $420-a-night room.
Kilpatrick: “Are you ready for the 7th?”
Beatty: “You can’t even understand how ready. When we go away, it’s like stealing a moment that is supposed to be a reality anyway.”
On Kilpatrick’s mayoral calendar, seized by investigators, Kilpatrick’s staff summed up how he spent Nov. 7.
“Gone fishing,” the calendar read.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s charity, set up to aid Detroit youths, paid for college tuition for his sister Diarra Kilpatrick and a cousin at New York University and Tennessee State University, according to an IRS agent.
The expense was one of several prosecutors described today in court. The charity also spent thousands on tuition for Kilpatrick’s children and for a political consultant, prosecutors allege.
IRS Special Agent Ron Sauer testified the Kilpatrick Civic Fund spent $2,500 on tuition for Kilpatrick’s sister at New York University and $1,000 for his cousin at Tennessee State University in 2001.
Diarra Kilpatrick is an actress who has starred in a number of movies and TV shows, including “Talking with the Taxman About Poetry” last year. Her brother is facing a number of tax charges, including tax evasion.
The charity also spent $1,500 on Kilpatrick’s other sister, Ayanna Ferguson, in February 2002.
Prosecutors introduced the mayor’s text messages to illustrate the point. The text referred to Ayanna Ferguson by her nickname “Bone.”
“Can we write Bone a (check)for $2,000?” Kilpatrick mistress Christine Beatty texted the mayor.
“Yes,” Kilpatrick responded.
Days later, Ferguson texted Beatty.
“I paged you yesterday, re: the transfer of the loot,” according to the text message.
Another $5,000 check from the charity paid for preschool tuition for the mayor’s children at A Step Ahead school in 2002.
Sauer also was shown several checks totaling $69,000 paid to consultant Adolph Mongo for political work in 2005 and 2008.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s yoga instructor testified Wednesday he was paid by the mayor’s charity to give yoga sessions at Cobo Center and the Manoogian Mansion.
Red Lotus Yoga owner Brian Granader was hired in late 2002 when he worked for another studio and continued teaching Kilpatrick yoga until mid-2003.
Prosecutors allege the expense was illegal and violated IRS laws and defrauded donors of the Kilpatrick Civic Fund charity. The nonprofit group was set up to benefit kids and the community.
“Have you ever heard of the Kilpatrick Civic Fund?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell asked.
“No,” he said.
“Were any youths or groups present at the lessons?” Blackwell asked.
“No,” Granader said.
Kilpatrick wasn’t alone during the lessons. Sometimes, there were as many as eight people there, including what Granader assumed were the mayor’s bodyguards.
“They had weapons,” he said.
A yoga instructor gave Kwame Kilpatrick private $225-hour lessons in 2002 and 2003, which were paid for by his charity.
Center for Yoga owner Radmilla Kest testified she sent an instructor to the mayor’s office a few dozen times. She was shown checks totaling $5,025 from the Civic Fund, which paid for the lessons.
The checks were signed by the mayor’s mistress, Christine Beatty.
“We provided for the mayor and got paid through the Civic Fund,” Kest testified.
“Do you know what the Civic Fund is?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell asked.
“No,” Kest said.
Prosecutors say the Civic Fund, a charity set up to benefit the community, was Kilpatrick’s personal piggy bank. He is accused of illegally spending donations on personal and political expenses.
Defense lawyer James C. Thomas said the expenses were legitimate.
“We often provide lessons for team building and morale of the company,” Kest said, adding that yoga makes people kinder.
“We have some lawyers here who should use that,” Thomas quipped. “I should sign up.”
Kwame Kilpatrick, who literally slept through parts of jury selection, is playing an active role in his defense — too active at times.
In court Tuesday, Kilpatrick spent time reading FBI memos, reviewing witness grand jury transcripts and suggesting questions for his lawyer, James C. Thomas. At times, Kilpatrick gestured wildly to emphasize a point.
At one point Tuesday, Thomas had enough.
“Put your hands down and stop that,” Thomas quietly scolded the former mayor.
On Tuesday, Kilpatrick clutched a copy of “365 Days of Faith.”
Not a bad choice when you’re facing possibility of up to 20 years in the slammer.
“Learn the importance of speaking confessions of faith and overcoming obstacles in your life. Fear will be a thing of the past and allow you to experience a happy, healthy and productive life.”