A Cobo Center contractor who allegedly paid at least $360,000 in bribes to Kwame Kilpatrick and others testified about repeated demands for cash by the mayor, his father and a key aide.
Karl Kado offered some of the most dramatic and colorful testimony in the months-long trial, dropped celebrity names and told jurors about backroom payoffs intended to protect lucrative deals at the downtown Detroit convention center.
The West Bloomfield businessman told jurors he was held “hostage” by the demands.
The day of testimony featured several excerpts from secretly recorded conversations between Kado and the mayor’s father, political consultant Bernard Kilpatrick.
In rapid-fire succession, Kado testified about delivering paper bags filled with cash to the former Detroit mayor — payments that allegedly culminated in a $100,000 payoff to Bernard Kilpatrick in summer 2005.
By then, Kado was fed up by the demands.
“I said ‘this is the last time you will see me. I’m tired of this,’” Kado testified.
Kado returns to the witness stand at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Live Updates EndedPlease read below for an archived view of this event.
Bernard Kilpatrick’s defense lawyer launched a cross-examination of a Cobo Center contractor who was allegedly extorted by the mayor’s father.
Defense lawyer John Shea pressed Karl Kado about his conviction on a tax charge and cooperation with federal agents probing City Hall corruption.
The cross-examination followed three hours of testimony from Kado about allegedly paying Kilpatrick almost $300,000 in bribes.
Shea opened the cross-examination about illegal payments Kado made to two former Cobo directors — Lou Pavledes and Glenn Blanton.
Shea questioned Kado about Pavledes letting Kado open a temporary store inside Cobo in 1997.
“Is it true that after that, you took Lou Pavledes a sack that had $20,000 cash in it?” Shea asked.
“No,” Kado said.
“That’s not true?” Shea asked.
“No,” Kado said.
Pavledes admitted taking bribes from Kado and was sentenced to 14 months in prison for a banking offense. Blanton also admitted taking illegal payments from Kado was sentenced to one year for obstruction of justice.
Kado, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to a tax charge, was sentenced to three years’ probation in 2010, and avoided going to prison.
His cooperation has led to convictions of at least 10 people during a years-long FBI probe of City Hall corruption.
Bernard Kilpatrick tried to get a businessman he allegedly was extorting to hire his pal, a former Detroit Pistons basketball player, according to testimony.
The request involved former Detroit Pistons guard Archie Clark, according to testimony.
Kilpatrick made the request during a breakfast meeting in March 2008 that Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado secretly recorded for the FBI. Kilpatrick allegedly wanted Clark to be awarded a piece of a restaurant contract at Cobo, according to testimony.
During the conversation, Kilpatrick said his pal would do whatever work ordered by Kado.
Kado said he didn’t want to include Clark on the deal.
“I wold tell him to sit on a chair for eight hours,” Kado testified.
Kado recalled details of the conversation, but couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant where he met Kilpatrick.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer said Kado is suffering from dementia.
Clark was a guard who played for several NBA teams during a 10-season career. He played for the Pistons in the 1975-76 season and later went into business in Ecorse.
In 2009, The News obtained Kwame Kilpatrick’s text messages, which made reference to Clark.
Bernard Kilpatrick exchanged text messages with his son about cutting Clark in on a real estate deal involving rap star Eminem, the text messages show.
According to the texts:
“HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE T(O) TALK TO EMINEM’S GUY ABOUT BUYING THAT CLUB YET?” Bernard Kilpatrick texted his son on Aug. 5, 2003. “ARCHIE WANTS TO BE THE MIDDLEMAN..HIS COUSIN OWNS THE BLDG.”
Bernard Kilpatrick blew a $100,000 bribe allegedly paid by a Cobo Center contractor at Greektown Casino, according to testimony.
Contractor Karl Kado testified he gave Kilpatrick $100,000 in summer 2005 to help his son, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, win re-election.
But the money went elsewhere, Kado said.
“The $100,000 you said you gave him to help the mayor in the election, you said (Bernard Kilpatrick) spent it all?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked Kado.
“It went to Greektown,” Kado said. “All the money went there.”
Bernard Kilpatrick’s defense lawyer objected to the speculation.
“I’m assuming,” Kado added.
Kado allegedly paid at least $360,000 in bribes to Bernard Kilpatrick and his son to protect lucrative contracts at Cobo.
Later, jurors heard a secretly recorded conversation between Kado and Bernard Kilpatrick at Tom’s Oyster Bar, a popular restaurant with spots in Detroit and the suburbs.
Kado met with Bernard Kilpatrick in February 2008 in hopes of recovering $1.6 million owed by the city. The city canceled Kado’s contracts at Cobo after he allegedly refused to continue paying bribes to the Kilpatricks.
Bernard Kilpatrick told Kado to consider the payment a consulting fee.
“Did you need a consultant?” Bullotta asked.
“I didn’t need a consultant from the beginning,” Kado said.
Bernard Kilpatrick badmouthed a popular radio show host during a secretly recorded conversation with a Cobo Center contractor he allegedly was extorting in early 2008.
Kilpatrick called WCHB-AM (1200) radio show host Mildred Gaddis a “vile enemy of the mayor,” according to the conversation with contractor Karl Kado, which was played for jurors Monday during the City Hall corruption trial against Kilpatrick and his son Kwame Kilpatrick.
Gaddis factors into a separate corruption probe of Highland Park Public School board member Robert Davis.
Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado wore a hidden listening device during two meetings with Kwame Kilpatrick’s father in early 2008 amid an ongoing FBI probe of City Hall corruption.
Kado, who was cooperating with the FBI and federal prosecutors, wore the listening device during meetings in February and March 2008 with Bernard Kilpatrick at Tom’s Oyster Bar and a downtown Detroit breakfast spot.
By early 2008, he had lost lucrative Cobo contracts after telling Bernard Kilpatrick that Kado was a target of the City Hall corruption probe. The city retaliated by canceling Kado’s contracts and owed him about $3.2 million, according to testimony.
Jurors heard audio from the meetings Monday during one of the most dramatic days of testimony in the corruption trial.
Kado met with Kilpatrick amid his fight to recoup money owed by the city. Kado also was trying to get his Cobo food services contract renewed by the city.
The first recorded conversation played for jurors Monday happened at the oyster bar in February 2008.
The audio was garbled, almost unintelligible and crowded out by the sound of dishes clanking and a funky saxophone-driven song playing in the background during the meeting.
Jurors were handed a transcript of the conversation to follow along.
At one point, Kado talks to Kilpatrick about a $100,000 payment he gave the mayor’s dad to help Kwame Kilpatrick win the 2005 election.
Prosecutors are poised to play secretly recorded conversations involving a businessman allegedly extorted by Kwame Kilpatrick and his father.
According to the City Hall corruption indictment, Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado wore hidden listening devices during conversations with the mayor’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick.
One conversation, listed in the indictment, portrays Bernard Kilpatrick as trying to grab a piece of the contractor’s lucrative deals at the downtown Detroit convention center.
The indictment alleges Bernard Kilpatrick unsuccessfully tried to shake down Kado in March 2008.
“When Kado declined to pay BERNARD KILPATRICK, BERNARD KILPATRICK warned him that it would take Kado two years to be reimbursed by the City otherwise, saying, “You don’t even wanna pay me, huh? … It would take you two years to go through lawyers to get your money, man.”
Amid some of the most blunt extortion claims yet in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial, the 16 jurors hearing the case have been playing close attention to the testimony of former Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado.
Although they have routinely asked U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds and attorneys questions during previous testimony, for the first time they directed their questions Monday morning at a witness.
Kado, who was born in Iraq and speaks with a strong accent, has drawn repeated questions from Edmunds. But on one occasion, a female juror asked him how much he paid for a contract. Another asked him for the names of his companies.
Kado politely obliged.
In summer 2005, Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado received a letter from the feds indicating he was a target of the City Hall corruption probe.
Kado called Kwame Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard, who received about $300,000 in bribes to safeguard Kado’s contracts at Cobo.
The two met at Kado’s office building along East Jefferson, where Kado leased office space to the mayor’s father.
Bernard Kilpatrick, who allegedly shook down contractors for cash, greeted Kado by patting him down.
“What did you think when he did that?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked.
“I knew right away,” Kado said. “I realized he was probably checking to see if I had some kind of (listening) device.”
Bernard Kilpatrick made an offer.
“He said he would give me a 10-year extension at Cobo if I did not work with the government,” Kado said.
“I said ‘keep everything for you,’” Kado testified. “I am out.”
Kado eventually cooperated with the FBI and prosecutors, wore listening devices and helped secure 10 convictions in the City Hall probe.
A Cobo Center contractor who allegedly paid at least $360,000 to Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and aide Derrick Miller said he was held hostage by demands for cash.
Karl Kado testified was fed up by June 2005 after giving the mayor and his father thousands of dollars in cash.
He allegedly gave Bernard Kilpatrick $100,000 — a goodbye gift of sorts.
“I said ‘take it for the re-election, to help the mayor get elected,’” Kado testified. “I said ‘this is the last time you will see me. I’m tired of this.’”
Another time, Kado said he gave $10,000 to Kwame Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller, who was traveling to Europe for an auto show.
“He wouldn’t take a check. It was another extortion. I had no choice but to give him money,” Kado said. “I am like hostage. I am a hostage at Cobo.”
A bribed businessman said he gave as much as $300,000 to Kwame Kilpatrick’s father Bernard along with free office space downtown.
Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado said the payments — in $40,000 or $50,000 cash increments — started several months after Kilpatrick was elected in 2001.
The cash would change hands inside Cobo Center or inside Kado’s office building at 547 E. Jefferson, where Bernard Kilpatrick was given free office space.
Kado allegedly paid the bribes to protect lucrative deals at the downtown Detroit convention center.
“Why were you paying Bernard Kilpatrick?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked.
“Because he’s’ the mayor’s father?” Kado said.
“Did you hire him as a consultant?” Bullotta asked.
“Consultant? I don’t need a consultant,” Kado said. “Consultant for what?”
“If you didn’t need a consultant, why were you paying him?” the prosecutor asked.
“Because he was the mayor’s father,” Kado said.
Bernard Kilpatrick briefly paid rent at Kado’s office building — then abruptly stopped paying $1,200 a month rent.
“Did you evict him?” Bullotta asked
“How can I evict him?” Kado said. “He’s the mayor’s father.”
A bribed businessman testified Monday he hand-delivered bribes to Kwame Kilpatrick inside the mayor’s office and at Cobo Center.
The payoffs happened “three or four times,” contractor Karl Kado testified, in exchange for keeping lucrative contracts at the downtown Detroit convention center. Kado’s electrical services contract was worth as much as $11 million a year.
The cash exchanges followed a routine.
Kilpatrick would call Kado and demand cash, Kado testified.
“He would say he needs money and I had four or five days to get the money,” Kado said.
Kado would either meet the mayor at City Hall or inside his office at Cobo.
“Would he come by himself?” Assistant U.S. Attorney
“No, he would come with security,” Kado said.
“How much would you give him?” Bullotta asked.
“Ten thousand, $5,000, whatever,” Kado said.
If Kado met the mayor at City Hall, he brought the cash stuffed in his pockets, according to testify.
When Kilpatrick visited Cobo, the cash would be hidden inside a paper bag, Kado said.
To arrange the meetings, Kado would call Kilpatrick’s aide, DeDan Milton.
Milton is a longtime friend and was executive assistant to Kilpatrick. He admitted taking about $16,000 in kickbacks in connection with two city land sales and was sentenced to three years and six months in prison.
Milton is expected to testify later during the trial.
Kwame Kilpatrick hit up a Cobo Center contractor for $10,000 shortly after being elected mayor of Detroit in 2001.
Prosecutors walked contractor Karl Kado through a chronology of bribes totaling at least $360,000 he paid to Kilpatrick, his father and mayoral aide Derrick Miller.
Kado allegedly had to pay the bribes to keep lucrative contracts at the downtown Detroit convention center. One of Kado’s janitorial contracts generated as much as $5 million a year.
Months after Kilpatrick was elected, Kwame Kilpatrick called Kado and made a blunt request.
“He said ‘Karl, we need $10,000,’” Kado told Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta.
Kado said Miller, the longtime Kilpatrick friend and star witness in the corruption case, picked up the money at Cobo Center.
The cash, mostly $100 and $50 bills, was stashed in a brown paper bag, Kado testified.
“Why did you give him $10,000 cash?” Bullotta asked.
“Because we had no choice,” Kado said.
“What do you mean?” the prosecutor asked.
“Our situation at Cobo, I have a contract and that contract is under the mercy of the Cobo director, which is under the mercy of the mayor,” Kado said.
Karl Kado admitted being nervous Monday as he took the witness stand and prepared to tell jurors he allegedly spent $360,000 bribing Kwame Kilpatrick and others.
Speaking in a thick, occasionally unintelligible accent, the Iraq native told jurors about his background before moving to Detroit and joining the area’s large Chaldean community.
“Are you a little bit nervous?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked.
“A little bit, yeah,” Kado said.
Kilpatrick appeared loose this morning outside federal court, emerging from the heavy fog wearing a blue tuque and red tie.
He sat with hands clasped near his chin as Kado testified about opening a sundry store at Cobo Center in 1995.
Who is Karl Kado?
He’s a former Cobo Center contractor, a big-bucks bribe payer and the canary in the City Hall corruption coal mine whose testimony helped the feds land convictions against at least 10 people.
The Iraq native and West Bloomfield resident is one of the government’s first cooperating witnesses, and arguably the most damaging.
The entrepreneur once held lucrative contracts at Cobo Center. To keep the gig, Kado allegedly paid at least $360,000 in bribes to Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and former mayoral aide Derrick Miller.
Kado, recruited by the feds in 2005 and convicted of tax crimes, helped the FBI secure wiretaps and secret recordings.
Today, he stares down the government’s biggest targets.
Kado, a travel buddy of Bernard Kilpatrick, allegedly was slinging bribes early in Kwame Kilpatrick’s tenure. From the indictment:
“In and between about 2001 and 2002, Kwame Kilpatrick obtained a number of cash payments totaling at least $80,000 from Kado, knowing that, in return, Kado expected to receive favorable treatment on service contracts Kado sought or held at Cobo Hall.”
Kado’s lawyer labeled his client a victim of extensive and pervasive corruption inside City Hall. After cooperating with the feds, Kado lost his contracts and the city stiffed him for $2.6 million, according to an insightful letter written by Kado’s lawyer two years ago.
“…individuals or companies who either had existing contracts with the City of Detroit, or who were bidding to obtain a contract with the city, were expected to provide some financial or beneficial consideration to city officials or employees to keep or obtain a city contract,” defense lawyer Christopher Andreoff wrote.
Andreoff also described his client’s “unmatched” cooperation with federal investigators probing City Hall Corruption.
From the letter:
“I can say unequivocally that the degree and extent of (Kado’s) cooperation has been unmatched. He did so knowing full well that his business interests would be harmed and that he would face great retaliation by individuals in power when his cooperation was unveiled.”
Kwame Kilpatrick’s defense lawyer James C. Thomas suggested he will attack Kado’s credibility by raising doubts about his mental state. Kado is suffering from dementia, Thomas told jurors during opening statements.
Though the reason is unclear, Kado had a seeing-eye FBI agent walk him through the courtroom Friday pointing out the jury box, the defense table and the judge’s bench.