Testimony turns testy over money paid to Carlita Kilpatrick

A government witness and Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer sparred Thursday over whether Carlita Kilpatrick offered to work for free for a nonprofit at some point after pocketing $37,500.

James C. Thomas

Defense lawyer James C. Thomas questioned former nonprofit executive Donna Williams about payments to Carlita Kilpatrick by a group that received $150,000 in state funding thanks to Kwame Kilpatrick.

Carlita Kilpatrick got paid to organize peer mediation programs for kids even though she did no work beyond attending a few meetings, Williams testified.

Williams is former executive director of Vanguard Community Development Corp., a nonprofit group headed by the Kilpatricks’ pastor, Bishop Edgar Vann.

Kwame and Carlita Kilpatrick check in with their three sons at the American Airlines ticket counter at Detroit Metro on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008. (Velvet S. McNeil / The Detroit News)

At one point, Carlita Kilpatrick stopped attending meetings until the nonprofit was close to receiving another $150,000.

“Did she offer to work for free to make up for the fact that she hadn’t trained anyone?” Thomas asked her.

“No. She didn’t offer to work for free ever,” Williams said. “And she didn’t offer to work again until Vanguard got more money.”

“Are you clairvoyant?” Thomas later asked her.

“Really?” U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds snapped. “It’s not really a relevant question.”

Earlier, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked about Carlita Kilpatrick’s job performance.

“Was there a single kid taught…by Carlita Kilpatrick?” Bullotta asked Williams.

“No,” she said.

“Do you believe she earned the $37,500 by attending those meetings?” Bullotta asked Williams.

“No,” she answered.

Robert Snell
Robert Snell is the Detroit News federal courts reporter. He can be reached at rsnell@detnews.com or (313) 222-2028.