Kilpatrick cash flowed through controversial pension figure

A New York lawyer who represents Detroit pension funds testified his law firm gave $30,000 to Kwame Kilpatrick’s nonprofit group funneled through a controversial Michigan attorney.

Max Berger testified his firm sent checks benefiting the Kilpatrick Civic Fund to Ronald Zajac, the general counsel for Detroit pension funds.

Berger was solicited by Greektown mogul Jim Papas, who has been a recurring figure in testimony so far.

Zajac, meanwhile, made a cameo in a federal indictment against Kilpatrick’s fraternity brother and ex-Detroit Treasurer Jeff Beasley. Zajac, was suspended with pay in March amid allegations he solicited cash gifts for Beasley and pension fund members before he received a 33 percent pay increase.

Berger is a surprise last witness talking about the mayor’s nonprofit group — and allegedly illegal expenses and activities — before prosecutors move onto extortion allegations against Kilpatrick.

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