Cunningham: I kicked back money to Bernard Kilpatrick

Marc Andre Cunningham was required to kick back to Bernard Kilpatrick a portion of the $300,000 he got from a financial firm that got a  a $30 million investment by two Detroit pension funds, he testified this morning.

Cunningham, visibly nervous on the witness stand, said he was told “BK” had to be in on the deal and he agreed to pay him three to five thousands of dollars every few months  ”to thank the mayor for that deal, for making sure it went through.”

In “handshake-to-handshake” payouts, Cunningham said he’d meet Bernard Kilpatrick in “discreet” locations to drop off the cash.

“It was always a quick handshake to handshake, cash in hand type deal,” Cunningham said. They “wanted to keep it low key. We didn’t want anyone to know we were doing it.”

Cunningham helped Syncom Funding get two $15 million investments from the pension funds with help from friend and former city Treasurer Jeff Beasley. Beasley currently faces bribery charges.

After he got the Syncom deal, Cunningham said he was told that Bernard Kilpatrick had to be involved.

“You were told BK had to be in the deal?,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked.

“Yes,” Cunningham said.

“Did (Bernard) do anyting before or after to secure that pension deal?”

“No.”

After Syncom got the funding in 2006, Cunningham got a $300,000 contract and soon began working for Kwame Kilpatrick as an executive assistant. But he said he told the city he was only getting $180,000 from Syncom, altering the details of his deal with them.

Bullotta asked him why he changed the terms of the deal. “I just didn’t want anyone to know how much I was making,” he said.

Cunningham has also said that mayoral aides swept his office for listening devices.

Mike Wilkinson
Mike has been a reporter at The Detroit News since 2006.