One of Kwame Kilpatrick’s best friends testified Tuesday that contractor Bobby Ferguson handed him a bag filled with $90,000 to give the mayor in fall 2008.
The exchange happened at the Atheneum Suite Hotel where Ferguson gave Mahlon Clift the bag.
(Ferguson) basically said hold onto this for black,” Clift testified.
“Who’s black?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta said.
“I assumed it was Kwame,” Clift said.
According to the indictment and previous testimony, Clift stashed the money in a vacuum cleaner before giving it to Kilpatrick in chunks — in Detroit and Dallas, Texas.
Clift gave Kilpatrick $50,000 at the Hilton Hotel in Southlake, Texas in mid-September 2008 and $40,000 at the Park Shelton apartments in Detroit in late October 2008. That’s where Kilpatrick and his family lived after resigning and moving out of the Manoogian Mansion.
Clift, who helped introduce Kilpatrick to his future wife, Carlita, worked for a jeweler and was involved in securing musicians, rap stars and high-profile people as clients.
The Chicago resident signed an immunity agreement with the government.
“Did you do any business with drug dealers?” Ferguson lawyer Michael Rataj asked Clift.
“Could have been,” he answered.
Clift called Kilpatrick one of his best friends. The ex-mayor served as a groomsman in Clift’s wedding.
Clift testified about taking private jet flights to an R. Kelly concert in Houston and Bermuda with Kilpatrick and other insiders.
Clift, a former college classmate of the ex-mayor’s at Florida A&M University who considers Kilpatrick a brother, testified before a federal grand jury in September 2010. He was asked how he felt about the experience.
“Same way I feel now,” Clift said. “Uncomfortable and I didn’t want to be part of it.”