'Extorted' contractor wore wire during Kilpatrick meetings

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.

Tom’s Oyster Bar.

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.

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