Kilpatrick charity paid for yoga lessons inside mayor's office

A yoga instructor gave Kwame Kilpatrick private $225-hour lessons in 2002 and 2003, which were paid for by his charity.

Center for Yoga owner Radmilla Kest testified she sent an instructor to the mayor’s office a few dozen times. She was shown checks totaling $5,025 from the Civic Fund, which paid for the lessons.

The checks were signed by the mayor’s mistress, Christine Beatty.

“We provided for the mayor and got paid through the Civic Fund,” Kest testified.

“Do you know what the Civic Fund is?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell asked.

“No,” Kest said.

Prosecutors say the Civic Fund, a charity set up to benefit the community, was Kilpatrick’s personal piggy bank. He is accused of illegally spending donations on personal and political expenses.

James C. Thomas

Defense lawyer James C. Thomas said the expenses were legitimate.

“We often provide lessons for team building and morale of the company,” Kest said, adding that yoga makes people kinder.

“We have some lawyers here who should use that,” Thomas quipped. “I should sign up.”

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