Kilpatrick donations dried up amid scandal

Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court Wednesday.

An investment banker urged his firm to stop donating money to Kwame Kilpatrick’s nonprofit group in 2008 — the year the mayor’s career derailed amid a text-message scandal.

Investment banker Fred Prime said his firm Loop Capital — which had city business — stopped donating after giving the Kilpatrick Civic Fund a total of $40,000 in 2006 and 2007.

Prime made the decision after consulting with his firm’s compliance officer.

“It didn’t pass our compliance process,” Prime testified.

Defense lawyers objected to the questioning, and Prime was blocked from talking about the news reports or explaining his firm’s decision.

Prime’s testimony came as prosecutors continued bringing in financial advisers who testified about donating money to Kilpatrick’s nonprofit group.

Donors testified Tuesday that Civic Fund checks were sent via the U.S. mail, which addresses a key charge in the Kilpatrick indictment. Along with racketeering, extortion, bribery and tax charges, Kilpatrick is facing 13 counts of mail and wire fraud — 20-year felonies.

Prime said his firm’s checks were mailed from Loop’s corporate office in Chicago.

Prime told ex-Detroit Treasurer Jeff Beasley about his firm’s decision.

Jim Papas

Beasley, the ex-mayor’s fraternity brother, was indicted earlier this year in connection with an FBI probe of the city’s pension funds. He is awaiting trial in federal court.

In total, Prime’s firm wrote four checks to the Civic Fund. Some of the checks were made out to the fund and Greektown business mogul Jim Papas.

Papas co-owns the Atheneum Suite Hotel and held a fundraiser for Kilpatrick’s nonprofit group. He also provided office space for the ex-mayor’s fundraiser, Emma Bell, according to testimony.

Until The News started asking questions last month, Kilpatrick was staying at the Atheneum.

Kwame Kilpatrick leaves the Atheneum Suite Hotel on Sept. 6 and gets into one of the hotel’s vans. Kilpatrick, who has said he is broke, had been staying in early September at the hotel where rooms start at $180 a night.

 

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