Kilpatrick frat bro factored into separate FBI probe

Kwame Kilpatrick and his father Bernard Kilpatrick walk toward the Gateway Deli for lunch during an afternoon break Sept. 18.

Former Kwame Kilpatrick aide and fraternity brother Marc Andre Cunningham, who is expected to testify this week, surfaced in a separate public corruption investigation that ultimately led to Bernard Kilpatrick, the former mayor’s father.

Bernard Kilpatrick had been under investigation by the FBI in Detroit for about two years when, in 2007, he came to the attention of FBI agents in New Jersey conducting Operation Broken Boards, a corruption probe that would lead to convictions of 14 New Jersey officials, including state assemblymen and school board officials.

The New Jersey FBI snagged corrupt politicians by setting up a dummy company called Coastal Solutions LLC and offering bribes in return for insurance-related contracts.

Those agents were put in touch with Cunningham.

Kwame Kilpatrick

Cunningham said Coastal representatives discussed insurance and development projects with him, but no agreements were reached, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2007.

The Detroit Free Press reported in 2010 that Cunningham referred the FBI agents conducting the sting to Bernard Kilpatrick, who met with Coastal Solutions representatives in Atlantic City and attended a sold-out 2007 Las Vegas prize fight with Coastal Solutions officials, his son — the former mayor — and Cunningham.

But no deal was ever struck, and no Detroit-area charges have been brought in connection with the New Jersey operation.

There were concerns in Detroit that the New Jersey investigation could unwittingly upset a Detroit FBI investigation into City Hall corruption that was well under way, a person familiar with the investigation said.

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