Kilpatrick frat bro to confront ex-mayor this week in deal with feds

Marc Andre Cunningham

Kwame Kilpatrick’s longtime friend and former assistant is expected to testify against the former mayor this week about being forced to kickback money from a city pension deal.

Kilpatrick allegedly ordered Marc Andre Cunningham to pay at least $15,000 to the mayor’s father Bernard from 2006 to 2007, according to prosecutors. The kickback was in return for the mayor’s support of a pension fund deal.

The money came out of Cunningham’s commission on a $30 million loan involving two Detroit pension funds, prosecutors allege.

From the indictment:

“In or about the Summer of2006, at a restaurant in Detroit, KWAME KILPATRICK, through one of his high-level aides, directed Cunningham to pay BERNARD KILPATRICK a portion of the commissions Cunningham received from a venture capital firm (“the Firm”) for Cunningham’s assistance obtaining a $30 million investment… KWAME KILPATRICK was present when Cunningham was told to make these payments.”

On Oct, 4, 2006, Cunningham gave Bernard Kilpatrick at least $4,000 cash during a meeting at City Hall.

Bernard Kilpatrick sits behind his son during Kwame’s sentencing on state charges in 2008.

Again, from the indictment:

“It was understood between Cunningham and KWAME KILPATRICK that this and future payments were to be made to BERNARD KILPATRICK to reward KWAME KlLPATRICK for his support of the…investments and to obtain favorable treatment by KWAME KILPATRICK in any future business that might arise between Cunningham and the City of Detroit.”

The payments continued, according to prosecutors, until fall 2007.

“…following a media report of an FBI undercover corruption investigation that implicated Cunningham, KWAME KILPATRICK told Cunningham to stop paying BERNARD KILPATRICK.”

Cunningham pleaded guilty in November 2010 to conspiracy to commit bribery and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. He faces up to 37 months in prison and is awaiting sentencing.

Cunningham was an aide to the mayor who headed the Detroit Film Office, and a fraternity brother of Kilpatrick and former city treasurer Jeff Beasley at Florida A&M University.

He resigned from City Hall in July 2008 after media reports said his phone had been briefly tapped as part of an FBI investigation into the Synagro Technologies Inc. sludge contract.

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