Rich businessman factors into Kilpatrick trial

Grosse Pointe Farms businessman Anthony Soave’s name has come up several times today.

Victor Mercado’s lawyer said Soave tried to ply the Detroit water boss with free use of his 100-foot yacht.

Mercado refused, a point defense lawyer Martin Crandall said illustrated the Detroit water boss’ objection to accepting bribes or gratuities.

“It’s not in his DNA,” Crandall told jurors.

According to court records, Soave told federal agents about bribes he paid other officials to win city contracts worth millions. Soave’s lawyer says he was extorted.

Soave told agents he donated $125,000 to the mayor’s charity, the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, helped Kilpatrick’s mistress and chief of staff Christine Beatty get a sweetheart deal on a Land Rover and paid down her bad credit, Crandall claimed in an earlier filing.

Soave is identified as owner of Soave Enterprises and majority owner of a firm identified by prosecutors as “Company I,” or Inland Waters.

Soave also provided private jet flights, gave Kwame Kilpatrick $10,000 worth of courtside Detroit Pistons tickets in 2002, gave the mayor access to his private boat, took him on two New York City shopping trips, and gave the mayor’s father Bernard Kilpatrick a $6,000 watch, according to the filing.

The list goes on, according to the filing: Soave paid for a Christmas stay at the Ritz hotel in Naples, Fla., plus $3,000 for a personal trainer and paid for gifts for the mayor’s family, including a woman’s purse and shoes.

Crandall is still delivering his opening statement. It’s been colorful, and confused.

He referenced the flick “Meet the Parents,” to emphasize Mercado was not inside Kilpatrick’s “Circle of Trust.”

He also twice confused the late newsman Walter Cronkite with the late radio raconteur Paul Harvey as owner of the catch phrase “the rest of the story.”

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