Kilpatrick on Trial: Charity Fund Misuse Dominates Testimony
The federal corruption trail involving former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was only in session three days this week due to holiday recess, but there was no shortage of action in the courtroom.
All week, evidence surfaced through invoices, checks and testimony that Kilpatrick’s youth and voter education nonprofit paid for hundreds of thousands in personal spending including campaign expenditures, yoga lessons, lavish trips, and counter spy gear.
In case you missed it, here’s a roundup (with links) of what happened this week.
Tuesday Oct. 9. Day 11:
Five witnesses testified against Kilpatrick in the misuse funds from his charity, the Kilpatrick civic fund. The former mayor created the Kilpatrick Civic Fund as a non-profit to help benefit youth and voter education.
Three of the witnesses were PR and research affiliates who said Kilpatrick paid them to work on his image in a mayoral campaign with checks directly from the civic fund.
The other two witnesses were Carol Pazcewicz special agent for the EPA who collected text messages between defendants and Brian Lang, employee at a Spy Operations store who said he sold Kilpatrick $1397 in counter-spy gear and received a check from the civic fund as payment.
Read more about Tuesday’s proceedings here:
Wednesday, Oct. 10 Day 12
The government called four witnesses called to the stand Wednesday including two yoga instructors, IRS agent Ron Sauer and former Kilpatrick press secretary Matt Allen.
Testimony showed the Kilpatrick used civic fund donations to fund personal yoga classes, family vacations and relative’s college tuition fees.
Agent Sauer outlined how these uses for nonprofit funds were illegal.
Allen said that the mayor “didn’t like it” when he suggested Kilpatrick introduce the donors the former mayor claimed he had met with on vacation to the media to clear allegations.
Defense lawyer James Thomas said there were legitimate purposes for the expenses outlined in the testimony. He argued that Kilpatrick’s sons already had graduated from preschool when the Civic Fund sent in $5,000 to the school he attended. Thomas said the $5,000 to the preschool was a donation supporting the civic fund’s mission to improve the lives of Detroit youths and educate voters.
The government called April Edgar who was Kilpatrick’s scheduler, to testify. Edgar is also the half-sister of Christine Beatty, who was Kilpatrick’s chief of staff and mistress
Evidence showed that Edgar signed two checks totaling $110,000 to Maiyen Consulting LLC, Beatty’s company, in March of 2008 and 2 checks totaling $50,000 to Bernard Kilpatrick’s Maestro Associates in 2008.
Edgar told jurors that money from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund that was meant for children and voter education paid for a summer camp for Kilpatrick’s children, a family water park trip, and rent and moving expenses after Kilpatrick resigned and moved to Texas.
Kilpatrick’s attorney Jim Thomas said summer camp is an educational event and was legitimate use of the money.