Local 4 is inside the courtroom for the federal corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick's dad Bernard Kilpatrick and his childhood friend Bobby Ferguson. Each day we bring you information from inside federal court as it happens.
And we are back at the Theodore Levin courthouse for the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial. We had a day off yesterday for reasons that are still unknown to me.
Derrick "Zeke" Miller, former Kwame BFF and government star witness, will be continuing his direct testimony today and hopefully we will finally get to some cross-examination. All 3 defendants' lawyers will have cause to question the witness.
After trial today, Kwame will be meeting his parole officer to discuss the little matter of an undisclosed $2,000 gift from Chicago pastor Corey Brooks. Kilpatrick was caught on a Wal-Mart video camera counting out the funds on December 11th. It's a clear violation of his parole that could very well land him back in jail.
9:04AM Nancy Judge Edmunds enters the courtroom. US Attorney Mark Chutkow will continue with "Zeke" Miller. Chutkow discussing a transcription error to the jury. Specifically a text exchange on July 21 2004 between Ferguson and Kwame. Erroneous text introduced had Ferguson replying to himself when in fact it was the former mayor who responded "Cool!" Talking about Inheritance Capital Group run by Robert Shumake. Shumake is a Detroit businessman known to Miller. Miller was appointed to Riverfront Conservancy and was co-chair with Matt Cullen. Established to develop east and west side of the riverfront for public recreational purposes. Cullen was the head of real estate for General Motors. Now he is COO for one of Dan Gilbert's entities. Miller introduced Shumake to Cullen because of an opportunity for Shumake to buy a manufacturing facility from GM. Shumake was interested in putting together a portfolio of these assets. So Shumake bought the manufacturing/warehouse facilities and leased it back to GM. Miller entered financially agreement with Shumake- for facilitating the transactions, Miller would get a commission. Shumake wanted to get both pension boards to help provide financing to purchase between 10 to 13 properties. Miller put in a good word for Shumake with Dedan Milton, Jeff Beasley, Walter Moore who also sat on the pension boards.
Miller says he talked to John Johnson, the counsel for city of Detroit. Around the time Miller was leaving city government, he asked if he could continue arrangement with Shumake. Miller says Johnson said he could. Miller says that after he left city government, Shumake paid him $568,000 that went into Miller's Patriot Financial account. Wanted to have an arm's length relationship with the transaction, didn't want anyone in the pension board to know that he was involved in that transaction. Didn't know if his relationship with the mayor might cause that relationship not to go through. Received part of the consulting fee in 2007 and possibly some in 2008. Miller didn't not declare this commission originally. Then he later amended his tax returns when he was being investigated. Miller says he has started paying off some of the undeclared taxes. Miller says he pleaded guilty to not disclosing the commission in his taxes. Miller says he is currently cooperating with the IRS on the subject.
9:20AM Talking about Andrew Park, Asian Village and Scan. Asian Village was a restaurant banquet facility adjacent to the Ren Cen.
Miller says he became aware of it through his association with the riverfront Conservancy. Thought it might revitalize the area. The concept was to be an Asian-themed entertainment venue. Dominic Pangborn and Park were the principals behind the development.
Miller learned about some other investments by Pangborn and Park including Digital 10- contract with Department of Transportation and Secretary of State Offices to enable video display messages that would be subsidized by advertising. Could also do Amber Alerts.
At this time, Miller was Chief Information Officer. Miller says one of his responsibilities was to secure funding for the government, Homeland Security. A Homeland Security grant, UASI, would be great to get the Digital 10 technology and connect to downtown Detroit systems. So expand Digital 10 outside of Secretary of State system. The rights would be owned by the city and create a new source of revenue stream. Would include 2-way security cameras linked to a central center that would be fed to local, federal authorities. Panhborn and Park tried to obtain the federal grants through SCAN, Security Communications Alert Network. Miller assisted them in getting funds from the federal government. Miller used a pass-through to get money to them. There were 3 or 4 phases of money payments to Pangborn and Park. After Miller left, SCAN received a 3rd payment.
9:30AM Miller says the project ran into complications and got out of hand; the screens were installed and later taken down due to complaints at Campus Marshes and city ordinances. There were regulatory hurdles that hadn't been cleared. The general complaint was that they blocked view and could be a traffic hazard. Ultimately, the project was a failure. There are still some cameras up around Cobo Center but not screens.
Miller says he was an advocated for Asian Village with the pension boards. Miller says he mentioned it in conversation with board members- looking for a loan to Asian Village. Asian village was struggling- they had some funding from GM and other private equity but they needed more. Miller spoke specifically to Beasley, then city Treasurer, and Milton, who reported to Kilpatrick. Miller says he received cash from Park. Started as a friendly relationship but he accepted cash from Park on a few occasions. Total was about $10,000. Miller says he doesn't think it was appropriate he took money from them. After he left city government, miller formed Cityvest to help companies obtain funding. Park also gave him $10,000 to give to Kilpatrick. The former mayor asked Miller if he could get the cash for him. "Could you get it from your Asian Village guys," says Kilpatrick asked him. Miller says he picked up the cash at Asian village. Miller believes Park gave it to him in an envelope of hundreds. Miller says he passed it on to Kilpatrick. They went to the bathroom at Asian Village and Miller handed it to Kilpatrick. Miller says it was just the 2 of them in the bathroom. Miller says Kilpatrick said, "cool" when he handed him the money. Kwame looks bewildered and indignant.
Direct testimony done.
9:38AM John Shea for Bernard Kilpatrick cross-examines. Miller says he knew Bernard from his high school days and knew of his professional background. Miller says he knew that he was experienced in electoral politics and that he was pretty well connected. Shea asks if Kilpatrick family is close. Yes says the witness. Witness agrees that he would have been surprised if Bernard did not get involved in Kwame's campaign and political career. Shea saying that smart politicians use other politicians who know more. Miller agrees. Shea saying Bernard also helped his children with their non-profits- Next Vision for daughter Ayanna and Kilpatrick Civic Fund for Kwame. Saying Bernard would speak at fund-raisers. Miller agreeing with all of this. Shea says he didn't pay for the non-profits or the political campaigns. Miller agrees. Miller says it would not be uncommon to see Bernard come to the 11th floor to see his son. Shea says that as a consultant, Bernard had clients had interest in doing business with the city and the state. Bernard taking notes as his lawyer questions the witness. Wearing a multi-colored tie that looks like an optical illusion. Shea saying that important contacts with city government is what made consultants valuable to their clients. Miller agrees.
Shea talking about Conrad Mallett who served in Kilpatrick's administration for a brief time but then left to become a consultant. Jim Stapleton was another consultant who represented clients with interests in doing business with the city. Shea also mentions Curtis Hertel and Edna Bell, former county commissioner like Bernard. Shea says sometimes the consultants moved in house sometimes- like Bernard Parker who sometimes worked independently and at times exclusively with one company. Shea says these consultants would advocate for their clients.
Shea says that sometimes clients didn't get what they wanted. In Bernard's clients' case, Jon Rutherford never got his waterfront casino and Karl Kado didn't get contracts renewed. Shea says so Bernard had to take his lumps when his clients’ wishes weren't achieved with the city of Detroit. Shea asks if consultants often vie against each other. Yes says Miller. Shea says that if there is a complaint from a client not getting city business, this might count against them the next time the try to get business. Shea discussing "make-up calls" on the basketball court occurring in business as well. Shea is done.
9:59AM Jim Thomas for Kwame Kilpatrick. Thomas going over Miller's background with Kwame. Talking about meeting in high school, knowing each other's families and being friends with Christine Beatty as well. Thomas talking about a day where Miller went to Kwame's house and things got out of hand and a window got broken. Christine Beatty followed him all the way home to make sure he was alright.
Thomas driving home the closeness of Miller's friendship with Kilpatrick and Beatty. Miller agrees that they all stayed in touch after leaving for college. Thomas says Miller wasn't happy with massage therapy and teaching kids. Miller says he was. "I was equally as happy," says Miller about going to work with Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. Miller says he worked on both Cheeks Kilpatrick and Kwame's campaigns.
Thomas says Cheeks Kilpatrick gave you a job and you went to DC. Miller says yes and admits it was a good job. Miller was in DC for a few years. Thomas says so Miller was engaged in being employed by the Kilpatricks for a significant time. Miller agrees with this statement.
Miller says that Kwame and Carlita were married before he returned from working in DC. Miller agrees that Kwame stood up in his wedding.
Thomas asks if Miller got to know Carlita. Yes says Miller. Asks if he knew her to be good in her job in conflict resolution and peer mediation. Yes says Miller. Miller agrees that their families are close. Miles, Miller's son, is close to Kilpatrick's son. Miller says he felt that Carlita's job in peer mediation and conflict resolution was important. "Seemed like it made sense and was important," says Miller. Miller says he visited the Sherrill school that Carlita worked with. Miller agrees that Carlita was concerned about children in Detroit and volunteered her time for basketball for girls. Miller says he was a volunteer coordinator when Kwame ran for the state house of representatives. Beatty worked with them then too and Miller agrees that she was hard-working and knowledgeable. Miller agrees that he believed at the time in Kilpatrick and his message. Kwame passing notes to defense lawyer Michael Naughton who in turn passes them on to Thomas. Miller says he went to a Gladwin pig roast to promote Kilpatrick in his run for floor leadership. Thomas talking about state arts and quality of life grant when Miller was Deputy chief of Staff for state rep Kilpatrick. Thomas talking about politics being like sausage in that it's messy. Heard this one before.
Thomas asks if Miller is aware that Kilpatrick had sponsored organizations for the receipt of grants. Miller says those grants happened before he got there. We are discussing Detroit 3D, Ferguson's wife's non-profit, and Vanguard. Thomas asks if Kilpatrick advocated for other grants. Yes says Miller. Miller thinking hard about what the other grants could be. Can't come up with any off the top of his head. Thomas lists some grants: New Detroit, $100,000, Trillium Performing Arts Center, $407,000, Detroit Historical Society, $1 million, Center for Creative Studies, $200, 0000 amongst them. Miller recognizes Kilpatrick advocating for some of the grants but not all of them. Thomas asks to sidebar when Judge resists him showing Miller documentation.
10:30AM Sidebar over and Judge Edmunds calls for 20 minute break.
10:55AM Thomas continues his cross of Derrick Miller.
Thomas saying that Kilpatrick supported grants worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars even while he was state rep. Miller agrees.