Court in recess.
Courtroom testimony revealed that the Kilpatrick Civic Fund paid for a 90th birthday party at the Antheneum Hotel, the services of a PR crisis manager who once worked with Monica Lewinsky and a Nike golf bag with "The Mayor" embroidered on it.
Earlier on the day, 4 witnesses who all worked in investment management testified about donations they had made to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund in 2007 and 2008. Pugh Capital Management in Seattle, Washington donated $2,000, Chicago Equity Partners gave $20,000, Churchill Financial of Clearwater, Florida contributed $1,000 and Northpointe Capital of Troy handed over $10,000. All the witnesses said that had they thought their donations to the Civic Fund would go towards personal or political campaign expenses for Kwame Kilpatrick, they would never have contributed.
U.S Attorney Jennifer Blackwell asked Michael Nairne of Chicago Equity Partners if he would have donated for Kilpatrick "to go to the La Costa Resort for $8,000?" No was his unambiguous response.
Judy Smith, a D.C. based crisis manager whose life and work serves as the inspiration for a primetime series, testified that she received a call from Mr. Kilpatrick in early 2008 to enlist her aid with the text messaging crisis. For her work over the course of several months, Smith invoiced the former Detroit mayor close to $180,000. Smith's company Impact Strategies received two checks from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund in 2008- one for $30,000 and a second for $40,464. A third check for $25,000 was made out to Smith's L.A. based non-profit Impact Philanthropy. Smith said there was an amount of $60,000 outstanding on the bill that was ultimately struck off by her bookkeeper.
Another witness, golf club salesman William Brane Scott, told the court how Kilpatrick's golf instructor Butch Rhodes handed him a Civic Fund check for $3,050 to pay for a set of Nike stainless titanium golf clubs and a staff bag with "The Mayor" emblazoned on it.
"Nike makes good stuff," said Mr. Scott.
FBI agent Robert Beeckman took the stand again today to discuss telephone conversations recorded as part of wire taps. Amongst those was a Wayne County Jail conversation between Kilpatrick and his sister Ayanna to plan the 90th birthday celebration for their grandfather Marvell Cheeks. The jailhouse party planning included snippets of Kilpatrick telling his sister "momma we gotta do something really nice for grandaddy's birthday" and "get like a DJ to play that big band sound."
The party for 140 guests was held on the 8th floor of the Antheneum Hotel in May 2009. Menu items included Chicken Tarragon, medley of vegetables, roasted potatoes and a large birthday sheet cake. On a total bill of more than $7,000, a payment of $2,500 was made with a Civic Fund check and a further $3,800 was paid in cashier's checks.
Other recorded conversations included wire taps of Bernard Kipatrick's cell phone conversations. On one call he could be heard soliciting a donation for the Kilpatrick Civic Fund from Abner McWhorter of Expression Publishing in Detroit. How much asked McWhorter?
"Big sellers, 20, 25. If you can do 5, that would be really cool," replied Bernard.
The last wire tap was for a conversation between father and son Kilpatrick about how to pay a hotel stay in Orlando, Florida. Bernard is at the front desk and having issues because they need the check to be certified and signer Christine Beatty is nowhere to be found. The check from the Civic Fund was ultimately not negotiated for that stay.
A debit card for the Civic Fund was used to transact two payments of $367.89 at the Marriott Cyprus Harbor in Florida. John Shea, lawyer for Bernard, showed evidence that Bernard had used his American Express card to pay for flights, meals and car rentals.
"So the only expense charged to the Civic Fund debit card on this multi thousand trip would be the $367 room charge?" Shea asked the witness.
"Yes," replied Beeckman.
The Kilpatrick Civic Fund wrapped up.
The day got off to an interesting start with the glaring absence of former Detroit water department boss Vicor Mercado and one of his lawyers, Martin Crandall, from the courtroom. Judge Nancy Edmunds informed the court that they were in the building reviewing some documents. Mercado's absence generated much more of a buzz than his presence ever did as it had the rumor mill swirling at full tilt as to what he could possibly be doing.
More witnesses testified to receiving checks from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund. Linda Byrd, former head of A Step Ahead preschool in Detroit, told the court that she received a $5,000 check from the Civic Fund for the preschool's graduation activities in 2002, the same year Kilpatrick twins Jelani and Jalil graduated. In earlier questioning of IRS agent Ron Sauer, Kwame defense lawyer Jim Thomas had implied that the twins had graduated a year earlier.
Graduation activities included a "Kinder Prom" with a formal dance, a graduate trip, speeches and performances and the actual ceremony. Byrd testified that she spoke with Carlita Kilpatrick, a member of the school's PTO, about the possibility of inclement weather during graduation and the need to buy a tent. Shortly thereafter, Carlita returned with the Civic Fund check for $5,000.
Realtor Aaliyah Salaam testified that her company, Regality Management Services, received payment from the Civic Fund when the Kilpatrick family signed a 6 month lease on a temporary apartment rental in September 2008. On an invoice of $17,500, 3 checks totalling $12,800 were issued from the Civic Fund as partial payment.
The court also heard about more Civic Fund solicited donations from companies. Gwendolyn Butler of Chicago-based investment managers Capri Capital Partners testified to donating $5,000 in July 2008 and David Upmeyer of Tetra Tech, a consulting engineering firm that has worked with Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department for 20 years, said they gave $4,000 in June 2008.
Investment banker Fred Prime testified that his company Loop Capital Markets made four donations of $10,000 to the Civic Fund. Prime said that after hearing news reports in 2008, his company opted to give no further donations to the non-profit.
Mr. Thomas got the banker to concede that he sometimes conducts business during golf outings. This was obviously in reference to testimony that a Civic Fund check for more than $3,000 was used to buy golf clubs and a bag embroidered with "The Mayor".
U.S. Attorney Eric Doeh was having none of it.
"Did Loop Capital purchase your clubs?, he asked the witness on redirect. No answered Prime.