DETROIT (WXYZ) - The government took aim at Kwame Kilpatrick’s Civic Fund and showed the jury dozens of checks for fancy hotel stays, rent, and more.
Christine Beatty’s sister was on the stand Thursday and she was shown at least 33 different checks that she signed from the Civic Fund.
Almost every time she was asked why she wrote the check, she said, “Because the mayor told me to.”
When April Edgar talked to 7 Action News a few years ago about her role with the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, she didn’t know much about the non-profits’ purpose.
“My whole thing was just taking over after Ms. Beatty left. And I basically just took over as secretary of signing checks. I really don’t understand what the civic fund is for, to be honest with you,” Edgar said in late 2009.
Thursday, on the witness stand, Edgar had to testify against her former boss, Kwame Kilpatrick.
The ex-mayor and three others are on trial, accused of racketeering. Federal prosecutors say Kilpatrick used his non-profit civic fund like a personal piggy bank.
Edgar had signing power for the Fund after Christine Beatty resigned during the text message scandal.
On Thursday, the feds showed the jury how Edgar signed at least 33 different Civic Fund checks. The checks total in the thousands of dollars for things like stays at the Ballantyne Resort in North Carolina, the Marriott in Irvine CA, the Gaylord Texan resort, the Hilton in Southlake, TX, and the Great Wolf Lodge water park – also in Texas. Many of the trips were taken by both Carlita and Kwame Kilpatrick, after the mayor’s relationship with Beatty was made public. Edgar told the jury how she often booked the hotels under false names, calling the Kilpatrick’s Kevin and Carla Kitchen.
“Any response to all those civic fund checks,” 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo asked Kilpatrick outside court Thursday. The former mayor did not respond.
Edgar said thousands were spent on a summer camp for the Kilpatrick boys, plus airfare for the children and Carlita. The feds then showed the jury checks for thousands of dollars in moving expenses for the first family.
Edgar also testified that her sister, Beatty, received $110,000 from the Civic Fund to put together a brochure on Detroit after she resigned.
Federal prosecutors showed checks from the non-profit to Bernard Kilpatrick’s company totaling $50,000 in 2008.
Companies associated with the former mayor’s Washington D.C. -based PR expert Judy Smith got more than $95,000.
Edgar said the mayor told her to write almost every one of those checks.
“We’re not going to make any comments today,” said Kilpatrick’s attorney Jim Thomas.
When defense lawyers cross-examined April Edgar, she was asked: "Did you trust Kwame Kilpatrick?" Edgar said yes.
She was then asked: "Did you feel like you were doing something illegal when you wrote those checks?" She said she did not.
But Edgar also told the jury several times she did not really know what the Civic Fund was, or what it was supposed to be funding.
Testimony about the Civic Fund continues next Tuesday, as court will not be in session for the next few days.
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