DETROIT (WXYZ) - Kwame Kilpatrick rolled out a wad of cash and two cashier’s checks for a new Cadillac Escalade just days after getting out of jail in 2009. That testimony came today from a former car dealer in day 58 of the city hall corruption case.
Prosecutors didn’t show anything illegal was done in the transaction but it did illustrate how the former mayor seemed to have a lot of access to cash.
Testimony about the Escalade came from Doug Dalgleish, who was the general manager of Dalgleish Cadillac until the dealership was shut down by the General Motors bankruptcy.
Dalgleish testified that Kilpatrick bought a new Escalade with custom rims and other extras just days after being released from a jail stint related to the text message scandal.
According to Dalgleish, Kilpatrick prepaid the $35,000 lease with $9,000 in cash and two cashier’s checks. The cash was in a stack of one hundred dollar bills. One of the cashier's checks for $16,000 came from Kilpatrick's mother, former Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.
Prosecutors have suggested throughout the trial that Kilpatrick had access to a lot more cash than you would expect from someone with his mayoral salary. But Kilpatrick's attorney Jim Thomas pointed out that Kilpatrick had just landed a good-paying job with Compuware when he prepaid the Cadillac lease.
Dalgleish said the dealership reported the transaction to the IRS as required by law, and that the dealership notified Kilpatrick, which is standard procedure. On cross examination, Dalgleish said Kilpatrick never complained about the IRS reporting and he said it is not unusual for people to pre-pay a car lease because it cuts interest costs. Dalgleish estimated that about sixteen percent of the people who lease cars pre-pay.
Kilpatrick’s attorney showed jurors a box on the IRS reporting form that can be checked if the dealer deems the cash transaction to be suspicious. The box on Kilpatrick’s form was not checked.
Prosecutors also asked the former car dealer about a Cadillac Seville that Kilpatrick leased in 2000 while he was a still a state lawmaker. The down payment for that car was a $4,000 check from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund. That fund was supposed to be used to help kids and for voter education. Prosecutors claim the ex-mayor used the non-profit fund as a personal piggy bank. The $4,000 check from the civic fund was signed by Kilpatrick's former mistress, Christine Beatty.
The prosecution's star witness James Rosendall , who wore a wire for the FBI, finished his testimony today. Prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case as early as next week. Then the defense will get its shot trying to convince jurors that Kilpatrick, his dad and his friend Bobby Ferguson were not running a pay-to-play criminal enterprise out of city hall.
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