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Former Kilpatrick fraternity friend says he was forced to pay mayor's dad thousands
5:32 PM, Dec 21, 2012
7:53 PM, Dec 21, 2012
DETROIT (WXYZ) - This wasn't the kind of college reunion Kwame Kilpatrick hoped for. Today, the ex-mayor sat and listened as his former fraternity brother described giving thousands of dollars in payoffs to his father Bernard
Marc Andre Cunningham referred to the Mayor as "Kwam" throughout his testimony, and said he only moved to Detroit in 2005 because Kilpatrick asked him to.
It wasn't long after he came here that Cunningham said he and city pension board member Jeff Beasley started talking about an investment. Cunningham wanted the city to pour in $30 million in a company owned by a family friend...a company that would ultimately hire Cunningham on a $300,000 consulting contract. But there was a catch, he said.
In a meeting at the Mosaic restaurant, Cunningham said he sat with Kilpatrick, Beasley and local consultant Chris Jackson. Jackson told him he needed to hire the Mayor's dad.
"He needed to be in the mix on this one, because he was Bernard…he was Kwame's dad," Cunningham said he was told.
Assistant U.S Attorney Michael Bullotta asked, "Did you believe Kwame Kilpatrick wanted you to pay Bernard Kilpatrick?"
Cunningham responded, "Yes," adding that the Mayor would sometimes say, "Thanks for taking care of my dad.
He said he paid Bernard several times, as much as $5,000, but sometimes as little as $3,000. On those days, he said Kilpatrick would respond: "It's a little light." Cunningham said Bernard Kilpatrick performed virtually no work.
Outside court, defense lawyers had nothing to say about the witness, but inside they went hard at him. Bernard Kilpatrick's lawyer John Shea suggested that his client helped land the $30 million investment and that he earned his keep.
Cunningham seemed reluctant to agree, but did acknowledge that the mayor's dad attended one meeting.