Is Kwame Kilpatrick using his civic fund as a piggy bank?

DETROIT (WXYZ) - - It's been called Kwame Kilpatrick's personal piggy bank and, once again, the Kilpatrick Civic Fund was front and center in the former mayor's latest restitution hearing. Chief Investigative Reporter Steve Wilson gets answers from one of the fund's directors who shelled out thousands of dollars that benefited the mayor.

Kwame Kilpatrick/Fmr. Detroit Mayor: I didn't request anything!

On the stand again Tuesday, the former mayor insisted the Kilpatrick Civic Fund was not anything he controlled. According to its articles of incorporation filed in 1999, the fund was established to "contribute to the betterment of the lives of the youth" of Detroit, and to "promote the importance of voting." But as we first reported, the fund has been used to pay for a luxury lifestyle for Kilpatrick and his family, including an expensive week-long vacation at the La Costa Resort and Spa in California. And even after Kilpatrick was ousted as mayor, prosecutors say the practice continued, even against court order.

Robert Spada/Asst. Wayne County Prosecutor: So after the court ordered you to turn over all money, then you paid $15,000 for your moving expenses?

Kilpatrick stuck steadfastly to the story he started yesterday about the Civic Fund and how the money found its way to his personal benefit.

Kwame Kilpatrick/Fmr. Detroit Mayor: Checks from the Civic Fund were signed by April Edgar and Kandia Milton. It was directed by the board.

Kilpatrick has claimed he doesn't know who's on the board, and there is no public record file covering anything after 2007. His sister, Ayanna, was once listed as president and board chairman. And his former girlfriend, Christine Beatty, was treasurer until Kandia Milton took that job. He is one of the mayor's best friends, a former appointee who served as Detroit's mayor for a day when Kilpatrick was once jailed.

And as for the other name on the recent checks, April Edgar turns out to be Christine Beatty's sister, and is the fund's secretary, she says.

April Edgar/Kilpatrick Civic Fund Secretary: Oh, I did no approving.
Wilson: You did no approving?
Edgar: No.
Wilson: How many people are on the board now?
Edgar: You know what, I really can't remember because it's been a while since I've even talked about the Civic Fund so I really don't remember how many people were on the board, to be honest with you.

Yes, she and Kandia Milton signed checks, but as for who actually voted to bestow such goodness on the former mayor?

Wilson: Have you ever cast a vote?
Edgar: No, I don't remember casting a vote. All I remember is being told here, you need to write a check for this or write a check for that, and I did. My whole thing was just taking over after Ms. Beatty left and I basically just took over as the secretary of signing checks. I really don't even understand what the Civic Fund is for, to be honest with you.

And what has Kilpatrick so tense? Knowledge that, in addition to all his other troubles, the IRS is said to be seriously looking into how he benefited from a fund set up to help the much less fortunate. Remember the gangster Al Capone? In the end, he went to prison on a tax rap.

If you have a tip for the Action News Investigative Team, contact us at tips@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.


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