Day 15: Civic Fund leased luxury apartment for Kilpatrick family

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Earlier today, 7 Action News Investigator Ross Jones provided blog updates from the Kilpatrick corruption trial. Follow along below:

12:16--The end: That's all for day 15.  We'll see you tomorrow at 8:30. 

12:00--Next chapter: The "chapter" of the case related to the Civic Fund has come to a close.  The next chapter will focus on extortion, says the government.  The defense is harshly objecting, though, saying they're not yet prepared to begin.  Attorney Gerald Evelyn said the defense team needs "prior notice."  Despite their objections, the case moves on starting tomorrow.

11:50--Meet with Mayor? Kilpatrick was in Colorado to meet with the mayor of Denver, suggests Kilpatrick lawyer Jim Thomas.

11:32--Colorado trip: Earlier in the trial, Kilpatrick lawyer Jim Thomas suggested that a trip to a Colorado resort that Kilpatrick took with Christine Beatty (using Civic Fund money) was for a conference of mayors in Colorado.  Except there was no conference going on at the time the mayor took the trip, according to the IRS agent. 

11:28--Federal agent: An IRS agent is now on the stand, testifying about the finances of Bernard Kilpatrick.

11:15--Another donor: Now on the stand is David Upmeyer, whose company Tetra Tech was solicited to give money to the Civic Fund.

11:10--Golf, anyone?  Kilpatrick lawyer Jim Thomas has been suggesting to Prime that things like golf can actually be legitimate business expenses. Prime acknowledged that when playing a round is done to help arrange a business deal, it can be a legitimate expense.  No doubt Thomas is trying to lay the foundation for a defense that expenses like golf were for the Civic Fund's benefit, and not personal.

But the government didn't miss a beat. 

"Did Loop Capital purchase your golf clubs?" asked Asst. U.S. Attorney Eric Doeh.

"No," Prime responded.

Doeh is referring to the $3,000 golf clubs that the Civic Fund purchased for Kilpatrick.

10:51--No deal for Mercado: There's a rumor going around that Victor Mercado isn't in court because he's cutting a plea deal.  But that's patently false, says his lawyer John Minoch.  He says his client is reviewing court documents that previously weren't made available to him, and that a plea deal isn't on Mercado's radar.

10:30--Break time: Stay with us.

10:22--Another donor: We're hearing from yet another individual whose company gave to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.  Fred Prime of Loop Capital Management, a company that had business with the city, gave three $10,000 checks to the Civic Fund.

10:10--Not for Kwame: It's important to note that the lease here was to house Kilpatrick's family, but not him.  Shortly after he wrote those checks, the former mayor would begin his stay in a rent-free property known as the Wayne County jail. 

10:04--Civic Fund paid: The Civic Fund covered four-months of the 6-month lease, according to Salaam.  A $9,400 check was issued by the non-profit on September 18, 2008.  The next day, another check for $1,050 was issued by the Civic Fund, presumably for the property management fees.   A separate $2,350 check was also written by the non-profit to cover the security deposit. That brings the total from the Civic Fund to $12,800.  Kilpatrick paid $4,700 for the lease with his personal checking account. 

10:00--Luxury apartment: Kilpatrick ultimately settled on a 6-month lease for a residence at the Park Shelton in Detroit, a luxury condominium complex in Midtown.  The security deposit alone was $2,350, while the lease itself cost $14,100.  Kilpatrick was also charged $1,050 for property management services, bringing the total cost to $17,500.

9:56--Realtor on the stand: Aaliyah Salaam is now on the stand.  She's a realtor who said one of her colleagues told her of a "high profile person" that wanted to see one of her properties.  That person was Kwame Kilpatrick and his wife.

9:52--What if? Who doesn't love a five-year-old?  Jim Thomas is asking Butler whether celebrating the educational accomplishments of five-year-olds would be a worthy purpose to donate to. He's talking about the payment from the Civic Fund to the Kilpatrick's pre-school.  Butler, though, seemed uninterested in answering and dodged Thomas's question.

9:44--$5,000: Capri Capital Partners wrote a check for $5,000 to the Civic Fund.  Butler said her company donated because it often supports philanthropic goals in the communities they work in, and the Civic Fund fit that mission. 

Would she have donated had she known any of that money would be used on the mayor's personal or campaign expenses,?  No, Byrd told Asst. U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell. 

9:40--Witness 3: Like yesterday, we're moving through witnesses quickly today.  On the stand now is Gwendolyn Butler, the president of Capri Capital Partners out of Chicago, an investment firm that did business with the city's pension fund.  Like other witnesses yesterday, her company was solicited to donate to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund. 

9:28--Unusual

payment: Byrd says she cannot remember ever receiving a check that size from the parent of one of her students.  It's unclear what exactly the $5,000 payment covered, other than what appears to be a trip to Ohio's Cedar Point, and a large tent for a party. 

9:21--Pre-school teacher: There's something of a pre-school reunion going on in federal court this morning.  Kwame Kilpatrick is being reunited with his twins' pre-school teacher, Linda Byrd.  She just testified that Kilpatrick's boys graduated in 2002, which would fit nicely with the timing of the $5,000 check.

9:18--Really for school? A $5,000 check from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund to a pre-school that the mayor's sons attended was shown in court last week.  The feds said Kilpatrick's kids graduated that year, but the mayor's lawyer said the kids weren't even students there anymore, and suggested it was just a donation to a school Kilpatrick cared about. 

Well today,  agent Sauer was brought back on the stand to show a check that Kilpatrick had signed just days earlier from his personal account.  It was much smaller, only $156, and the mayor's sons names were in the memo line: "Jalani & Jalil Grad/Cedar Pt." 

9:17--Ferguson gives to Civic Fund: In March 2008, shortly after the mayor's text message scandal broke, Bobby Ferguson wrote a $75,000 check from his company Ferguson Enterprises to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.

9:12--Missing defendant:  Fmr. water department chief Victor Mercado isn't in the courtroom today.  He and one of his lawyers are in the building, said Judge Nancy Edmunds, but they're reviewing documents elsewhere.

9:11--Tie tally:  Time for the mercy rule?  It's another necktie for Kilpatrick, bringing the score to necktie: 12, bow tie: 4. 

9:10--Good morning: Welcome back for day 15 of trial.  The first witness this morning is IRS agent Ron Sauer, who we've seen many times before. 

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