The Investigators examine the mysterious Kilpatrick Civic Fund
11:16 AM, May 23, 2010
DETROIT (WXYZ) - - Since it was founded more than 10 years ago, the Kilpatrick
Civic Fund has been shrouded in secrecy. Through the years the
fund’s directors have collected more than a million dollars
in donations, but never reported how the money was spent. That
changed in court today, as prosecutors revealed where some of that
money’s been going.
When the Civic Fund was founded, its purpose was to enhance
Detroit neighborhoods, improve the lives of city children, and
promote the importance of voting. But today in court,
prosecutor’s revealed that, at least lately, one of the
fund’s chief beneficiaries has been the Kilpatrick
Kwame Kilpatrick/Fmr. Detroit Mayor: A non-profit
political education, community, education corporation.
That’s how Kwame Kilpatrick described his tax-exempt
non-profict Civic Fund in court today. When an Action News
investigation in 2007 found that the fund was used for an $8,600
week-long vacation for the Kilpatrick family at an exclusive
California resort, remember what happened? His then-chief-of-staff
Christine Beatty held a news conference claiming that our Steve
Wilson somehow broke the law in his investigation that exposed the
Christine Beatty/Fmr. Chief of Staff: He obtained
this information through trickery and deceit for the purposes of
impugning the reputation of Kwame Kilpatrick.
And back in court today, prosecutors made it clear they’ve
now dug up additional information to confirm that the fund has
continued to serve as a personal piggy bank.
Athina Siringas/Asst. Wayne County Prosecutor: And
then there are two separate checks, sir, from the Kilpatrick Civic
Kilpatrick admitted that he used the fund for moving expenses
when his family went to Florida after the text message scandal was
exposed in January of 2008. Then, after the mayor resigned and had
to move out of the Manoogian, the fund doled out some more.
Kwame Kilpatrick: They had a meeting and decided
to pay for us to have some transitional housing services.
Kilpatrick acknowledged it was the fund that has been paying
plenty to move him and his family from place to place.
Athina Siringas: Move your family from Florida to
Dallas, Texas was paid for by the Civic Fund?
Kwame Kilpatrick: I don’t know what they
paid for. There were a few different moves. One from Detroit to
Florida. There’s one from Florida to Texas, so I don’t
know exactly what the Civic Fund decided they would pay for.
But as the day wore on, it became clear that while Kilpatrick
has been pleading poverty and asking for lower restitution
payments, he’s also been living pretty well since he left
Athina Siringas: Use of your ATM debit card. Golf
game. Smoothie Kings. Nail Salons. Gucci shoes.
Wayne County prosecutors aren’t the only ones taking a
close look at the Kilpatrick Civic Fund – so is the FBI. The
Detroit News recently reported that a Chicago businessman told the
feds that he gave $10,000 to the fund, in exchange for
Kilpatrick’s support of a multi-million dollar investment
deal. When questioned by Action News, Kilpatrick said he had no
knowledge of the report. We tried to reach the attorney for the
Kilpatrick Civic Fund, but so far he's not called us back.