On Trial: Inside The Kwame Kilpatrick Case ( Blog #4 )
Despite what the comments on local news sights like ClickonDetroit.com that paint Kwame Kilpatrick as the antichrist who put Detroit in the sad state it’s in today; some city residents are actually rooting for the former mayor. I ran into a Political Science professor at Oakland University that actually thought “They’re railroading him because he helped his friends and family.” Even a few of the witnesses that were called at the beginning of the US Attorney’s testimonies thought of Kilpatrick as a friend. Two long time employees from the bank that he had a personal loan testified that Kilpatrick spoke to all of the tellers and bankers when he’d visit their branch. Although prosecutors bought these witnesses on the stand to talk about the amounts of cash the mayor deposited on a weekly basis. More testimonies from veteran Detroit police officers who worked on his personal security detail, talked of private jets and trips to the Super Bowl but they also spoke of a man that played hard yet worked even harder.
On Tuesday, a longtime friend of Kilpatrick who introduced him to his wife Carlita back in college at FAMU, Mahlon Clift testified that he took a bag of cash from co-defendant, Bobby Ferguson meant for the mayor. His confession read like a Godfather remake “… because of the love that he has for the Kilpatrick family, he decided to take the money.” By Thursday the focus turned solely to Bobby Ferguson, a long-time comrade of Kilpatrick since matriculating at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School. When Kilpatrick was in the Michigan state legislature, he pushed hard for a state grant worth a quarter of a million dollars for a company called Detroit 3D, run by Ferguson. Allegedly, Ferguson gave $100,000 of that money to Carlita's newly-formed company, U.N.I.T.E. For the money, Mrs. Kilpatrick was to provide resolution and character building for children at Detroit public schools. Prosecutors claim the money was spent on the purchase of a home and to feed the pockets of Kilpatrick enterprise.
Here are the facts:
Carlita has been at the center of controversy ever since 2001 when it was alleged that she assaulted Tamara Greene, the exotic dancer that performed at a long rumored wild party at the Manoogian Mansion, where the mayor of Detroit and his family resides during their tenure. However, it has never been proven that the party actually happened. Greene was murdered months after the alleged party and her killers have never been brought to justice. An investigation done by Attorney General Mike Cox determined that the party was an "urban legend."
Carlita Kilpatricak again stepped into the spotlight when she stood by her husband’s side as he took the role of Chief executive office for the city of Detroit. She seemed to enjoy the status and was often found speaking to organizations in Detroit that applauded the Kilpatrick leadership. Even in 2008 when the text message scandal put a dark cloud over Kilpatrick’s political future, Carlita held her man’s hand as he apologized to Detroiters for his infidelity. He resigned in 2008 and pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by lying in a civil case about having sex with an aide, Christine Beatty.
When Kilpatrick went to jail for perjury in court over the affair, Carlita left Detroit and took her twin boys to Texas where some say she lives the highlife in a suburb of Dallas.
What went down this week that was powerful.
Michigan's former state budget director, Mary Lannoye, told jurors Thursday that she was "angry" when she learned that public grants approved in 2000 at the urging of Kwame Kilpatrick ended up in the hands of the former mayor's wife. She said Kwame Kilpatrick requested a meeting when officials were holding up more money for the group that had given money to his wife."He said he didn't do anything wrong. He was nonchalant," Lannoye said. "I was upset. I was angry at him. These grants were meant to help a local community. ... It's his wife. It gives the appearance of impropriety." When asked why the state didn’t try to recover the money, budget analyst, Lisa Shoemaker who took the stand for a grueling three-hour testimony, said officials felt there was little chance of getting the money back. Instead, the state refused to give the nonprofit the second installment of $250,000.
Until next week, @DarralynnHutson