Prosecutors: Kilpatrick insisted $75,000 go to wife`s for-profit - New York News

Prosecutors: Kilpatrick insisted $75,000 go to wife`s for-profit

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Donna Williams, the executive director of Vanguard Community Development Corporation, testified in court Thursday. (Credit: WJBK) Donna Williams, the executive director of Vanguard Community Development Corporation, testified in court Thursday. (Credit: WJBK)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

The focus was on the wife of Kwame Kilpatrick, Carlita, and thousands of dollars during Day 3 of the ex-Detroit mayor's corruption trial.

What we heard Thursday involved events that happened when Kilpatrick was the Democratic leader in the Michigan House. For starters, we should make it clear that Carlita Kilpatrick has not been charged with a crime, but her husband has been charged with plenty and prosecutors say the scheme involved funneling thousands of dollars of state money to his wife.

Vanguard Community Development Corporation has a simple motto. "We must stand for our community in order for our community to stand."

However, federal prosecutors say Kwame Kilpatrick had something else in mind when he steered $300,000 in state grant money to the Detroit non-profit. They say he insisted that $75,000 of the money go to U.N.I.T.E., a for-profit company being run by his wife.

Vanguard Executive Director Donna Williams testified that she found out over the phone.

"I didn't like the phone call," she said outside of court.

Williams said that when she met Carlita Kilpatrick it was for an introduction not an interview because in her mind the deal was already done.

Carlita Kilpatrick's contract was unlike other deals. Instead of billing for work as she did it, the future first lady billed Vanguard up front for $23,000 for materials and $52,000 for services for a total of $75,000.

Defense attorneys accused Williams of testifying against the former mayor because her sister is a federal prosecutor in the very unit battling Kilpatrick.

"We discussed these things long before my sister was in the Public Corruption Unit. I'm very proud of my sister. She surely doesn't need me to make a good reputation for herself," Williams told us.

Williams said she liked Carlita Kilpatrick even though she didn't earn the money she was paid.

"Mrs. Kilpatrick is a very intelligent woman. I enjoyed knowing her. Had we met under other circumstances in a different way, I could easily see her being somebody that we brought on board."

In the end, Carlita Kilpatrick only got a little more than half of the money she was expecting. Williams said that's because state officials didn't like how the money was being spent and that got Williams an earful from then state Representative Kilpatrick, who accused her of screwing up by telling some state officials that Vanguard's grant money had gone to his wife.

Jim Schaefer and I met Ms. Williams about four years ago when I was working for the Free Press and we were investigating some of the improprieties that we had found in the Kilpatrick administration in the wake of the text message scandal. Our stories at that time came into the court hearing on Thursday because there was a question over whether Williams had been completely up front and accurate in what she had said. My suspicion is that she didn't tell us the whole story back then because she had no idea where this thing was going to end up.

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