Kwame Kilpatrick put the 'FUN' in Civic Fund - FOX 32 News Chicago

Kwame Kilpatrick put the 'FUN' in Civic Fund

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Kwame Kilpatrick , seen here while he was still Detroit's mayor. Kwame Kilpatrick , seen here while he was still Detroit's mayor.

By M.L. Elrick
Fox 2 Investigative Reporter


DETROIT (WJBK) -- The Kilpatrick Civic Fund espoused lofty goals:

"To promote community activities that enhance the neighborhoods in which the citizens of Detroit reside as well as those activities that contribute to the betterment of the lives of the youth of Detroit and surrounding communities."

But in 10 years of reporting on the nonprofit's activities, I have yet to see proof that it spent any of the more than $1.8 million it raised on its noble purpose.

Instead, that loot was spent on:

A Cadillac DeVille for Kwame Kilpatrick;

Political polling for Kilpatrick's first mayoral campaign;

A romantic getaway in Vail for Kilpatrick and mistress Christine Beatty;

Yoga lessons for Kilpatrick and his associates;

Golf clubs and a carry bag embroidered with "MAYOR";

A stay at a luxury resort for Kilpatrick and his family;

Camp fees for the sons of Kilpatrick and a former frat buddy;

Countersurveillance equipment;

Crisis managers;

A donation to Kilpatrick's alma mater (which he later falsely claimed as a deduction on his personal tax return);

Tuition assistance for Kilpatrick's half-sister and cousin;

Stays at water parks for Kilpatrick family and friends;

A six-figure consulting fee for Kilpatrick's mistress;

Rent for the nonprofit after it moved into his sister's house;

Moving costs for Kilpatrick's family;

And rent for Kilpatrick's family.

Since its founding in 1999, the nonprofit's officials have refused to disclose specifics on expenditures that would benefit anyone who is not a friend or family member of Kwame Kilpatrick.

The closest they've ever come was in 2007 when, responding to criticism of a luxury resort stay by Kilpatrick and his family, Beatty and another Kilpatrick Civic Fund leader said the mayor spent some of the trip soliciting donations for the fund. They refused to identify with whom Kilpatrick met.

They also claimed the fund paid for voter-education drives, town meetings to educate seniors on the dangers of reverse mortgages, and money for marching bands and Detroit public schools. Again, they offered no specifics.

Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas has argued in court that spending that burnished Kilpatrick's image was justified because, as the titular head of the fund, any taint to his name would affect fundraising.

And, as we all know, Kilpatrick did plenty during his six years as mayor to taint his name.

Unfortunately, it appears the fund spent so much money repairing Kilpatrick's image -- and raising money so it could spend money to repair Kilpatrick's image -- that there was little left to help the people the fund was supposedly created to help.

Hopefully, Thomas will provide some evidence that ordinary Detroiters benefited in some way -- any way -- from the fund after the defense goes on the offense.

In the meantime, we're left with the distinct impression that the nonprofit's real purpose is buried within its name.

Take the D, 2 Cs, V and 2 Is out of "Kilpatrick Civic Fund," and you're left with the account's REAL purpose:

K-I-L-P-A-T-R-I-C-K  F-U-N.

Follow M.L. Elrick's coverage of the Kilpatrick & Co. trial daily on FOX 2 and at www.myfoxdetroit.com. Contact him at ml.elrick@foxtv.com or via Twitter (@elrick) or Facebook. And catch him every Friday morning around 7:15 a.m. on Drew & Mike on WRIF, 101.1 FM. He is co-author of "The Kwame Sutra: Musings on Lust, Life and Leadership from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick," available at www.kwamesutra.com. A portion of sales benefit the Eagle Sports Club and Soar Tutoring. Learn more at www.eaglesports.com.

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