Kwame Kilpatrick's Unreal World - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Kwame Kilpatrick's Unreal World

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Hizzoner took cash, swag and private flights -- with no questions asked

(WJBK) – Late one recent Friday night, one of my hockey buddies handed me $100 in the parking lot outside the rink.

I didn't need to ask what it was for, but he explained anyway when he thanked me for floating him a loan to cover his share of our summer skate.

Last Friday, I asked our goalie what size shirt he wears.

"What, are we getting each other Christmas presents now?" he answered.

See, this is how the real world works: A guy gives you dough, you know what it's for.

You ask a guy about his shirt size and his reaction is: "Oh, great. Does this mean I'M on the hook for something now?"

But Kwame Kilpatrick did not live in the real world.

When frat buddy Mahlon Clift delivered $90,000 in two installments, Kilpatrick didn't say, "My man, what's this all about?"

When Emma Bell reached into her bra during meetings in a private room off the mayor's office and handed over tens thousands of dollars, Kilpatrick never said, "Madam, what is the meaning of this?"

When Johnson Akinwusi paid off nearly $5,000 of Kilpatrick's layaway tab, the mayor didn't even call him to say, "Who are you and what do you want?"

And when Tony Soave asked Kilpatrick if he planned to reimburse him for any of the nearly $400,000 worth of free flights he provided the mayor, his family and friends, all Kilpatrick said was "I'll get back to you."

He never did.

It's up to the jury to determine whether these transactions -- as well as the $10,000 Kilpatrick hit up contractor Jon Rutherford for so he could buy suits in Dubai and the $10,000 the mayor asked contractor Karl Kado for -- were illegal.

What I can tell you is that it's damned crazy.

It's also a good measure how screwed up city hall got under Kilpatrick, and how his hijinks have warped the minds of some otherwise clear-headed folks.

See, none of these transactions have been contested by Kilpatrick's lawyers.

When they cross-examined Clift, Bell, Akinwusi and Soave, the grilling consisted of questions like: "Did Kilpatrick order you to make the payments?" and "Did anyone threaten you with harm if you didn't?"

Amazingly, the defense team never questioned whether the money or swag was handed over. And we've heard no testimony whatsoever that suggests the mayor was surprised, let alone offended, by the gifts. Hell, Kilpatrick's lawyer has even volunteered that there was a Red Party at the Atheneum

Hotel at which people were encouraged to fill a box or a hat with cash for Hizzoner -- as if this sort of thing was normal!

Perhaps Hizzoner's lawyers are waiting to address all this when they put on their case.

Perhaps they plan to put Hizzoner on the stand to testify that he was shocked and appalled by these apparent efforts to influence him.

Perhaps he will testify that he took all of that loot and gave it to the poor.

And perhaps this column is being typed by a thousand of those flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz -- or that room full of chimps who banged out all of Bill Shakespeare's best stuff.

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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