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Kwame Kilpatrick Latest

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BY M. L. Elrick
FOX 2 News


We've seen a lot of strange deals in the Kilpatrick trial but today was one of the strangest.  A Detroit contractor testifies that he mended a riff with the Mayor of Detroit and stitched up a multi-million dollar deal with some advice from his tailor.

Johnson Akinwusi was a Gil Hill man back in 2001 ... favoring the city council president over Kwame Kilpatrick ...

But after Gil Hill lost the race ... Akinwusi says he lost business.

But all was not lost ... Akinwusi testified that Christine Beatty suggested that he contribute ten grand to the mayor's non-profit civic fund ... he also got some good advice from his tailor.

Akinwusi said Larry Alebesu, seen here with Kilpatrick, suggested he send Kilpatrick a letter and pay for his suit ... so he put forty-five hundred bucks down on the mayor's layaway account at Fashion International.

Kilpatrick declined to address the allegations.

"Ya'll are thirsty," laughs former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Akinwusi said he used another strategy to get a city deal ... partnering with Bobby Ferguson ... together, they were hired to build a new Heilmann Recreation Center ... but Akinwusi, like other witnesses, said Ferguson's company didn't do much work.

Defense attorney Gerald Evelyn refuted that  ... producing a stack of documents showing that ferguson employees worked on the project.

Evelyn also showed that akinwusi didn't attend several meetings involving ferguson employees ... but said it's up to the jury -- and even reporters -- to determine whether that undermines akinwusi's credibility.

"You guys are smart people.  you know how to ask questions  ... ask yourself some questions, " says Gerald Evelyn.

The tailor is expected to take the witness stand on Monday where he'll tell a slightly different story than his contractor friend.  But the elements will essentially be the same.  You put one friend together with another friend and that's how business in Detroit gets done.

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