Detroit

Man Says Ex-Detroit Mayor Got $400,000 in Free Flights

Witness in corruption trial says he didn't want to get on the wrong side of him

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A businessman testified Wednesday that then-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was a frequent flier aboard his private planes, taking 20 round-trip flights worth nearly $400,000 but never paying a dime in return.

Tony Soave said he was uncomfortable with the arrangement but didn't want to cross the mayor and jeopardize any work with the city. He was a government witness on the 35th day of a corruption trial, a sweeping case of alleged extortion, bribery and rigged contracts during Kilpatrick's nearly seven years in office.

"It's hard to turn a mayor down," said Soave, the head of Soave Enterprises, based in Detroit. "I didn't want to get on the wrong side of him. I wanted to keep him happy."