Attorney: New stripper claim says there was a Manoogian party
Detroit — A third stripper is offering fresh claims of a long-rumored Manoogian Mansion party and that former first lady Carlita Kilpatrick assaulted exotic dancer Tamara “Strawberry” Greene, according to a federal court filing Sunday.
Stripper Tamika Ruffin testified that she was offered $1,000 to perform at the Manoogian party. Aside from seeing a table topped with cocaine and marijuana and about 10 uniformed officers, she saw Carlita Kilpatrick storm into the mansion while Greene was performing a lap dance for former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
“Who is this (expletive)?” the mayor’s wife is accused of saying. “Get the (expletive) off my husband.”
Carlita Kilpatrick and Greene then got into a fistfight, according to Ruffin’s deposition.
The claim was the latest allegation to surface in a civil lawsuit filed by Greene’s family, accusing the city and Kilpatrick of quashing an investigation into her death.
The claims were included in a multi-pronged attack by Greene family lawyer Norman Yatooma against attempts by the city of Detroit and Kwame Kilpatrick to dismiss the case.
Among the new allegations: Two of Kilpatrick’s bodyguards, Loronzo Jones and Greg Martin, were caught on video − tape attending Greene’s funeral. Pastor Kenneth Hampton of Grace Bible Church in Detroit turned over a copy of the tape to Detroit Police executives, according to the filing.
Yet the videotape and funeral registry are missing from the homicide file, Yatooma wrote.
Kilpatrick had an extramarital affair with Sheryl Robinson Wood, the former federal monitor overseeing police department reforms.
In making the accusation, Yatooma cited a deposition the former mayor gave in the case.
“Incredibly, Kilpatrick testified that he had no recollection of how many times he had sex with Wood, the location of the trysts, or even the year in which they occurred,” Yatooma wrote.
Wood, who was named the federal monitor in 2003, resigned in July 2009 after the FBI discovered text messages — later deemed by a judge as “inappropriate” — between her and Kilpatrick.
But until Sunday, no one had publicly accused the pair of having an affair.
Yatooma claims the affair illustrates how the disgraced mayor and his administration interfered with police activities, including the probe into Greene’s unsolved death.
Neither Kilpatrick lawyer James Thomas nor the mayor’s publicist, Mike Paul, returned phone calls seeking comment Sunday.
City spokesman Dan Lijana declined comment Sunday.
It’s not enough for Yatooma to prove a cover-up existed; he also has to show the cover-up prevented the city from identifying Greene’s killer, said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University.
“That’s the toughest part here,” Henning said. “It’s not an easy case.”
There should be few surprises left if the case goes to trial, Henning said.
The filing spins an account of how, in 2002, a newly elected Kilpatrick appointed friends to key city posts to watch his back and those same people eventually “turned a blind eye to misconduct occurring within Kilpatrick’s inner circle.”
Yatooma notes how the probe was hindered by missing police files and investigators blocked from pursuing leads. Sgt. Odell Godbold, who found himself on a newly created assignment working out of the basement of the Fisher Building, testified people received “multiple, multiple promotions as a result” of hindering the Greene homicide investigation.
The filing repeated claims from several individuals, including two that have been discounted.
Wilson Kay Jr., a convicted felon with a history of mental illness, said he worked security at the party, and signed an affidavit that he saw Carlita Kilpatrick assault Greene.
And the filing relies on a deposition from fired city emergency medical technician Cenobio Chapa. Chapa claimed he was at Detroit Receiving Hospital in the fall of 2002 when an injured woman showed up for treatment. The woman claimed to have been assaulted by Carlita Kilpatrick, he said.
Chapa, who was fired after airing his claim, lost his whistleblower lawsuit against the city earlier this month.
According to Sunday’s filing, the Kilpatrick administration had an established practice of interfering with and shutting down investigations into potential wrongdoing by Kilpatrick and his inner circle.
“The Greene case illustrates what happens when those responsible for the enforcement of the laws and the protection of the public are themselves the law- breakers,” Yatooma wrote.
The civil lawsuit accuses Detroit and Kilpatrick of quashing an investigation into Greene’s death in 2003. Greene, 27, was killed in a drive-by shooting several months after she was linked to a rumored but never proven party at the mayor’s mansion in fall 2002.
The city and Kilpatrick have asked Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen to dismiss the case, arguing that five years and numerous depositions have failed to prove any allegations. City attorneys maintain Greene was killed because of a drug feud.
The five-year-old case has captivated the public and alleged wrongdoing by a host of local and state government leaders.
The filing repeats long-standing accusations that Kilpatrick and members of his administration interfered with the police investigation into Greene’s death, making it impossible to identify her killer.
It alleges Greene danced at the Manoogian Mansion party and was giving a lap dance to Kilpatrick when his wife Carlita entered the home and assaulted Greene.
The filing summarizes Ruffin’s deposition. The dancer said she saw Greene and Carlita Kilpatrick scuffle and Greene appeared to be winning the fight until Carlita Kilpatrick struck Greene with what appeared to be either a “two-by-four,” a “baton” or a “table leg,” according to the filing.
“It was big,” Ruffin testified.
While the fight continued, Ruffin ran out of the mansion and ducked behind a car parked a few houses away. While hiding, she saw three police cars arrive at the Manoogian.
Greene later stayed at Ruffin’s home for three weeks, during which time Carlita Kilpatrick repeatedly called Greene’s cell phone, threatening her, according to Ruffin’s deposition.
Ruffin could no be reached for comment Sunday. Yatooma said he has no idea of here’s whereabouts.
“I can’t get in touch with her. She ran from us,” he said in an email response to The News. “We had to file a motion to have her held in contempt of court before we could get her into deposition. She was and is, absolutely terrified.”
The filing also sheds light on the recent deposition of the mayor’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, who repeatedly refused to answer questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.
Bernard Kilpatrick refused to address whether he talked about the party and rumored assault with his son or whether his son admitted covering up the assault and Greene’s death.
Yatooma’s claims of a cover up are supported by what he says are several missing pieces of evidence, including Greene’s cell phone, e-mails from Kilpatrick and his former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, statements from her co-workers, Crime Stoppers tips and handwritten notes by investigators.
Yatooma quotes former Assistant Detroit Police Chief Harold Cureton as saying: “In the police department, if it’s not documented it didn’t happen.”
“This seems to be the approach certain DPD personnel employed with respect to the Greene homicide file,” Yatooma wrote.
The filing labeled the Kilpatrick administration as perhaps one of the most corrupt in the history of Detroit.