Kilpatrick, on trial in federal court on racketeering charges, is alleged to have leveraged hundreds of thousands of dollars in free jet flights, shopping trips and other items from Soave, who has extensive business holdings.
Soave, 72, of Grosse Pointe Farms told the court Thursday Kilpatrick instructed him to hire Bobby Ferguson, a co-defendant along with Kilpatrick's father, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"He said 'use Bobby Ferguson.' You don't want to hear it, but I keep on telling you that's the way it went," Soave said.
In four hours of testimony, Soave employed humor as he parried questions from defense attorney Michael Rataj about his reputation for being tough, the newspaper said.
"You're a tough guy, aren't you?" Rataj asked.
"No," Soave said, "I'm a lovable guy."
"You're not the kind of person someone can intimidate or threaten easily, isn't that true?" Rataj asked.
"By certain people, I can get pushed around," Soave said.
"I have been pushed around before," Soave said.
When Rataj suggested no one could intimidate Soave, the businessman responded that wasn't so, citing "my grandkids, and you" as examples.