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The Mayor Who Won't Go Away

So, the saga of Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit's former mayor, won't end. On Tuesday, a judge here found Kilpatrick guilty of violating key terms of his probation agreement, including failing to disclose and surrender tax refunds, money from political groups and gifts from some of Michigan's wealthiest figures. Rather than immediately closing one of the most draining chapters in this city's history, the judge, David Groner, scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 25.

Kilpatrick, of course, was once a rising star in American politics. In 2002, he became Detroit's youngest mayor, at age 31. His flashy suits, diamond-studded earrings and inaugural “club crawls” proclaimed his comfort with being the country's first “hip-hop mayor.” He was a visionary, charismatic leader who built relationships with Michigan's business establishment, helping extend many of the economic development projects launched by his predecessor. He sliced nearly 10,000 people from Detroit's bloated job rolls, and cut property taxes to keep what's left of this city's middle class. But Kilpatrick clearly believed he was above the law. That unfortunate view led to excessive behavior that overshadowed his professional success.

The turning point came in September 2007. That's when a judge awarded millions to Detroit police officers who charged they were essentially dismissed for investigating concerns about Kilpatrick and his bodyguards' efforts to hide his extramarital affairs. Kilpatrick repeatedly denied the claims. Months later, the Detroit Free Press published text messages proving Kilpatrick had lied under oath about a sexual relationship with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty.

Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice, and was sentenced to six months in prison. Under the terms of his probation, Kilpatrick agreed to resign from office, surrender his law license, as well as public pensions and tax refunds to pay Wayne County, Mich., which includes Detroit, restitution of nearly $1 million. Despite being given a nearly $100,000-plus sales job at a Dallas subsidiary of Detroit-based Compuware, Kilpatrick has claimed that, after living expenses are accounted for, his net monthly income was only $6 and thus, he cannot afford to meet the payment terms of the probation agreement.

Tuesday's hearing at a downtown Detroit courtroom began just after 2p.m. Kilpatrick entered the courtroom wearing a relatively muted black suit, and barely spoke. Then Groner, the judge, laid out the essential facts of the case: Kilpatrick failed to surrender to authorities more than $23,000 in federal, state and local income tax refunds. The former mayor even tapped one of his political funds to cover the nearly $15,000 bill to move his family from its temporary residence in Florida to suburban Dallas. He also failed to disclose that another committee related to his mayoral campaigns spent $11,600 on legal fees and political donations. In addition, he didn't fully disclose nearly $240,000 in gifts from some of Michigan's top business executives, including Peter Karmanos Jr., the chief executive of Compuware.

Groner said he scheduled the sentencing hearing for May 25, “so I can make an accurate decision.” Besides, he added, “What's the point of locking him up now?” Kilpatrick couldn't work, and would be unable to make payments. It's unclear how long a possible sentence for Kilpatrick could last, experts say. “It's as highly publicized a restitution case that has ever graced Michigan's courts,” Larry Dubin, a law professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy, says of the current Kilpatrick case.

The Kilpatrick saga continues to cast a shadow over this region: It regularly dominates local newspapers' front pages, and leads the evening television news. And there may be another chapter: Federal authorities are reportedly investigating allegations that Kilpatrick's father tried to sell access to the mayor's office. “We're just waiting for the other foot to drop,” Dubin says. Then, there's a key lingering question: Why has Compuware – a publicly traded company with a market cap of nearly $2 billion – taken the risk of employing a figure with such an obvious disregard for the law?

Kilpatrick's failures led to the election of Dave Bing, a 66-year-old suburban import whose professorial demeanor may be the best hope for restoring investors' confidence in Detroit. But the ultimate tragedy may be that an entire generation of potential leaders here will be forced to pay for Kilpatrick's sins.

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  • 1

    Sad, really sad. I wish this story would end so that we can begin to highlight the things that are going well with the city

  • 2

    Nothing has set back race relations more than the shenanigans of the Mayor and his "friends".

    Maybe 50 years.

    Now surely you can figure out why people continued to pay him huge sums.

    Lots of prominent people were at the party held as a bachelor party for his Dad.

    Drugs on the dining room table?

    Would you like it to be known that you were there?


  • 3

    My sister in law was carrying on wondering why they don't leave the boy alone.

    Well, she is basically undeucated and doesn't get it.

    In civil societies you simply cannot allow a loose cannon ball rolling around.

    He must be pursued on all fronts until all of the truth comes out.

    Sorry if you don't believe that.

    Kim Worthy is one of my Heroes. In a profession full of meretricious and deceitful people, she stands as a beacon of light and integrity which we are in dire need of.

    And as to whether I wish to be around my sister in law the answer is simply not much and I will not go into other reasons that support my conclusion.

    Actually it is hugely disappointing if not scary.


  • 4

    This person had a very brilliant bar, but still firmly into doing, and this is his misfortune, but also the biggest fault of his life

  • 5

    KK will not go away because the MSM and white folks need him to continue to use him as an example of Black failure and all the other contempt this region has for Black folks and the city

    Look at the shallow comments of Bill when he posts insanity like KK set race relations back years...I have yet to read on this site where white posters like Bill and others make the same declarations about the Tea Party or other interests which have destroyed the racial fabric of this region..This region scapegoated Coleman King for decades..It is always easy to deflect and blame others...Accountibility and responsibilty has never been a strong suite of racists blame the victim is the race card they love to play...

    Worthy is wasting time on this KK instead of indicting the real estate firms which gutted the DPS and caused more harm to the future of the city by damaging the schools Worthy instead wants to play the role of the good colored cop for whites in this region in tracking down that bad negro villan KK there is value for Black folks like Worthy who perform this role for whites in this region..

  • 6

    For me, race is not an issue in this case. Corrupt politicians should be prosecuted, no matter their race, color, or creed. The public trust should not be violated. I don't think ill of black politicians because of Kwame's actions any more than I think ill of white politicians for all the corruption caused by them over the years. (Truth is, I think ill of almost all politicians, but that's a different story.)

    Shameful that an honorable office of the court like Kym Worthy is criticized more harshly for being black and prosecuting a corrupt black politician. That's just messed up. She's doing her job, and doing it well. People who abuse power in high places absolutely deserve more focus than others because they're sphere of influence (and therefore sphere of potential damage) is broader.

    Let's all put on the color-blind glasses and root for justice to prevail.

  • 7

    To gbt2. Just to make clear,I have the deepest respect for people of all colors who live their lives in an honorable manner and stand up for what they value etc.There are plenty of examples of corrupt officials who are white,many who have been pursued.I seem to remember a school board president/embezzler in Redford who was white.This has nothing to do with color.It has everything to do with rationalization/misplaced values/greed/incompetence and corruption.I guess you woukd call Robert Bobb an uncle tom if you see Worthy as one.The bottom line is the people in charge of the city/schools "gutted DPS" .For years blacks longed for the power to control their and their childrens destiny/futures.Since Coleman Young took over,it is fair to say that Detroit became a city largely (how bout 90%)controlled by african americans.DPS after 30 + years of essentially black control, has a 70% drop out rate,the majority of people living in detroit-adults-are functionally illiterate etc.Instead of taking the historic opportunity to lift their city out of despair/poverty and poor education,there was a history of lavish trips by the school board,questionable contracts,mismanagement,incompetent bookkeeping,poor supply ordering,and just pure greed and entitlement.We just were moved by Morse moving in Romulus.The driver was one of the guys who was contracted by DPS to moveconsolidate the supplies/furniture etc., from the closing schools to the schools that will remain open.He told us that he was in one room that was filled top to bottom with brand new /nice push brooms,a closet with over 100 cell phones just rotting,another room full of pencils and YES the toilet paper,that is well documented in the past-to have been UN- available to students.How does a group of people justify and rationalize their corruption/greed in a city where children don't have decent supplies/toilet paper/and where the schools are the worst performing in ANY major US city-It's called rationlization-"It's ok if I do this because."...(fill in here).It is a common practice for people of all races to use rationalization.It allows people who see themselve as "good" people to practice behaviors that harm others-and would normally create mental anguish/guilt and conflict within themselves.Perhaps the guy in Redford rationalized they could afford it. This is still plain wrong.However- NO- clear thinking individual in DPS could EVER rationalize that it is ok to take lavish trips/hoard supplies-whatever-in a school system that so CLEARLY has been failing the very children they claim they want to help have an equal footing in a racist society.I believe you are correct-there is still tons of racism in this area-I'm not arguing that,I'm in a multi-ethic marriage and have a mixed child.My book will be called "The epedmic of rationalization in the downfall of American society" Stop rationalizing people-just do what you KNOW is right!

  • 8

    Coleman married my Wife and I.

    He was a great human being. Did you notice that Governor Milliken commented "Wow, he was a great leader." Did you notice that Governor Milliken published full page Ads against the drift of the Republican party during the prior election?

    I carried the school flag at commencement and read the Great Society speech over LBJ's shoulder. The Republicans turned the War on Poverty into the War on the Poor and they have won that one handily. We saw and continue to see the results of their contract on the middle class.

    Never the less, integrity is everything and we certainly aren't getting that on the recent Handling of the school improvements. The civil rights movement was not about giving one group the right to have no integrity or low integrity at all.

    On the matter of the Republicans, are you clear how Mitt Romney will be picking up huge bucks from the Bond Issue. If you are not then maybe a reporter ought to delve into what the hell is happening.

    It's not right.

    So far they are afraid of it.


  • 9

    If the reporters are afraid then we really do not have a Free Press.


  • 10

    It amazes me how people read what they want to read..I never posted that Worthy should not indict Black criminals nor did I reference my post about her being Black . I never invoked the white folks verbaige and term of 'uncle tom" in discussing Bobb..

    I never indicted the entire state of michigan which has a white governor, majority white legislature with being incapable of governance I imagine I could used the same tatics white folks employ when the demonize the city of Detroit .

    "for years blacks have longed for power" what is so unusual about that ?? since when do groups who have age, gender, culture, class, etc not longed for power..I guess when black folks do it we are different.

    I could care less about books invoking nonsense about rationalization or multicultural couples or coleman young, romulus, whatever.. enough already!!

    My post was simple the KK saga continues because of the MSM and racism. The same garden variety vile nonsense that has always been a partof this region and our nation from the bigots in the Tea Party to the posters like Bill who thinks because he married a white woman he is an expert on Black folks...

    Sometimes I want to scream!!! When will this nightmare ever,lo,lol...WTF makes you wanna holla and throw up both your,lol,lol

    • 10.1

      This is the FIRST time I have EVER responded to ANY blog.You have confirmed what I have always known-It is useless trying to engage someone like yourself in actual intelligent debate by blogging.And a couple more things-"It amazes me that people read what they want to read" are you blind or just a cluless hypocrite.In your NEXT sentence you say in regards to "Worthy"...."nor did I reference my post about her being black".I will now copy here the last 17 words in YOUR original post-..."there is value for BLACK folks like Worthy who perform this role for whites in this region." Guess you "read what you wanted to read"!! I wont go on listing the other issues with your response regarding my post -or Bills.Lets just suffice to say-the above-clearly indicates,it is futile to expect a fair and accurate debate with you.You are a clueless-deluded tool!

  • 11

    Please do me a favor never blog again clearly you lack the depth and substance given your long winded empty trail of words that meant nothing..

    Your comments about me only enbolden me..Now get lost folks like you are bore me

  • 12

    Your comments about me and your fabulous grasp of the english language and spelling-only make me LAUGH!You got some nice "tatics" and "verbaige" geebee !Is verbaige a new color?.Did you graduate from DPS!!? Is gbt2 really Otis Mathis undercover! Goodbye Grossly Befuddled Tool !(2)

  • 13


    SO in other words you cannot measure up to my content. I know when I have dominated and mastered a bloggger when they start posting about spelling and grammar in a chat forum...

    BTW you still bore me....tee hee..Oh yeah and get,lol,lol

  • 14

    Don't forget , Kawamee's mommie is a congresswomen in the U.S. Congress and that will be played for all it is worth. Does the name "Waters" sound fimiliar. Another Detroit..goodie. It seams for the last 40/50 yrs. Detroit has had nothing but crooks as Detroit City Officials who were always applauded no mater what the did, leagally or illeagally. Dennis Archer seemed to be a "fair to midland" Mayor, staying out of the corrupt crowd, at least according to the media.. Mayor Dave Bing seems to be addressing Detroit's problems head on, dealing with them in an honest & open manner. He's cleaning up after 2/3 generations of misguided and corrupt city officials and wish him the best. As a Detroit Piston Dave Bing was a winner. As a businessman "Bing Steel" Dave Bing was a winner. As the Mayor of the City of Detroit Dave Bing will be a winner.

  • 15

    If Kwame had continued to pay his $6000 a month restitution he would be not be facing prison. His arrogance and playing the "poor me" card got him just what he deserves. Living in a million dollar home and crying poverty does not make you sympathetic to anyone. For someone who appeared quite intelligent he sure came across as quite dumb. A former lawyer, mayor of Detroit, and a valued employee of Peter Karmanos, he willl now be popular amongst his peers in prison. Big dreams and aspirations. I'm sure he will come out of prison with a scheme to defraud his loyal followers. Asking for donations on a website? Haven't the good people of Detroit already donated enough money on his behalf? Maybe he can come clean and find Jesus. Become an evangelist. Maybe his "posse" can clean up the mess he made behind during all of his days in Detroit as a righteous citizen.

  • 16

    [...] since we all love drama, I want all my fellow LionsDetroit fans to check out detroit.blogs.time and tell me what you think about[...]

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