MARCH 19, 2008
In a major blow to an elected official who committed perjury to hide an extramarital affair that cost taxpayers millions of dollars, the Detroit City Council has overwhelmingly voted to oust Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Even the self-described “Hip Hop” mayor’s strong supporters, who have defended him and resisted calls for his resignation, finally agree that he should go amid the latest chapter in his scandalous tenure. Kilpatrick lied under oath to conceal an extramarital affair with a city employee during a police whistleblower case.
He subsequently masterminded a secret multi million-dollar settlement with the officers, who had been fired for raising questions about his security team which could have led them to discover the affair. The city paid the wronged officers $8.4 million and covered up the mess by keeping details of the arrangement secret even though tax dollars were spent.
It’s the latest of many scandals since Kilpatrick became mayor in 2002. He spent a great deal of his first term partying with strippers at the mayor’s mansion and got busted for charging more than $210,000 on his city-issued credit card for personal travel, meals and entertainment. Kilpatrick also used $25,000 of public funds to lease a fancy sports utility vehicle for his wife at a time when Detroit’s $230 million budge deficit forced the elimination of 3,000 city jobs and cuts in bus service.
The outlaw mayor also gave companies owned by his good friend at least $45 million worth of city contracts and he assured his buddy sealed the deals by delivering bid strategies and sensitive information through his chief of staff and mistress, Christine Beatty. Incidentally, Beatty also committed perjury relating to the affair and had the decency to resign from her city job.
Cocky and in denial about his deplorable behavior, Kilpatrick sees no valid reason to resign. Prosecutors have yet to charge him with perjury, despite undisputable concrete evidence that he lied about his affair with Beatty under oath at trial. A Detroit newspaper published a series of sexually explicit text messages exchanged between the secret lovers on their city-owned pagers during their year-long heated romance. Kilpatrick subsequently confessed during a public apology yet Wayne County’s prosecutor, notorious for being soft on crime and bargaining with armed felons, has refused to file charges.
Perhaps feeling invincible that he has not been criminally charged, Kilpatrick insists that he won’t go and dismissed the council’s shameful rebuke as meaningless because it is nonbinding. The controversial mayor also blames incredible media scrutiny and pressure for the council’s overwhelming resignation call.
There is one group that still supports the disgraced mayor unconditionally, however, and it held a pep rally this week to demonstrate solidarity. Two hundred paroled felons offered Kilpatrick hugs, handshakes and cries of “We love you” and “We all make mistakes.” Perhaps one day the good mayor will pay for his mistakes behind bars like members of his fan club.
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