OCTOBER 09, 2013
Detroit citizens endured a tumultuous period of corruption, scandal, mismanagement and greed under the leadership of their former mayor, say federal prosecutors in asking a judge to slap the thug with nearly three decades in prison.
It would mark the harshest punishment for public corruption in U.S. history, but the truth is no one deserves it more than Kwame Kilpatrick. If this were the Olympics, he’d get the gold. If it were the Tour de France he’d wear the yellow jersey. Even among today’s dirty politicians, Kilpatrick sticks out among the pack, even compared to the Louisiana congressman (William Jefferson) busted with a $100,000 cash bribe in his freezer!
Convicted of 24 corruption charges, Kilpatrick operated monstrous extortion, kickback and bribery schemes in which virtually all parts of city government were up for grabs for the right price. He also lived the high life on taxpayer dime, charging hundreds of thousands of dollars on city-issued credit cards for pro football tickets, fancy spas and restaurants, rock concerts and family trips to Las Vegas. Kilpatrick even had taxpayers pick up the $42,000 tab to lease two luxury vehicles for his wife and he put his friends and relatives on the city payroll.
But the single transgression Kilpatrick is most famous for involves lying under oath and billing his constituents north of $8 million to cover up an extramarital affair with a city staffer. Cops on the mayor’s security team were forced out of their job for raising questions about the affair and the city kept the wrongfully terminated officers quiet with an $8.4 million settlement. Kilpatrick and city-paid lawyers masterminded the secret deal, but two local newspapers got wind of it and obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act.
“And worst of all, he did it in a city where poverty, crime and a lack of basic services made it one of the most vulnerable metropolitan areas in the nation,” prosecutors write in their 57-page sentencing memo. “The scale of his corruption was astonishing. The impact on the region was devastating.” The document goes on to say that Kilpatrick is more culpable — and his conduct more pervasive — than any other public corruption defendant sentenced in recent memory.
Kilpatrick is scheduled to be sentenced this week in a Michigan federal court. U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds will do the honors. In its lengthy sentencing memo to the judge, the Department of Justice (DOJ) rehashes the multitude of crimes committed by the disgraced mayor, reminding the court that he abused the public’s trust for years and put his own needs before those of the impoverished city he supposedly served.
Judicial Watch has for years followed Kilpatrick’s storied career, documenting his transgressions since he first moved into the mayor’s mansion in 2002. At the time he was considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, a self-described “Hip-Hop Mayor,” sporting a diamond stud earring. Party leaders quickly reconsidered after Kilpatrick spent a great deal of his first term partying with strippers at the mayor’s mansion and billing the public for his lavish lifestyle.
When Kilpatrick finally got arrested and charged for his crimes, he was quick to play the race card, accusing the media and his political opponents of subjecting him and his family to racial slurs and death threats. Text messages obtained by Detroit’s local newspaper had already revealed Kilpatrick’s modus operandi: “Blame the other guy, resist efforts at transparency and don’t be afraid to play the race card.”
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