28 Years in Prison for Corrupt ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

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  • DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced Thursday to 28 years in prison for corruption, the apparent last step after a series of scandals destroyed his political career and helped steer a crisis-laden city even deeper into trouble.

    Kilpatrick, who served as mayor from 2002 until fall 2008, fattened his bank account by tens of thousands of dollars, traveled the country in private planes and even strong-armed his campaign fundraiser for stacks of cash hidden in her bra, according to evidence at trial.

    “I’m ready to go so the city can move on,” Kilpatrick told the judge. “The people here are suffering, they’re hurting. A great deal of that hurt I accept responsibility for.”

    In March, Kilpatrick, 43, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. The government called it the “Kilpatrick enterprise,” a years-long scheme to shake down contractors and reward allies. He was doomed by his own text messages, which revealed efforts to fix deals for a pal, Bobby Ferguson, an excavator who got millions of dollars in city work through the water department.

    Contractors said they were forced to take on Ferguson as a partner or risk losing lucrative deals. The government alleged that he in turn shared cash with Kilpatrick.

    Agents who pored over bank accounts and credit cards said Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his salary during his time as mayor. Defense attorneys tried to portray the money as generous gifts from political supporters who opened their wallets for birthdays or holidays.

    The government said Kilpatrick also tapped a nonprofit fund, which was created to help distressed Detroit residents, to pay for yoga, camps for his kids, golf clubs and travel.

    “A man with the charisma and ability of Mr. Kilpatrick chose to use his talents on personal aggrandizement and enrichment when he had the potential to do so much for the city,” Judge Nancy Edmunds said before imposing the sentence.

    The sentence was a victory for prosecutors, who had recommended Kilpatrick serve at least 28 years in prison, while defense attorneys argued for no more than 15 years.

    “I want the city to heal. I want it to prosper. I want the city to be great again,” Kilpatrick said in his remarks to the judge. “I want the city to have the same feeling it had in 2006 when the Super Bowl was here.”

    Kilpatrick, a Democrat, quit office in 2008 in a different scandal that was extraordinary at the time but seems smaller compared with the sweeping federal probe that has led to the convictions of more than 30 people. Sexually explicit text messages revealed that Kilpatrick had lied during a trial to cover up an affair with his top aide, Christine Beatty, and to hide the reasons for demoting or firing police officers who suspected wrongdoing at city hall.

    Detroit voters soon will elect a third mayor since Kilpatrick’s departure, although the city is under the control of an emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, for at least another year. Orr, with the blessing of Michigan’s governor, took Detroit into bankruptcy in July, saying there was no other way to solve $18 billion in long-term debt. The case is pending.

    “Kilpatrick is not the main culprit of the city’s historic bankruptcy, which is the result of larger social and economic forces at work for decades. But his corrupt administration exacerbated the crisis,” prosecutors said in a court filing last week.

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    24 thoughts on “28 Years in Prison for Corrupt ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

    1. I’ve read some of the comments above. I’m white. I don’t have a problem with black people. But this needs to be said: stop playing the race card. Many white people are put away for long prison terms these days. Just a few examples: Bernard Madoff, Jeff Skilling, Rod Blagojevich, Allen Stanford, Lee Farkas, John Rigas, Bernard Ebbers, Philip Barry, Jimmy Dimora. Each one of these guys was a piece of crap and got what they deserved. So did Kwame.

      I’m the first to admit that things were pretty messed up in the 50′s. But all the white people who perpetrated that bullshit are dead now. Today the playing field is pretty level. And if you think white people are one big happy family think again. White people screw over other white people to get ahead all the time.

    2. Good, he should have gotten life, I am sick, and tired of these sleazy politicians, especially the black ones, Obama, included. We take time out of our busy schedules to put their black behinds in office, and this is how we’re repaid. As African Americans we suffer from very high unemployment, our neighborhoods are plagued with crime, and Detroit, and Chicago are two of the worse cities with these problems. These so called politicians never deal with real issues that effect our lively hood, all they do is talk a good talk, I’m tired of empty speeches that don’t amount to anything. I don’t vote just so they can live high on the hog, jet setting all over the world, taking 4 or 5 vacations in one year, wearing designer clothes, and collecting a big fat pay check, while many of us that voted for these crooks are still suffering, if things are going to stay the same for us as people, what’s the point of voting them in office?

    3. Detroit has been run by Democrats and their Gimmedats for over a generation (forty years). Want to see what Democrat social policy, taxation, and politics will do to America? Look at Detroit. Kwame ain’t the least bit unusual for such a regime.

    4. Kwame was offered a plea deal for 15 years but he rejected it and ended up having to serve 28 instead. I bet he wishes he had taken the plea deal now.

    5. Capricorn, he didn’t get 28 years for being an arrogant jerk. He received 28 years for corruption. If people were locked up for being arrogant jerks the jails would be full.

    6. This sentence is way too much. 28 years for being an arrogant jerk!!! His white counterpart would have not received this harsh sentence. He deserves time but not this much, 5- 10 years maybe but his whole life. Black men have and will always recieve harsher sentences. Wow!

      • A man walked into a doctor’s office and raised his right arm and said “every time I do this, it hurts”. The doctor replied “then don’t do that”. If Black men know they are given harsher sentences for the same crimes than the same crimes being committed by people of other races, why do they keep committing crimes?

    7. The citizen of Detroit placed him in office to act in the best interest of the citizens and the city. Kwame is the one who decided to become a corrupt mayor. Kwame was an attorney and was well aware of the justice system history of not treating blacks fairly but he still chose to break the law. The text messages, which were in his own words, showed just how corrupt he was while he was the mayor.
      He was a young man who couldn’t handle the power he was given and now he’s paying for all the shady deals and stealing he did while he was in office. Like he stated at his sentencing “he’s done.”

    8. Hey Leroy, Check the youtube for Goldman Sachs hearings in 2009. They are criminals on Wall Street. They just change the laws to sway perception. You buy the politicians and they tweek the rules to favor the wealthy, elite, white males in this country. That is fact

    9. This sentence is excessively harsh considering what he did. No white public official would do so much time and they would have stolen millions! He only got hundreds of thousands of dollars and was truly no worse than any other politician out there. In fact, he was moderate compared to the things other white politicians are involved in! I’m sick and tired of the inequities in the justice system that go on in this country and I pray to God to stop it! Don Johnson the former Miami Vice star got caught trying to smuggle a billion dollars in bank securities in behest of a large investment concern here in the U.S. and they never mentioned him going to jail and have tried to keep this hush hush for years! We still have a long way to go in this country!

    10. That is a tough sentence for him to have face… but what about his family? His wife in particular… she now stands to be further humiliated by his mistress in her sharing of her affair with him in Essence magazine. Ms. Beatty should just quietly fade away and give Mrs. Kilpatrick space, and time to heal from Ms. Beatty part in breaking the bonds of a marriage.

    11. Very sad. I feel for those sons. They have to suffer because of the decsions made by the adults around them. 3 Decades behind bars, WOW!

    12. This man gets 28 years in prison, but those Wall Street jerks who dam near bankrupted the country a few years back are still sitting pretty in their Penthouses. Where the f*ck is the justice in that! This sentence was way too harsh! I hope that he appeals and if all else fails, is able to get a pardon! Punished, yes. But this is ridiculous!

      • The difference, Jamil, is that the folks on Wall Street did what they did legally- that is, within the context of the law. The fool got what he deserved. Shame on you for trying to play the “but they did it, too” defense.

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