Detroit Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Sentenced To Prison

Image by David Simpson

In his 2002 inaugural address, Kilpatrick said:

“ I stand before you as a son of the city of Detroit and all that it represents. I was born here in the city of Detroit, I was raised here in the city of Detroit, I went to these Detroit Public Schools. I understand this city. … This position is personal to me. It’s much more than just politics.

He had the world in his hands. He was the youngest mayor in the history of Detroit, but it wouldn’t stop him from falling from grace.

His crimes consist of lying while under oath multiple times and committing illegal acts connected to his term as Mayor. His troubles began in 2002, at a party at his mansion, which was reportedly off the chain, complete with strippers and alcohol. According to reports, the party was unexpectedly interrupted by Kilpatrick’s wife who arrived home early. It is also stated that Kwame’s wife got into a heated altercation with one of the strippers present, physically attacking the woman, whose name was Tamara Greene.

Ms. Greene would later be gunned down in a second successful attempt on her life. Her boyfriend was in the car with her, but the gunman aimed for Tamara and shot multiple times from a .40 caliber hand-gun. It is believed that the gunman worked in law enforcement, and more specifically, was a Detroit Police Officer. 

Following the party, one of the police officers close to Kwame, Harold C. Nelthrope, contacted Internal Affairs and asked that Mayor Kilpatrick’s office be investigated. The head of the Detroit Police Internal Affairs unit, Gary Brown, and Officer Harold C. Nelthrope were fired following the close of the investigation, which was prematurely cut short .

Tamara Green’s family filed suit against the Mayor and other high ranking police officials claiming obstruction, cover ups, and attempts to keep information about the mansion party private by arranging her murder. Her death remains unsolved and the lawsuit is still pending.

Officer Harold C. Nelthrope and Detroit Police Internal Affairs Chief Gary Brown filed suit against the city claiming their firing was retaliation by the Mayor’s office because of the Internal Affairs investigation, which was cut short prior to the firings, and what it would reveal. They allege that the Mayor retaliated against them because he didn’t want his affair with Christine Beatty to be made public. Further proof of this is the settlement agreement, which imposed a punishment by way of monetary fine for anyone found to have revealed information leading to the discovery of the affair and text messages that prove the affairs’ existence.

The city lost the suit and the officers were awarded $8.4 million dollars in damages. During the trial, when allegations of infidelity surfaced, and Kilpatrick was accused of having an affair with his Chief of Staff – Christine Beatty, they both denied the affair. It was later proven to be true, and the Mayor was charged with lying under oath. He lied not only to cover up his sexual indiscretions, but also because the text messages discussed how to fire Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown in 2003. The text message scandal uncovered the exchange of 14,000 texts between the Mayor and Christine Beatty on their city-issued pagers during certain months in 2002 and 2003.

They’d both go on to face criminal charges in March 2008; 12 counts a piece to be exact. In August 2008, Kilpatrick was hit with 2 additional criminal charges stemming from a run in with law enforcement at his sister’s residence in connection with the serving of a subpoena to a family friend and associate who was visiting. He reportedly shoved one of the officers, who were there to serve a subpoena, into the other, and because the male officer was white and the female officer black he then made a racially insensitive remark in an attempt to embarass her.

He was on his way to serve a subpoena to city employee Brenda Braceful when he saw a Ferguson Enterprises truck in the neighborhood and stopped because he had a subpoena for Ferguson.  He checked the address, and the house was Ayanna Kilpatrick’s, the mayor’s sister.

He approached the mayor’s bodyguard standing outside.  “I identified myself immediately as a police officer, I raised my ID and said I needed to speak to Bobby Ferguson.  He made a sweeping motion with his right arm to the house … he accompanied us to the front door.”

After meeting someone who called himself Derrick Ferguson, White heard shouting from inside.

“‘Don’t tell those f******* anything … Get the f*** out of here.’  At that point Kilpatrick comes storming out through the door, grabbed me with both of my hands behind me and throws me into investigator Kinney.”

White testified that Kilpatrick then said: “Get the f*** out of here.  Leave my f****** family alone.  Get off my f****** porch.”

White testified Kilpatrick continued accusing him of harassing his family.

Kinney later testified: “It happened so fast … I was like, I couldn’t believe this was happening.”

Kinney said the Mayor told her: “You, a black woman being with a man with the last name White, you should be ashamed of yourself.  Why are you a part of this?”

The Sheriff’s daughter, who worked for Kilpatrick, resigned shortly after the incident. On September 4, 2008, Kwame Kilpatrick pled guilty to two felony counts. In February 2009 he left jail after serving 99 days and hopped on a private jet to begin a new life in Texas.

He was hired by Compuware whose CEO had loaned him large sums of money in 2008. It was later discovered that the CEO of Compuware, along with other prominent businessmen, effectively paid Kwame Kilpatrick to resign as Mayor and plead guilty to his crimes.

Ultimately, the mayor’s lies, lack of ethics, and immoral behavior cost the city millions. He was required to pay back restitution of $1 million dollars, but claimed he couldn’t afford the payments until the judge demanded his financial records. He was ordered to pay even more per month when his income with Compuware was discovered. When he missed a required payment’s deadline, the judge approved an arrest warrant. It was his last straw. He was sentenced to 18-months to 5 years in prison for violating his parole.

While expelling empty rhetoric and lies about helping the citizens of Detroit by building up the economy, schools, infrastructure and more, he used his position to live a lavish lifestyle while making deals that would go on to benefit his family and friends. Most of the citizens of the city wouldn’t have had a problem with the expensive jewelry, suits, shirts, and cars, but there is no dignity in such a facade when you don’t stay true to your word, and you in turn screw the very people that voted you into office by using tax-payer monies, devising schemes to usurp City Council voting on important financial issues affecting the city and for misappropriating funds.

When a Mayor uses his position to engage in questionable and illegal behavior for years while purporting to serve a city he’s spent into the ground, he alone has contributed the most to the moral decay that’s left behind.

I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg of Mr. Kilpatrick’s legal troubles. He still has to appear before a judge regarding the Tamara Greene lawsuit and many others currently making their way through the courts.

It may take years, as history has shown, but this reign of corruption hasn’t been completely exposed. I’m particularly interested in what IRS findings will bring to light regarding Kilpatrick’s erratic spending habits as mayor.

My biggest complaint with him is his tendency to blame most of his problems on “the man,” yet when he found himself in the position of being “The Man,” he used the benefits of power to serve self, family, and friends to the detriment of the city.  While I won’t deny that Kwame has likely experienced racism more than a little bit in his life, he cannot deny that he himself has instigated racial incitement on more than one occasion when it had absolutely nothing to do with the matter at hand, beginning with the accusations and proof of unethical behavior while mayor, and let’s not forget the fact that race didn’t have a damn thing to do with the infidelity on tax payer time, and the numerous lies exposed while under oath

After all is said and done, he had the ability to repay the money he owed to the city, but he choose to spend it on material things instead.

Kilpatrick is en route to the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson.

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