Former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick has reportedly received nearly a 30-year sentence this week for his involvement in multiple scandals dating back to his time in office a decade ago.
Details of Kilpatrick’s hefty sentencing scattered across the Internet Thursday (October 10).
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.” (CBS News)
During his court appearance, Kwame did not hold back his feelings and even dished out the struggles he experienced as mayor.
When Kilpatrick addressed the court wearing his khaki prison uniform, he spoke softly and slowly. He said being the mayor of Detroit was hard, “the hardest” thing he’d ever done. Six months in he “hated it,” but said for men, and especially black men, crying or complaining is looked on as a sign of weakness. So he put on an air of confidence to push through the struggle, which Kilpatrick says many people misconstrued as arrogance. Kilpatrick apologized to his family and residents “being held hostage” in their neighborhoods, he apologized for leaving the city in 2008 when the recession struck. He said it’s time for Detroit to move on. “It’s over,” he said. “I’m done.” (M Live)
Things turned ugly earlier this year when he received major convictions.
In March, he was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. The government called it the “Kilpatrick enterprise,” a yearslong 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. Prosecutors said $73 million of Ferguson’s $127 million in revenue from city work came through extortion. The government alleged that he in turn shared cash with Kilpatrick. (Washington Post)
Prior to his legal problems, Kwame made a name for himself after being dubbed Detroit’s “hip-hop mayor” by music icon Russell Simmons.
At 31, Mr. Kilpatrick became the youngest person to hold the city’s top position when he was first elected in 2001. He brought new attractions to the city’s riverfront and much-needed business investment downtown. But scandals dogged his nearly seven years in office, ultimately ending a political career that had once seemed destined for the national stage. (New York Times)