Friday, August 08, 2008

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick: A Real Dee-troit Pimp

If you have not been following the news about Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, you have been missing some shizzle.

Wikipedia has some nice background:

1) Manoogian Mansion party
Kilpatrick's first controversy started as rumors of a wild party in the fall of 2002 involving strippers at the official residence of the mayor—the city-owned Manoogian Mansion. It is alleged by former members of the mayor's Executive Protection Unit that the mayor's wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, came home unexpectedly and upon discovering Kwame with the strippers began to attack one of the women.

2) The murder of Tamara Greene
Tamara Greene was a 27-year-old exotic dancer who went by the name "Strawberry" and who claimed to have performed at the Manoogian Mansion party. While sitting in her car with her boyfriend, Greene was shot multiple times with a .40 caliber Glock handgun. Although official statement by Detroit Police Department claims that Ms. Greene was shot three times, sources from Homicide Division of DPD have claimed that she was shot 18 times.

3) Motorcycle Squad Harley Davidson
In July of 2003, WXYZTV reported that Kwame Kilpatrick was seen riding the streets of Detroit on a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide police motorcycle which was taken from the Detroit Police Motorcycle Squad by Kilpatrick. The report indicated that he at times was riding alone without security, placing himself at risk and that the cycle had been taken by the mayor for his personal use and pleasure.

4) Whistleblower trial
In 2003, a civil lawsuit was filed against Kilpatrick by his ex-bodyguard Harold Nelthrope and former Deputy Chief Police Gary Brown. The police officers claim they were fired because of an internal probe into the mayor's personal actions and that the firing was a violation of the whistleblower law.[37]

The trial began in August 2007 with Kilpatrick and his chief of staff, Christine Beatty both denying they were involved in an extramarital affair.

5) Text-messaging scandal
In January 2008, The Detroit Free Press examined and revealed the existence of more than 14,000 text messages exchanged between Kilpatrick and his chief of staff Christine Beatty on their city issued SkyTel pagers between September–October 2002 and April–May 2003. The dates are of importance because they encompass the time periods of the alleged Manoogian Mansion party and the ouster of Gary Brown respectively.[54]

The text-messages are the nucleus of an $8.4 million secret deal settlement by the city of Detroit. The attorneys for the city had tried since 2004 to keep the text messages hidden on the basis that they were personal and private communications.[54] However, a city directive re-authorized by Kilpatrick during his first term as mayor indicates that all electronic communication sent on city equipment should be "used in an honest, ethical, and legal manner" and cautions, "is not considered to be personal or private."[55] The mayor's spokesman said the policy only applies to city-owned equipment and the text-messages are exempt since they were sent on a city-leased device.[55]

Kilpatrick and Beatty, both married at the time, did discuss city business; however, many of the series of messages describe not a professional relationship but an extramarital sexual relationship between the two, often in graphic detail. The text messages further describe their use of city funds to arrange romantic getaways, their fears of being caught by the mayor's police protection unit, and evidence the pair conspired to fire Detroit Police Deputy Chief Gary Brown.

6) Criminal charges
On March 24, 2008, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced a 12-count criminal indictment against Kilpatrick and former Detroit Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, charging Kilpatrick with eight felonies and Beatty with seven. Charges for both included perjury, misconduct in office and obstruction of justice. Worthy also suggested that others in the Kilpatrick administration could also be charged.

7) Red Lincoln Navigator
In 2005, WXYZ-TV reporter Steve Wilson reported that the city had entered an expensive one year lease for a luxury SUV. It was to be used to chauffeur the mayor's family. The lease was for $24,995; five dollars under the amount that would have required the approval of city council. Kilpatrick, chief of staff Christine Beatty, police chief Ella Bully-Cummings, and other members of the mayor's staff all denied that the red Lincoln Navigator was intended to be used by the mayor's wife and children. Eventually, Kilpatrick admitted the Navigator was for his family, claiming he had told the police chief that it was "too much" and to take it back.[64] Media coverage of this story was best known for a situation involving the mayor and his security team. Wilson had tracked Kilpatrick down in Washington, D.C., where he was attending a mayor's conference. When Wilson tried to question Kilpatrick about the Navigator lease, a member of the mayor's security team is seen on camera shoving Wilson against a wall.

8) Civic Fund
On May 8, 2007, WXYZ reported that Kilpatrick used $8,600 from his secret Kilpatrick Civic Fund to take his wife, three sons and babysitter on a week long vacation to a five-star California resort, the La Costa Resort and Spa.[66] The fund, controlled by Kilpatrick's sister and friends, was created to improve the city of Detroit through voter education, economic empowerment and crime prevention. Tax and accounting experts said Kilpatrick's use of the fund was a violation of IRS regulations.[67] The story was also compounded after WXYZ's cameras caught Kilpatrick in a fit of rage grabbing the microphone out of the hand of reporter Ray Sayah and throwing it hard across the room such that it hit a wall, while Sayah tried to question him about the situation.

9) Slander suit
Kilpatrick was named in a slander lawsuit along with Christine Beatty and police chief Ella Bully-Cummings. The lawsuit was brought about by two police officers that claimed to have been slandered in the media by city officials.[68]

The lawsuit stems from a 2004 incident in which the two police officers pulled over Kilpatrick's chief of staff Christine Beatty for speeding. Beatty was irate at being stopped and bluntly asked the officers, "Do you know who the fuck I am?" when the officers came to the vehicle.[68] While stopped, Beatty called Police Chief Bully-Cummings to have the officers called off, which the officers allege they were ordered to do. When reports of the incident started to surface in the media, Kilpatrick, Beatty and Bully-Cummings all claimed that the traffic stop was some type of "set-up" to harass Beatty.

10) Recall campaign
The Wayne County Election Committee approved a recall petition to remove Kilpatrick as mayor based on the multi-million dollar settlement ($9,000,000+) in a whistle-blower lawsuit against the city, and the accusation that Kilpatrick misled the City Council into approving the settlement. The recall petition was filed by Douglas Johnson, a city council candidate.[71] Kilpatrick has appealed to the commission to reconsider its decision on the grounds that Johnson is not a resident of Detroit.[72] Johnson also requested that Jennifer Granholm use her power as Governor to remove Kilpatrick from office.

On March 12, 2008, at the request of the Mayor's office, Wayne County Election Commission rescinded its earlier approval for the recall. The Mayor's office argued that there was not any evidence that the organizer, Douglas Johnson, actually resided within the city limits of Detroit. Johnson stated that his group would refile using another person whose residency would not be an issue. [73] On March 27, 2008, a second recall petition was filed against Kilpatrick by Angelo Brown. Brown stated in his filing that Kilpatrick is too preoccupied with his legal problems to be effective. Kilpatrick's spokesman James Canning again dismissed this latest recall by saying: "It’s Mr. Brown’s right to file a petition, but it’s just another effort by a political hopeful to grab headlines."[74]

On May 14 the Detroit City Council voted to request that the governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, remove Kilpatrick from office.

And now, breaking news from the New York Times:

DETROIT — Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick, already fighting eight felony charges including perjury, was charged Friday with two felony counts of assaulting or obstructing a police officer. The officer, a sheriff’s deputy, was attempting to serve a subpoena.

Michigan’s attorney general, Mike Cox, announced the new charges one day after Mr. Kilpatrick was sent to jail for violating the terms of his bond by traveling to Canada in July on city business. Each count carries a penalty of up to two years in prison or a $2,000 fine upon a conviction.

“It’s a very straightforward, simple case,” Mr. Cox said. “I cannot recall ever seeing — let alone hearing of — a situation where a police officer trying to serve a subpoena was assaulted.”

Moments before Mr. Cox’s announcement, a circuit court judge, Thomas E. Jackson, allowed the mayor to be released from jail after posting a $50,000 cash bond. He also took away the mayor’s travel privileges and ordered him to wear a global-positioning tether.

But Mr. Kilpatrick, 38, who is in his second term as mayor, could soon be headed back to jail, as assault charges would be another bond violation.

The incident that prompted the new charges happened July 24, a day after Mr. Kilpatrick traveled across the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario, on city business without court approval, a violation of the terms of his bond in the perjury case. That violation is what prompted Judge Ronald Giles of the 36th District Court in Detroit to have Mr. Kilpatrick sent to the county jail Thursday.

Just look at Google News to see why I'm nominating Marion Barry for Pope.

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