Remember former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick — he’s the one who pleaded guilty in 2008 to obstruction of justice charges, something to do with lying about the fact he was having an affair with a staffer, something about sexting — and then got five years in the slammer for violating terms of his probation? He has been gracing North Texas with his presence. Now comes word out of MoTown that he has moved, again, this time into a $372,000 home that is “larger and more expensive than his last rental, while claiming poverty to qualify for taxpayer-funded lawyers and low restitution payments.”
The current rental is a 5,000-square-footer in Grand Prairie, and the sheer size is making Detroit folks uneasy that Kilpatrick is living way too well while making measly restitution payments to the city of Detroit. Meantime, hard-working, house-poor (Detroit housing market one of the worst) taxpayers are funding his legal defense against federal racketeering charges.
Hey Detroit, maybe it’s time for Occupy Kwame!
Forgot to tell you: he’s also an author. His new digs came to light before a hearing Wednesday to determine why proceeds from the sale of the former mayor’s book have not been forwarded to an escrow account. You got it: that money was to be used toward the more than $860,000 in restitution Kilpatrick owes the city of Detroit.
Kilpatrick, who is 41 and has three sons, once worked as a medical software salesman for Covisint Healthcare.
His attorney, Daniel Hajji, says his living arrangements and apparent $2900 a month rent do not warrant the prosecutor’s attention.
As we know, though, Kilpatrick has been moving on up, then down, then up, in Texas like a roller coaster. Last May, 2010, he and his fam lived in a swanky, gated Colleyville home of 5,866 square feet in Lakes of La Paloma, minutes from the great shopping at Southlake Town Center. The home had a market value of $1,125,000 and was built in 1998. It had five bedrooms, five and a half baths, a game room, a study, a formal dining room and an in-ground pool, clearly a trade-up from their 2,839-square-foot former rental home 3 miles away. At the time, his attorney said someone else was footing the bill. That La Paloma home was also way larger than his crib as Mayor of Detroit, the Mayor’s pad — only 4004 square feet at the Manoogian Mansion.
This rental is a bit smaller, a 5,016-square-footer in Mira Lagos in slightly less toney Grand Prairie. Still, it has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and an attached two-car garage. The home was built in 2006 and has the usual Texas goodies: kitchen with granite countertops, vaulted ceilings in the hall and family room, French doors leading to a landscaped yard, a large master suite and study. It also features a game room and media room. Originally purchased for $371,900, this one is appraised at $338,400 and was recently listed at $309,950.
See, Detroit, our values are down, too. And almost everyone has granite counters down here — you get them while you wait in line at the D.P.S. (Ha!)
KIlpatrick has been priming our real estate rental market since relocating to Texas almost three years ago. First was the Southlake mansion with pool, which the family pre-paid $74,000 to lease for 13 months. Last year, maybe they thought that La Paloma was too showy so they relocated to a $235,000, four-bedroom, three-bath home in Grand Prairie that leases for $2,100 a month. Then they moved to the current pad, seen by folks in Detroit as a step up. Of course, they are also wondering how he can afford a bigger home on $60,000 a year, all he claims he is earning. His team of attorneys are being covered by Michigan taxpayers, and Kilpatrick is paying $160 per month for the more than $860,000 he owes toward $1 million in restitution. At that rate, the bill will be paid off in, oh, 448 years.
Kilpatrick was released from a Michigan prison in August, claimed indigence and has a publicly funded team of private defense lawyers for his upcoming racketeering trial. In 2008, he resigned as Mayor, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, and promised restitution in a plea deal that avoided a trial. Last May, he headed to the slammer for failing to make those payments among suspicions he was hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars — imagine that!