It is really a sad, sad story. This guy gets to be mayor of one of America’s largest cities at the age of 31. He resigns in 2008, pleads guilty to obstruction of justice in a scandal involving sexually explicit text messages and an extramarital affair with his chief of staff. The Democrat spents 14 months in prison for violating probation in that case after a judge finds he failed to report assets that could be put toward his $1 million restitution to Detroit.
Now Kwame Kilpatrick could get 20 years.
Kwame has been gracing North Texas with his presence. He came here in May, 2010, bringing his family first to 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 MoTown Mayor’s pad — only 4004 square feet at the Manoogian Mansion. Oh yes, the family pre-paid $74,000 to lease this home for 13 months.
Then he moved again, to a $235,000, four-bedroom, three-bath home in Grand Prairie that leased for $2,100 a month. Then they moved to the current pad, seen by folks in Detroit as a major step up. Of course, they forgot La Paloma and may have wondered how he can afford a bigger home on $60,000 a year, all he claims he is earning. His team of attorneys were 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.
Then, Kilpatrick moved the fam 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.” Of course!
The rental is a 5,000-square-footer in Grand Prairie, and the sheer size made Detroit folks uneasy that Kilpatrick was living way too well while making those measly restitution payments. This one is 5,016-square-feet in Mira Lagos, slightly less toney than La Paloma. 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 listed at $309,950.
Of course, Detroiters are not used to our huge Texas homes or granite everywhere countertops: even our dog houses must have at least 1500 square feet and a media room. Still, the hard-working, house-poor (Detroit housing market remains one of the worst) taxpayers funding his legal defense against federal racketeering charges were, in a word, pissed. And Detroit has lost about a quarter of it’s population, and half of property owners are behind on their taxes. In a word, the place is a mess.
Kilpatrick, who is 41 and has three sons, once worked as a medical software salesman for Covisint Healthcare
Monday jurors convicted Kilpatrick of a raft of crimes, including racketeering conspiracy. Maximum punishment: 20 years behind bars. During the trial, he was portrayed as an unscrupulous politician who took bribes, rigged contracts and lived far beyond his means while in office until fall 2008. He is even accused of abusing The Civic Fund, a nonprofit he created to help distressed Detroit residents. There was evidence that the Fund was used for yoga lessons, camps for his kids, golf clubs and travel.
“The scale of corruption was breathtaking,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow said in a closing argument on Feb. 15. “We cannot turn away and ignore the corruption that occurred in this city. It is time for the former mayor and his accomplices to be held accountable for their crimes — it is past time.”
Kilpatrick declined to testify, has long denied any wrongdoing, and says he simply collected gifts he was showered with, such as cash gifts from city workers and political supporters during holidays and birthdays.
In other words, Kwame was on the take. So I wonder, does he go to jail based on where he lives or where he committed the crimes? In other words, Texas or Detroit?