Great moments in lootership

Former mayor found guilty of wringing money from his failing city

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History is replete with public leaders who turn out to be crooks, scofflaws and slime balls. Kwame Kilpatrick is easily among the most contemptible.


While mayor of Detroit, Kilpatrick could have, and should have, stayed up nights looking for ways to save his city from ruin. Instead, he let the city teeter toward collapse while he ran what amounts to a high-handed, ego-driven criminal enterprise out of the mayor’s office for his own enrichment and gratification.

Few leaders in human history have so fiddled their own tune while their cities burned. It is as if the captain of the Titanic had not only partied on the way down, but pilfered what he could from passengers along the way.

A jury this week found Kilpatrick guilty of 24 of 30 charges against him, including extortion and racketeering, involving schemes described as “shakedowns, kickbacks and bid-rigging.”

“Sitting on this trial for the last six months,” said one juror who had twice voted for Kilpatrick, “I really, really saw a lot that turned my stomach.”

Kilpatrick used intimidation to steer $84 million in contracts to a friend, who kicked back some of the proceeds to Kilpatrick – in effect stealing taxpayers blind. The mayor’s contractor friend was convicted of nine of 11 counts.

Kilpatrick also converted nonprofit funds and state grants to his own personal use.

“Both Kwame Kilpatrick and (the contractor friend) have felony records,” says a Michigan news report, “Kilpatrick for two obstruction of justice convictions in 2008 stemming from perjury charges; and (the contractor) for assault with intent to do great bodily harm for pistol whipping an employee in 2005.”

“Prosecutors,” says another news report, “described (the former mayor’s father) Bernard Kilpatrick as the middleman who contractors were forced to hire as a consultant in order to secure city contracts, some of which were for the biggest public work projects during Kilpatrick’s tenure, such as the demolition of Tiger Stadium and the partial demolition of the Book Cadillac Hotel.” Kilpatrick’s father was convicted of filing a false tax return.

Kilpatrick’s time in office was also marked by an affair and text-messaging scandal that resulted in the two perjury-related felony convictions. He later violated his probation.

All told, nearly three dozen people were arrested for corruption in connection with his administration.

“While he enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, he watched the quality of life erode for the people of Detroit,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said. “The mayor was not focused on running the city. He was focused on using the mayor’s office as a money-making machine. Kwame Kilpatrick didn’t lead the city. He looted the city.”

Now, the state of Michigan must try to rescue it from billions in debt and a legacy of open-sewer corruption.

Kwame Kilpatrick did much more than fiddle while Detroit burned; he actively helped run a major American city into the ground.

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Truth Matters
11280
Points
Truth Matters 03/15/13 - 04:32 am
4
5
Crimes

While NO ONE can condone the former mayor's behavior, I wrote him off when he was caught up in "text-gate." Let me take this opportunity to comment on another event in Detroit. I can not agree with the governor taking over control and appointing an emergency manager not elected by the people. I have been away and may have missed it, but I just wish people were consistent in their disdain for power grabbers. The people voted against this in a referendum and when the Michigan Gov and his party gained control of the state government they did just the opposite of what the people wanted. Now, for those of you who think the man in he WH is a power grabber, please tell us how anything he has done compares to this action. Please ACES, say you are against any action that denies people to be represented by those whom they vote for. Otherwise, we should all stay home and just let a governor think for us and make all of our decisions. I just can't stand the hypocrisy!!

Maybe this is the reason the NRA says we all should take up arms. Democracy is dying in many Republican led states and we hear not a peep from the so called lovers of democracy.

carcraft
36172
Points
carcraft 03/15/13 - 05:58 am
6
2
Obama's government labor

Obama's government labor relations board held Boeing hostage to prevent the opening of the plant in South Carolina. Gibson Guitar was attacked for a practice most people who do exotic wood inlays use. The Unelected health care panel (with no legislative over site) decides what health care procedures are paid for (any think like Kwame's unelected panel) and appropriate. The health care law was passed behind closed doors without even being read. Attacking one group of Americans as being un-American when they pay the majority of the income tax is what? Getting involved in criminal legal proceedings (it now appears one of the star witnesses in the Florida case is a little liar, imagine that, and the Travon Martin case is falling apart) where the individual killed was supposed to look like Obama's son. Obama has issued executive orders that interfere with passed law such as the immigration act and has redefined what looking for work means. Obama attempted to side step the constitutional advice and consent of the House and Senate on appointments and got slapped by the courts. Obama has violated the constitution by failing to produce budgets in the time constraints of the congress. Need I go on? When the Obama administration lied to congress about Fast and Furious, Holder was about to get slammed Obama declared that he had executive privilege and Holder did not have to produce the memos related to Holder and the Obama administration lies! Obama sorta seems to pick and choose what laws he will follow and what he won’t. HMMMM

Riverman1
120735
Points
Riverman1 03/15/13 - 06:07 am
8
1
No Tapping Into Water Dept.

I, also, thought the Republican Governor of Michigan taking over the city was a good idea, but Truth Matters brings up a valid concern. Detroit is 83% black and they have elected their Democratic public officials for better or worse. Outsiders would only create hostility with the residents as the necessary cutting of spending ensued. Detroit is so much in debt, they will have to fire city workers by the thousands and cut almost all city services except the basics. That’s going to create unrest and whoever is in charge is going to bear the brunt of the criticism. Let the Democrats fix their own mess. The Governor can carefully watch over them and veto improper measures. No tapping into the Water Dept. to pay for raises as was suggested Augusta do.

myfather15
59559
Points
myfather15 03/15/13 - 06:45 am
6
0
Ok......

Let the citizens have what they want; and let the City dissolve into nothing. I didn't agree with bailing out the private banks and other businesses such as GM and Chrysler, so I don't agree with bailing out Detriot either. I don't believe any business or city is too big to fail. When Detriot becomes nothing more than a apocolyptic city, so be it. The citizens with half a brain will get out and move to other parts of the Country.

myfather15
59559
Points
myfather15 03/15/13 - 06:52 am
9
2
Truth matters??

I'm sick of the Unionized areas of the Country, failing miserably; then blaming everything and everyone but the TRUE ones responsible. BUT, I'm even becoming more sick of the PEOPLE living in these areas, who allow it and VOTE for it; then whining and crying about the financial collapse. YOU made your bed, so either lay down in it, or move somewhere else and make another bed; either way, they need to shut up or STAND UP!! But most of these people in areas such as these are mindless sheep who do nothing but blindly follow their sheppherd (Unions); and vote in corrupt individuals. Well, have fun with that. I blindly follow NO MAN!!!

concercitizen
904
Points
concercitizen 03/15/13 - 08:15 am
7
2
myfather15- Your post also

myfather15- Your post also applies to Obama supporters. When it finally hits home to them that he has no one's interest at heart but his own, they too will start crying and whining. But, as you said they will blame anything and everything else.

deestafford
46989
Points
deestafford 03/15/13 - 09:17 am
4
1
I believe Kilpatrick's mother or some other kin is/was

a US representative in the US Congress.
As far as the state taking over the finances of Detroit, it was done for two other Michigan cities, I think Flynnt was one, and both of the mayors say it has been very positive for their cities. The bottomline is the government of Detroit is incapable and does not have the skills to judge itself. They expect Obama to bail them out as evident by the lady council woman saying, "We voted for Obama and now it's time for him to bring home the bacon to us. That's why we voted for him."

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 03/15/13 - 10:02 am
4
2
Riverman
Unpublished

“but Truth Matters brings up a valid concern. Detroit is 83% black and they have elected their Democratic public officials for better or worse.”
The problem is the people of Detroit want the state and federal gov’t to bail them out. When you take my money you lose the right to make your own choices. This is very typical of cities that are run by democrats for very long.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 03/15/13 - 10:20 am
0
0
The naacp
Unpublished

stood behind him all the way. "Another fine example of the white man trying to put down a successful black man" is their mantra even when presented with ALL of the facts. They are as complicit as kilpatrick and ferguson.

Bodhisattva
10936
Points
Bodhisattva 03/15/13 - 10:53 am
4
3
Please remember all of your

Please remember all of your quotes when cuts to Fort Gordon, SRS, or other Augusta area taxpayer funded sacred cows are proposed. Or will everyone join in to make sure we get our taxpayer money and insist cuts come from somewhere else?

Riverman1
120735
Points
Riverman1 03/15/13 - 11:47 am
10
1
Hey, I don't want to give

Hey, I don't want to give them anything...or take the responsibility of making their cuts for them. Let them handle it. To Bod, if Ft. Gordon and other places cut back enough that it drastically reduces our tax revenue then there's nothing to do but cut back on spending. Let's hope we have learned from Detroit.

Darby
39544
Points
Darby 03/15/13 - 12:38 pm
4
1
"I just wish people were consistent....

in their disdain for power grabbers. "
.
The governor is responsible for the entire state. Detroit is an integral part of the state and is in great distress. If the governor did not step in now, he would be guilty of dereliction of duty.

You suggest a "hands off" approach without suggesting a solution. That makes no sense.

Do you have a "death wish" for Detroit? It may be too late for that.. That city would have to be resurrected before it could die (again).

seenitB4
128695
Points
seenitB4 03/15/13 - 01:11 pm
4
0
Oh no Riverman

Hands off my fanny...they will all end up in Atlanta & Georgia...sooo watch what you say.....if Gov Deal can dump Boe in DeKalb ..that Gov can dump some troublemakers there....it WON'T fix itself...stop dreaming rver...

seenitB4
128695
Points
seenitB4 03/15/13 - 01:16 pm
5
0
Who cares

Who cares if they are 83% black...they are 100% in the hole....that Gov can do the same thing Deal did in DeKalb....dump some misfits & put in some respected ---intelligent leaders..

allhans
25543
Points
allhans 03/15/13 - 02:11 pm
3
0
The takeover was not

The takeover was not unexpected. It has been aired for weeks now, I don't know if black leaders were consulted but I'LL bet they WERE.

The man that was chosen by the Governor to take over is a black man, Emergency Financial Manager Kevin Orr, so I don't get the comments about race.

Darby
39544
Points
Darby 03/15/13 - 02:19 pm
3
0
"The man that was chosen....

by the Governor to take over is a black man, Emergency Financial Manager Kevin Orr, so I don't get the comments about race."
.
If Orr was selected because he is the best man for the job, then that's great. If his race played any part in his selection, that's too bad because then the gov would be playing into the hands of the PC crowd.

I'm confident that it is the former, not the latter..

burninater
11668
Points
burninater 03/15/13 - 03:40 pm
4
1
City and Municipality

City and Municipality bankruptcy filings since 2010:

-- City of San Bernardino, Calif.
-- Town of Mammoth Lakes, Calf. (Dismissed)
-- City of Stockton, Calif.
-- Jefferson County, Ala.
-- City of Harrisburg, Pa. (Dismissed)
-- City of Central Falls, R.I.
-- Boise County, Idaho (Dismissed)

http://www.governing.com/gov-data/municipal-cities-counties-bankruptcies...

White, Republican municipalities are not exempt from this list, but some are pretty obsessed with the idea that insolvent municipalities are a black Democrat problem.

People are welcome to focus on whatever they like, but if it is apparent to the average voter that 1) insolvent municipalities are a pervasive problem (which it is, and which most voters are aware of), and 2) some people are bent on only identifying those that are Democratic and/or majority black (which is undeniable, as its going on right here and now in this forum), the average voter will conclude that those focused primarily/exclusively on the black Democratic municipalities have a pre-existing obsession.

Demonstrating this obsession by selectively focusing on black Democrat municipalities, while ignoring that this type of insolvency is occurring in municipalities of all demographics, will continue to be a political problem at the national level.

Physician, heal thyself -- broaden the focus, and examine the true underlying factors that clearly cross demographic and party lines. What is going on here today is going in the opposite direction: a broad problem is being narrowed down to a specific case, not to understand the problem itself, but rather to bolster a pre-existing obsession that a certain race voting for a certain party is the fundamental problem.

itsanotherday1
58387
Points
itsanotherday1 03/15/13 - 03:07 pm
4
0
Put the blame where it belongs

It is all due to the policies of George Bush....

burninater
11668
Points
burninater 03/15/13 - 03:33 pm
3
0
IAD1, it looks like in many

IAD1, it looks like in many of the larger cases it's civic infrastructure improvements or municipal staffing levels that were financed based on property tax revenue projections that got hammered by the real estate bubble.

http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Bankruptcy/News/2012/08_-_Augus...

Brad Owens
5224
Points
Brad Owens 03/15/13 - 05:42 pm
5
0
$84,000,000.00?

The TEE Center cost us $110,000,000.00 just to be built and another $4,000,000.00 a year to run it.

Great moments in "lootership?" ... more like rank amateurs.

I guess ACES can speak with authority on this issue given the TEE Center, the TEE Center parking Deck, the convention center, the Forest Hill BOE property, The UDAG loans and all the contracts related to those.

Heck, the owner of this paper is the single largest welfare recipient the City has ever had to support.

Work hard RC residents...

IAmISaid
227
Points
IAmISaid 03/15/13 - 05:47 pm
5
0
hmmmm
Unpublished

Mr. Owen beat me to the punch.

harley_52
32812
Points
harley_52 03/15/13 - 05:58 pm
2
2
There Are Two Major Problems...

...with these municipalities going bankrupt. One, crooked/weak political leaders, mainly democrats, and two, the corrupting influence of unions.

Is there an occasional Republican who happens to be holding the bag when she shift hits the fan? Sure. It's like musical chairs....sometimes you get caught at the wrong place at the wrong time.

harley_52
32812
Points
harley_52 03/15/13 - 06:42 pm
3
1
Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles....

Would be a good place to start if you want to examine major cities with major problems. Spend a little time looking at their financial status, their public employee pension plans, whether they are unionized, and their political history. Add Washington DC if you have a little more time.

harley_52
32812
Points
harley_52 03/15/13 - 06:48 pm
2
0
Don't Limit Yourself To Cities....

...move on to states as well. Start with Illinois and California. Then examine Texas and Wisconsin. Louisiana too.

Young Fred
25458
Points
Young Fred 03/15/13 - 08:11 pm
1
1
harley, This reminds me of

harley,

This reminds me of pre-Katrina New Orleans.

Total graft, and corruption throughout the city in just about any and every activity imaginable. Sub-standard materials and labor on the levies, payoffs to union bosses, elected officials, inspectors, licensing boards etc. The whole city and levy projects run by the Democrat machine.

What happens when the levies failed? The media and citizens (blind automatons) of N.O. blame Republicans for everything.

harley_52
32812
Points
harley_52 03/15/13 - 09:00 pm
1
0
Absolutely....

In case after case democrats waste and plunder the citizenry and then blame it all on Republicans and demand the taxpayer foot the bill for fixing it. The problems in New Orleans after Katrina were all laid at the feet of GWB. In spite of all the corruption and mismanagement at the city and state level, the narrative was that Bush and Republicans screwed it all up.

And how do they seek to justify what's happened in Detroit and Chiago? By saying 'some Republicans screw stuff up too.'

allhans
25543
Points
allhans 03/15/13 - 09:33 pm
0
0
When you look at the many

When you look at the many years that have passed and still the poor liberals remain poor, it really makes you wonder what they are thinking of...

griff6035
4607
Points
griff6035 03/15/13 - 10:16 pm
2
0
Detroit

Build a wall around the city, and let Hollywood make scary movies there. They could pay off the debt with profits from the scary movies because everyone likes crazy scary movies, right.

Young Fred
25458
Points
Young Fred 03/16/13 - 11:23 am
0
0
This country has been in the

This country has been in the midst of a "crazy scary moive" since the 2008 election.

Truth Matters
11280
Points
Truth Matters 03/16/13 - 01:58 pm
1
0
Brad @ 5:42

Amen.
But they are the job creators so it's okay!

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