Kwame Kilpatrick

Politics & Government
9:48 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Why Snyder's immigration plan may be his best yet

Thirteen years ago, a friend who runs a political PR firm urged me to meet a man he saw as a visionary politician who he was going to be elected mayor and transform Detroit.

His name was Kwame Kilpatrick. We all know how that turned out, but nobody did then. What was the same then and now, however, was Detroit’s need for jobs and money.

Over the years, I had learned one thing: If you want to jump-start an economy, what you need are immigrants. Driven, motivated, immigrants who want a better life.

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Stateside
3:43 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

How can we ensure good governance in Detroit?

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
AP file photo Associated Press

Last week, as Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to 28 years in what became an historic case of corruption, she decried the lack of transparency and accountability that surrounded Kilpatrick’s administration.

“So much business was being done behind closed doors without anyone looking into it until the press got into it and opened the door to what was transpiring in City Hall,” Edmunds said in the courtroom.

The voters of Detroit handed their trust to Kwame Kilpatrick, and as a jury found, he turned that trust into a vehicle to feed his greed — using the office of Detroit’s mayor as his personal piggy bank.

Now that chapter is over, Detroiters are preparing to elect a new mayor. So, what better time for the first-ever Leadership Summit on Good Governance for Detroit?

The summit convener, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade, joined us in studio to discuss securing good governance in southeast Michigan.

To learn more about the conference, follow this link.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Government
8:25 am
Sat October 12, 2013

A summary of the week's news with Jack Lessenberry

State lawmakers have passed bills allowing the city to keep taxing at certain rates. The legislation awaits Governor Snyder's approval.
Bob Jagendorf Flickr

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss Governor Snyder's testimony regarding the Detroit bankruptcy filing, the governor's NERD fund, and the sentencing of former Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

The interview can be heard below


Law
12:09 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Former Detroit contractor Bobby Ferguson sentenced to 21 years in prison

Bobby Ferguson.
U.S. Marshal

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s co-defendent and city contractor Bobby Ferguson was sentenced to 21 years in prison today after being convicted on racketeering, bribery and other charges.

The sentence comes one day after U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds sentenced Kilpatrick to 28 years in federal prison.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the prosecution also wanted 28 years for Ferguson:

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Opinion
9:40 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Good day for democracy

Well, it has been an odd and remarkable week in an odd and remarkable year. Large parts of the federal government are still shut down, and Detroit’s march towards bankruptcy is still proceeding, agonizingly slowly.

Yesterday, however, there was a flurry of good news, most from poor beleaguered Motown itself. The city’s thoroughly corrupt former mayor was sentenced to a record stretch in federal prison.

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Law
1:12 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick sentenced to 28 years in prison

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
AP file photo Associated Press

Prosecutors called for 28 years. The defense said he should get no more than 15.

Federal Judge Nancy G. Edmunds gave former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick 28 years in prison.

The sentence today comes after Kilpatrick was convicted last March on 24 counts of public corruption, which included racketeering and extortion.

They New York Times reports that "18 city officials ... have been convicted of corruption during [Kilpatrick's] tenure as mayor."

In a statement to the court, Kilpatrick said, "I apologize to you [Detroiters] for abandoning you." But he also said this, "I've never stolen from the city of Detroit."

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek is at the sentencing hearing and characterized his statement this way on Twitter:

Sarah will have more for us later.

Law
8:45 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Kwame Kilpatrick learns his fate today

 After years of legal, political and tabloid drama, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick finally learns his fate Thursday.

Kilpatrick faces up to life in prison after being convicted of two dozen federal corruption charges, including racketeering, bribery and extortion in March.

Federal prosecutors call the scale of Kilpatrick’s corruption “astonishing” and “devastating,” and argue he should get at least 28 years in prison for his crimes.

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Opinion
8:41 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Farewell to Kwame

Tomorrow a federal judge will sentence former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to a long stretch in prison for some of his crimes. Nearly seven months ago, he was convicted on 24 counts of corruption, including tax evasion, racketeering, extortion and mail fraud.

The airwaves will be full of this tomorrow. The newspapers will have a field day the next day. In Detroit, where chronicling Kilpatrick is a big-league sport of its own, there’s a lot of speculation as to how long he’ll get.

I don’t know, but I do know this: The worst punishment for this charming sociopath will probably be the one that starts after the sentencing is over. I intend to help administer this punishment, and hope my colleagues in the media will too. I intend, insofar as possible, to ignore Kwame Kilpatrick.  If the rest of the media does the same, that may torment him worse than anything else.

The media have never been able to get enough of Kwame. We fawned all over him when he first ran for mayor. Here was this brilliant 31 year old, an athlete, a scholar, a blazing star in the legislature come to save his city.

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Opinion
10:48 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Merging Wayne County and Detroit could fix both

  Everybody knows that former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was thoroughly corrupt. He currently is sitting in jail waiting sentencing in federal court on his latest round of convictions.

His political career is dead and his chance at being free is over, at least for years to come. But you can easily make the argument that, at least in terms of cost to the taxpayers, the administration of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano is worse.

Certainly Ficano has wasted far more of the taxpayers’ money than Kilpatrick’s grubby crimes cost Detroit. One of the enduring mysteries of state politics is why this man is still in his job. Michigan’s largest county has lurched from scandal to scandal.

There was the case of Turkia Awada Mullin, the crony who somehow was vaulted over far more qualified applicants, made head of the airport authority and given a two hundred thousand dollar “severance” to go from one job to another.

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Law
2:10 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Bobby Fergusson denied bond, judge cites flight risk

Bobby Ferguson
U.S. Marshal

Today U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds denied Bobby Ferguson's request that he be released on bond while he awaits sentencing.

Ferguson was convicted alongside former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on multiple felony counts including racketeering.

Edmunds said he might be a flight risk.

More from the Associated Press:

Federal prosecutors opposed the request from Ferguson. His lawyer had argued that Ferguson wasn't a flight risk or danger to the public...

Edmunds last month denied a request from Kilpatrick to be released on bond while he awaits sentencing.

The Detroit Free Press has reported that family members and friends have offered up their homes as collateral to ensure Ferguson would show up for his sentencing hearing.

Apparently, Edmunds was not convinced.

Politics & Government
5:43 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Kwame Kilpatrick aka inmate # 44678-039

Inmate # 44678-039
Michigan Radio

Kwame Kilpatrick may have been known as "Boss" or "Black" to some, but in his new home, he’s inmate number 44678-039. 

That’s according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate search.  His new address (at least until he’s sentenced) is the Milan Federal Correctional Institution.

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Politics & Government
8:38 am
Wed March 13, 2013

What's going on this week? Kilpatrick guilty, Detroit argues against EM, right to work deadline

The Capitol in Lansing.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the debate between the Detroit City Council and Governor Snyder over an impending emergency manager appointment in Detroit, and how unions are trying to get new contracts in place before the new right to work law takes affect later this month.

To hear their discussion, click on the audio above.

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Politics & Government
8:49 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Commentary: Goodbye Kwame Kilpatrick

The newspapers are full of stories about Kwame Kilpatrick’s conviction today. That makes sense. This is a major story. Never has a former Detroit mayor been convicted of so many felonies on so many charges, though he is not the first or even the second to end up in jail.

But what doesn’t make sense is the media’s continuing obsession with him. When Kilpatrick resigned his office in disgrace, George Bush was still president, Jennifer Granholm was still governor, and the auto bailout hadn’t yet happened. That was nearly five years ago.

More than three years ago, Mayor Dave Bing told me that he had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach every time Kilpatrick was back in the newspapers. Every reminder of Kwame’s existence made his job that much harder. Yet every time Kwame moved, it seemed to be front-page news. His seemingly interminable trial went on for months.

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Politics & Government
7:42 am
Tue March 12, 2013

In this morning's news: Kilpatrick guilty, the fate of an emergency financial manager for Detroit

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Kilpatrick found guilty on public corruption case

"Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his longtime friend Bobby Ferguson are in prison. The two men were taken into custody after a federal jury found them guilty on multiple charges in a major federal corruption trial," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Lawyer who represented Chrysler in bankruptcy might be Detroit's EFM

Kevin Orr, a Washington D.C. lawyer who represented Chrysler in it's 2009 bankruptcy might be Governor Rick Snyder's choice to be Detroit's emergency financial manager. That's if Snyder moves forward with an emergency financial manager for the city. As the Detroit News reports,

"A high-level source with knowledge of the decision confirmed late yesterday that Orr is the choice. He's the only name to emerge who hasn't denied interest since Snyder declared the city in a financial emergency March 1."

Detroit City Council to argue against an EFM in a hearing today

"Michigan officials are set to hear an appeal from Detroit council members who dispute the state's declaration that the city has no plan to fix its fiscal crisis. Chief Deputy Treasurer Mary MacDowell will attend today's hearing in Lansing and report back to Governor Rick Snyder. Detroit has a budget deficit of $327 million," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
11:47 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

An historic week in Detroit (not in a good way)

In a weird twist of fate, two remarkable events in Detroit’s recent history are happening at virtually the same time.

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of multiple federal corruption charges Monday. And Governor Snyder is expected to appoint an emergency financial manager within days.

The timing is a coincidence, but there’s some connection between the two events—and a lot of symbolism.


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Law
8:54 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Federal prison isn't former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's only concern

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (file photo)
Michigan Radio Newsroom

Kwame Kilpatrick’s federal racketeering and extortion convictions may mean the former Detroit mayor will not be able to pay the city approximately $850,000 in restitution in another case.

Monday, Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted on more than 20 counts of racketeering. extortion and other charges.   The former mayor faces up to 20 years in federal prison. 

In 2008, Kilpatrick agreed to pay a million dollars in restitution as part of a guilty plea to state obstruction of justice charges. He also served time in prison.

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Stateside
5:51 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Thoughts on today's Kwame Kilpatrick ruling

Kwame Kilpatrick

It lasted about six months, and today, a federal jury found former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick guilty of 24 counts of racketeering, bribery, and extortion.  

You might remember Kilpatrick previously spent a year in prison for lying under oath about a sexting-affair he had with his Chief of Staff and for violating his probation.

So, here we are today.

It’s not going to be just a few weeks or few months, the former Mayor is going to be facing some serious prison-time.
 
We spoke with Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek who's been covering the case for Michigan Radio, and with Larry Dubin of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Listen to their thoughts on the verdict above.

Politics & Culture
5:06 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Stateside for Monday, March 11th, 2013

  On today's show, balancing the state's budget - there's a fight in Lansing over whether or not the state should add money to it's so-called "rainy-day fund." Just how much money should be in the state's savings account? And, two cases involving same sex marriage will soon be in front of the Supreme Court. We find out what that could mean for gays and lesbians here in Michigan.

But first, It lasted about six months and today, a federal jury found former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick guilty of 24 counts of racketeering, bribery, and extortion.  

Now, you might remember Kilpatrick previously spent a year in prison for lying under oath about a sexting-affair he had with his Chief of Staff and for violating his probation.

So, here we are today. It’s not going to be just a few weeks or few months, the Mayor is going to be facing some serious prison-time.
 
We spoke with Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek. She’s been covering the case for Michigan Radio.

Breaking
3:01 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Kwame Kilpatrick found guilty in public corruption case

Kwame Kilpatrick
Kwame Kilpatrick Facebook

In a big court victory for federal prosecutors, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been found guilty of conspiracy racketeering, extortion, mail fraud, and tax charges.

His longtime contractor friend, Bobby Ferguson, was also found guilty on multiple extortion and racketeering charges.

Kwame Kilpatrick's father, Bernard, was found guilty of one tax charge.

Update 3:01 p.m.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds ordered ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick and his longtime contractor friend, Bobby Ferguson, to be held in prison until their sentencing in the corruption case.

More from the Associated Press:

... he was handcuffed and led to jail after prosecutors asked the judge to revoke his bond. Edmunds said it was a "close call" but agreed that the scale under federal law tipped in favor of the government.

The Detroit Free Press reports on the argument federal prosecutors made that Kilpatrick should be detained:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta argued that Kilpatrick should be detained because he has a history of disobeying orders. He also said Kilpatrick has access to money, as does Ferguson. Bullotta said Kilpatrick lied after his convictions on obstruction of justice charges in the text message scandal that drove him out of office.

“It’s a different ball game now,” he said.

As he was lead away, Kilpatrick spoke to his family:


 

Update 12:23 p.m.

Some jurors in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial are answering questions from the media right now.

Jim Shaefer of the Detroit Free Press is live-blogging at the courthouse.

When asked if they felt anger toward Kilpatrick for using the mayor's office for personal gain, they said anger doesn't quite capture it - disappointment does:

Juror No. 6: "We had no anger...this was very serious. we had a large responsibility. I think we felt we did that responsibility...we had no anger or any other emotion other than we felt the (impact) this decision would have on the defendants."

Juror No. 11: "I wouldn't call it anger. I would call it more so disappointment, with me voting for the mayor twice. ...I saw a lot that really, really turned my stomach, and I couldn't believe this kind of thing was going on... but there was never any anger. Disappointment is all I feel."

When asked if they felt sorry for the defendants...

Juror No. 11: "I feel bad for the families. There's always a bit of sadness for the children and the families...I don't feel bad for the defendants, because I think you go into things knowing what you're doing."

The Detroit News just pushed this picture of Kilpatrick leaving the courthouse earlier this morning out on Twitter:

12:00 p.m.

Jurors are taking questions from the media now. Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek is in the courtroom and will have updates for us later today.

The jurors who chose to speak to the media are saying they took each of the 45 counts seriously, and carefully weighed the evidence for each count.

They say they also took the judge's orders to not follow media accounts of the trial very seriously.

Jim Schaefer of the Freep blogs:

Juror No. 7 says she was a social media junkie, but gave it up for the trial.

When asked which charge was the toughest to decide:

Juror No. 12: "We are a nice group of people..at times, arguments got a little heated" but identifying one charge as difficult is tough. All of them were tough. We took good notes, looked through them, worked with good diligence.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing released the following statement regarding the verdict.

“I am pleased that this long trial has ended and we can finally put this negative chapter in Detroit’s history behind us.  It is time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to transparency and high ethical standards in our City government.”

11:28 a.m.

There were 45 charges in all against the three men (30 against Kwame Kilpatrick, 11 against Bobby Ferguson, and four against Bernard Kilpatrick).

Jim Schaefer of the Detroit Free Press reports Kilpatrick was found guilty of 24 of the 30 charges against him.

Bobby Ferguson was found guilty of nine of the 11 charges against him.

And Kwame Kilpatrick's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was found guilty on one tax charge.

At 1:30 today, the judge will decide whether the men will be allowed to be free on bond until the sentencing hearing.

11:05 a.m.

Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson have left the courtroom. The following tweets describe the scene:

10:56 a.m.

The Detroit Free Press' Jim Schaefer has been live-blogging the verdicts this morning.

Here's how he described the reactions from Kwame Kilpatrick (KK) and Bobby Ferguson (BF):

KK was shaking his head through some of the guilty verdicts. Now the defendants are all staring at the jury, but everyone is composed.

Jury has left the room. Defendants have sat down. Judge wants to discuss detention.

Judge says that will require a hearing. She will take that up at 1:30. In the meantime, the defendants will remain free on bond.

KK has his chin resting on his right hand as he sits in his chair.

A staggering defeat, obviously, for the former mayor.

BF is slumped a bit in his chair. BK is seated on the edge of his chair.

KK now has his hands clasped in front of him, chin resting on them.

10:51 a.m.

The jury has finished reading their verdicts. There were 45 charges in all against the three men. The jury was unanimous in 40 of them.

The federal government has won its RICO case against Kwame Kilpatrick and his longtime contractor friend Bobby Ferguson.

Kwame's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was found not guilty in the racketeering charges, but he was found guilty of one tax charge.

Kilpatrick and his longtime contractor friend Bobby Ferguson have been found guilty on multiple racketeering, extortion, wire and mail fraud charges.  Kilpatrick has also been found guilty of mail and wire fraud.

10:40 a.m.

The verdicts are coming in now, Kwame Kilpatrick has been found guilty on the racketeering and extortion charges, more charges are coming in.

10:35 a.m.

Photo of the media waiting for the verdict from the Detroit Free Press' Nathan Bomey.

10:29 a.m.

We are preparing to hear the verdicts in the Kwame Kilpatrick public corruption case.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, and longtime friend and contractor Bobby Ferguson all face dozens of charges, the most serious of which is conspiracy racketeering under the federal RICO Act (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).

The Detroit Free Press reports the racketeering charges carry "a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison."

We will update this post as we hear the verdicts.

Breaking
9:38 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Verdict in ex-Detroit mayor corruption trial

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (file photo)
Michigan Radio Newsroom

DETROIT (AP) - A court spokesman says jurors have reached a verdict in the corruption trial of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Rod Hansen says in an email that lawyers for Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and city contractor Bobby Ferguson have been summoned Monday morning to Detroit federal court after 14 days of deliberations.

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