I have to be honest- when I figured I should make 'Blue State Graft Watch' a recurring feature on Not Another New England Sports Blog! I had this winner in mind, even though it might not have been timely.
Kwame Kilpatrick, billed as America's first 'hip-hop mayor', was sworn in as mayor of Detroit in 2002. At age 31, Kilpatrick was the youngest mayor elected to office in the Motor City and it's been downhill ever since.
Not an easy feat in Detroit, mind you.
To say that Kilpatrick's two terms were marked by scandal and controversy would be a gross understatement. In his first term, Kilpatrick was known to have use city funds to finance a lease for a new car, charging wine and spa massages to a city-issued credit card and redirecting $700,000 slated for the re-opening of the Belle Island Zoo and Aquarium to a friend of his.
In 2003, it was alleged that Kilpatrick's wife came home unexpectedly to a party at the Mayor's Residence (Manoogian Mansion) featuring strippers and attacked one of the women. One of the exotic dancers alleged to have performed at the party, 27 year old Tamara Greene, was shot to death in April 2003. The murder weapon was determined to be a .40 Glock, similar to the sidearms issued to the Detroit Police Department, and that the vehicle made more than one pass wile firing on Greene, seemingly ignoring a passenger in Greene's vehicle.
Investigators from Detroit's Homicide Division say that they were stonewalled from the very onset of the investigation into Greene's murder. The case remains unsolved, but spawned separate civil suits against the city of Detroit from the homicide investigators who were transferred elsewhere within the department and Greene's next of kin.
It got worse for Kilpatrick with a separate whistleblower trial initiated by one of his former bodyguards and Deupty Chief of Police for an internal probe into Kilpatrick's actions, which Kilpatrick's chief of staff and mistress, Christine Beatty, committed perjury. Six months later, the Detroit Free Press uncovered the existence of more than 14,000 text messages between Beatty and Kilpatrick sent each other on city-issued cellphones that not only reveled their extramarital affair but also their conspiring to fire then-deputy Chief of Police Gary Brown and preferential treatment in steering city contracts towards friends of Kwame.
Of course, while under fire, Kilpatrick wasn't the least bit shy about trotting out the race card, even though many of his critics were black themselves.
In March 2008, the Wayne County prosecutor issued a 12-count criminal indictment against Mayor Kilpatrick, including obstruction of justice, perjury and misconduct in office that ultimately led to his resignation and a 4-month jail sentence while forfeiting his pension and the FBI is investigating his friends, family and associates for activities while in office.
However, given Kilpatrick's arrogance and sense of entitlement, it seemed inevitable that he could stay out of trouble and the spotlight. A Wayne County judge this week has ordered Kilpatrick to pay back more than $319,000 in restitution or return to jail.
Talk about the 'failed policies of the last eight years'. This guy never seems to be able to stay out of the spotlight for reasons of his own making. It's almost like he revels in it.