Damn homie, in high school you was the man, homie…
But not anymore. Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of corruption charges that are sure to land him in prison.
Jurors convicted Kilpatrick of a handful of crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years behind bars. He was portrayed during a five-month trial as an unscrupulous politician who took bribes, rigged contracts and lived far beyond his means while in office until fall 2008.
Prosecutors said Kilpatrick ran a “private profit machine” out of Detroit’s City Hall. The government presented evidence to show he got a share of the spoils after ensuring that Bobby Ferguson’s excavating company was awarded millions in work from the water department.
Business owners said they were forced to hire Ferguson as a subcontractor or risk losing city contracts. Separately, fundraiser Emma Bell said she gave Kilpatrick more than $200,000 as his personal cut of political donations, pulling cash from her bra during private meetings. A high-ranking aide, Derrick Miller, told jurors that he often was the middle man, passing bribes from others.
Internal Revenue Service agents said Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his mayoral salary.
But Kilpatrick seemed surprised about the charges, as U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds read the jury’s verdict. He was found guilty of 24 charges, not guilty on three, and no consensus on three more. As he left the hearing, Kilpatrick declined to speak to reporters.
The current mayor, Dave Bing, said the verdict would allow the city to move on from “this negative chapter in Detroit’s history.”
It’s “time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to transparency and high ethical standards in our city government,” Bing said in a statement.
If you don’t remember Kilpatrick, he was the young 31-year-old elected to office in 2001, who resigned after a sex scandal and spent 14 months in prison for violating probation.
Now it looks like he’s going to be spending some more time behind bars…and bringing shame, once again, to Detroit.