The former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, has been sentenced to a total of 28 years imprisonment, on Oct. 10.
In March of this year, Kilpatrick (aged 43) faced charges of racketeering, extortion and fraud, adding to the long list of Detroit officials who have been convicted of similar offences, during his time as mayor.
The criminal wrongdoing was so pervasive that the government dubbed the former Detroit mayor’s reign “The Kilpatrick enterprise.” Assuming power between 2002 and 2008, Kilpatrick abused taxpayer money, bloating his bank accounts with thousands of dollars and travelling across America in private planes.
Kilpatrick was struck down after a series of text messages, detailing his involvement in fixing deals for his friend, Bobby Ferguson, were made available. Contractors allege they were manipulated into taking on Ferguson as a business partner, lest they miss out on highly profitable deals. Ferguson paid Kilpatrick handsomely, in exchange for these underhanded services.
Kilpatrick also siphoned off over $800,000 worth of funds, beyond his official salary, and used finances from a non-profit organization, designed to help impoverished Detroit residents. According to the Washington Post, he used this money to pay for travel, yoga sessions, golf clubs and camp visits for his children.
Accepting partial culpability for the financial damage inflicted upon Detroit, Kilpatrick offered these solemn words to the judge:
“I’m ready to move on… The people here are suffering, they’re hurting. A great deal of that hurt I accept responsibility for.”
Indeed, in a series of court documents, prosecutors highlighted that the social and economic crises that plagued Detroit for numerous decades was not solely Kilpatrick’s responsibility. However, they vehemently maintain that his administration’s fraudulent activities worsened the situation.
Meanwhile, the ex-mayor’s lawyers allege that he was being used as a scapegoat, unjustifiably taking the blame for the city’s insolvency.
Today’s sentencing signals the end of, what many once thought to be, a prosperous political career, destroyed by scandal, corruption and greed.
7 ABC News produced the following documentary, summarizing Kilpatrick’s tumultuous past:
By: James Fenner