Friday, August 08, 2008
Kwame Kilpatrick: the cliffs notes
Those of you who live outside Michigan may have seen the headlines that Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is in a bit of hot water. Here's a (relatively) brief summary of what's going on. (For an in-depth treatment, all of the Detroit Free Press's coverage is available here.)
Ages ago (in 2003), there was a rumor of a giant debauched party at the mayor's residence. A huge, Playboy-mansion-esque party. None of these rumors have ever been substantiated, but City police investigated, and Kilpatrick and his chief of staff Christine Beatty realized that the investigators were going to discover that they were having an affair.
So they fired the investigating officers.
The officers sued for wrongful termination. Kilpatrick and Beatty testifed in court that they were not having an affair and that the officers were fired for reasons unrelated to the investigation.
Kilpatrick lost the civil suit, a $6 million judgement.
While Kilpatrick was preparing his appeal, the officers' lawyer discovered text messages, sent on city pagers, demonstrating that Kilpatrick and his chief of staff were indeed having an affair, and thus that they had lied on the stand. Confronted with this information Kilpatrick settled the case, for $9 million (in city money) and arranged to have the messages kept secret.
Eight months ago or so, the Detroit Free Press got their hands on the text messages, and published them, leading to the perjury charges.
Kilpatrick has refused to resign, but he seems to be having trouble living up to the conditions of his bond. His personal travel was restricted, and he was supposed to give 48 hours notice to the court any time he needed to travel on city business.
Yesterday, Kilpatrick had a hearing because the court found out that he had traveled to Windsor on July 23 on city business without notifying the court. The judge found out about it by reading it in the newspaper. Days later. Which means that Kilpatrick not only didn't inform the court ahead of time, he didn't even bother to tell them after he got back.
The infuriating part is that all he would have had to do was make a phone call to the judge to let him know that he needed to make an emergency trip on city business.
Kilpatrick was jailed yesterday on the bond violation for the trip to Windsor, but an appeal judge this morning gave him a new $50,000 full-cash bond with no travel allowed and the requirement that Kilpatrick wear a GPS tether.
On July 24, the day after his trip to Windsor, Kilpatrick shoved a police officer who was attempting to locate and serve a warrant on a friend of Kilpatrick's. This took place at Kilpatrick's sister's house at 4:00pm on a Thursday afternoon. There has never been any explanation of why Kilpatrick was at his sister's house in the middle of the afternon in the middle of the work week.
Today, the Michigan Attorney General charged Kilpatrick with two felony counts of assaulting a cop. Which itself may be a violation of Kilpatrick's bond conditions in the perjury case, and may get him thrown back in jail.
And this is the sitting Mayor!
So the best-case scenario now would be for the governor to remove the mayor, which would leave the rest of us able to focus on the bribery accusations being made against City Council members.
God bless Detroit.