“If it don’t come out in the wash, it will come out in the rinse.” –Anonymous
Not only is this adage relevant in the laundry room, but as numerous politicians have come to find, it is a profound reality of their chosen profession.
Here’s another one: You can run, but you can’t hide. And when your physical stature and ego are as large as Kwame Kilpatrick’s, hiding is not really an option.
The two consecutive terms of the Detroit mayor have been characterized by so many layers of indiscretions and, for lack of a better term, “trifling foolishness,” that I had to break this column into two parts in order to fully encapsulate the litany of transgressions that threaten to turn the once-heralded Motown Messiah into a future guest of the Michigan Department of Corrections.
From a rumored party at the mayoral residence, complete with exotic dancers and a stripper beat down, allegedly served by a justifiably peeved first lady; to the infamous Whistleblower Trial in which the city of Detroit shelled out $850,000 to defend
Kilpatrick against police officers he fired after they began investigating allegations that he was using his security detail to hide an extramarital affair; in addition to an $8.4 million lawsuit settlement to the officers, Detroit citizens have had a bumpy ride with Kilpatrick behind the wheel.
Just when they thought it could not get much worse, it did.
Though publicly blaming “race” as the reason why he was found responsible for the unjustified termination of the Detroit Police Department whistleblowers, Kilpatrick’s continuing descent into the abyss of political corruption had less to do with the color of his skin and more to do with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.
With the Freedom of Information Act as their foundation, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press sued for, and eventually won, the release of all settlement documents related to the Whistleblower Trial.
Once unsealed, the documents revealed a confidentiality agreement between all parties involved in the Whistleblower Trial to never reveal the content of text messages between the mayor and Christine Beatty, who was then his chief of staff.
The need for the secret proviso would soon be revealed as a surreptitious attempt at shrouding the text messages, which would contradict the sworn testimonies of Kilpatrick and Beatty during the trial.
The revelation of the cover up had the most profound repercussions within the ranks of the Detroit City Council, which had unwittingly become accomplices in the Kilpatrick cover up by approving the $8.4 million settlement in the trial without knowledge of the confidentiality agreement and incriminating text messages.
Without pause, the duped City Council joined the legal battle to have the transcripts of the text messages released, and issued a non-binding resolution requesting Kwame Kilpatrick’s voluntary resignation as mayor of Detroit.
Earlier this year, the Kilpatrick regime suffered its most significant political trauma when the Detroit Free Press released transcripts of some of the 14,000 text messages that were exchanged by Kilpatrick and Beatty.
In addition to electronic dialogue that confirmed a conspiracy to fire Deputy Chief Gary Brown, the text messages also revealed the Kilpatrick “Friends and Family Plan,” the term used to characterize the preferential treatment given to friends and family of Kilpatrick for favors and awards of city contracts.
Arguably, the most damaging correspondences revealed the sometimes graphic messages regarding an extramarital affair between Kilpatrick and Beatty. In addition to declarations of amorous feelings and recaps of their regular sexual liaisons, the messages also confirmed the use of taxpayer money to fund their romantic getaways.
On March 24, 2008, the prosecutorial gauntlet came down in the form of a 12-count criminal indictment of Kilpatrick and Beatty.
Among the charges: Perjury, misconduct in office and obstruction of justice.
What boggles the mind after having time to digest the tenure of Kwame Kilpatrick is the lack of class and moral integrity that he has shown in the aftermath of all the scandals.
You would be hard pressed to find another big-city politician who has been more publicly deceitful and privately dishonest than Mr. Kilpatrick. Yet, as he prepares to go to trial and face his criminal charges, he still musters the audacity to remain in office and call on Detroit citizens to contribute to the Detroit Justice Fund to help finance his pending legal bills.
Kwame Kilpatrick has hoodwinked and bamboozled his family, members of the Detroit Police Department, the Detroit City Council and the citizens of that great and historic city.
Rather than go gracefully into the night and take his medicine like a big boy, he has done what most cowards do; muster support by creating a diversion (race), while garnering sympathy by playing the victim.
Detroit, you have my condolences, and my support.