The History Behind the Kwame Kilpatrick Saga

Who is Kwame Kilpatrick?

With the trial on hold until Tuesday, today we look back at how the former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, landed himself facing decades in prison.

Kilpatrick was Detroit’s own success story. He grew up on the west side of Detroit and graduated from Cass Technical High School receiving a full scholarship for football from Florida A&M. According to Surrendered:

While others quit from such extreme environmental, biological and mental stress, Kilpatrick and his 6’4’’ 300 lb frame went on to become an All-American Offensive lineman for the mighty Rattlers of FAMU. Kilpatrick also became a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, at FAMU’s Beta Nu Chapter. He received his B.S. in Political Science and his teacher certification (with honors) in 1993, and returned home to begin his life of service to his community.

So how did this All-American become one of Detroit most hated men?

In November of 2001, Kwame Kilpatrick was elected mayor of Detroit. He appeared to be the charismatic leader that Detroit needed. However, in 2007 the former mayor pleaded guilty to lying under oath. That was just the beginning.

We fall, but this city always gets up. And I want to tell you Detroit, that you done set me up for a comeback.
– Kilpatrick, September 4, 2008

In January of 2008, the Detroit Free Press broke the texting story that showed Kilpatrick and his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, having lied under oath about their relationship. Two weeks prior to the texting story being revealed, Kilpartick tried to pay $8.4 million in tax payers’ dollars to the cops. That September, Kilpatrick plead guilty to 2 counts of obstructing justice in the texting story and entered jail in October.

“I look forward to complete exoneration, once the facts surrounding this matter have been brought forth.” -Kilpatrick

Since that scandal, charges of payouts have started piling up. Kilpatrick then worked out a plead deal that included:

  • 1 Million dollars in restitution
  • 5 years of probation
  • 120 days in jail
  • His registration

Again, that was not the end of it. Charges of bribery, exhortation and conspiracy hit Kilpatrick. In May of 2010, he was sentenced to from 18 months to five years in state prison due to violating his probation by hiding assets to evading paying the $1 million dollars restitution to the City of Detroit.

Then, while the federal case was gaining speed and a grand jury indicted what was call the Kilpatrick enterprise made up of Kwame himself, his father Bernard, Bobby Ferguson and former water department chief Victor Mercado on charges of racketeering and bribery extortion.

Now, you are up to date on the history of the Kwame Kilpatrick saga. For further explanation on Kilpatrick and his crimes visit the Detroit Free Press.

What are your thoughts about the Kwame Kilpatrick story?