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Ex-Detroit Mayor Hammered Again: Indicted on Public Corruption Charges with Father and Others

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, already facing an avalanche of legal trouble, was hammered again on Wednesday when a federal grand jury in Detroit  indicted him, his father, a city contractor and former aides on public corruption charges centering on government contracts and kickbacks.

In announcing the 38-count  indictment at a televised afternoon press conference, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Kilpatrick used  “his public office as a corrupt organization.”  Authorities said the probe was ongoing for six-years.

Kilpatrick, 40,  once dubbed the “hip hop mayor”,   is currently in prison, serving time for failing to pay $1 million in restitution after he pleaded in 2008 to obstruction of justice charges for  lying  about an affair with his chief of staff and about the discharge of a police official while  under oath during a whistle-blower lawsuit. The lies were revealed in Kilpatrick’s text messages the Detroit Free Press published.

He was sentenced in May to 18 months to 5 years in prison for violating his probation.

A month later, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on 19 federal counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion and filing a false tax return. He was Detroit mayor from 2002 to 2008.

Others indicted Wednesday  included Kilpatrick’s father Bernard Kilpatrick, city contractor Bobby Ferguson, former top Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller and former water department chief Victor Mercado.

The indictment alleged that the defendants extorted money from municipal contracts and were knee-deep in bribery.

Authorities alleged that city contractor Ferguson kicked back at least $424,000 in cash and other items of value to Mayor Kilpatrick, and that the mayor used more than $590,000 of ill-gotten cash from the conspiracy to pay off credit card bills, buy clothes and pay off loans.

Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, who had long been under federal investigation, allegedly put $600,000 in cash into his bank accounts and was charged with filing  false tax returns.

U.S. Attorney McQuade, addressing criticisms that her office is piling on charges, said the new charges were far more significant than the ones Kilpatrick has faced in the past two years.  Plus, she said she wanted to send a message to politicians that leaving office doesn’t get you off the hook.


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