It was anticipated for many months, and on Wednesday federal prosecutors indicted imprisoned ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on 19-criminal counts stemming from his scheme to use the nonprofit Kilpatrick Civic Fund for personal benefit and campaign expenses.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Kilpatrick, who is serving prison time for state probation violation, devised a scheme starting in 1999 to bilk the fund that was used to pay friends and relatives and cash kickbacks for himself. It also covered expenses ranging from countersurveillance and anti-bugging equipment to yoga and golf lessons, golf clubs and summer camp for his children.
In all, his unreported income amounted to $640,000 between between 2003 and 2008, authorities said.
The indictment was another embarrassment for an impoverished city trying to reinvent itself while struggling to provide the basic services for its citizens. Kilpatrick, once a young, promising political figure dubbed the “Hip Hop Mayor”, quickly fell from the top of the political heap after he got caught lying in a whistleblower case involving the police department.
“It is important that public officials not escape prosecution just because they leave office,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in the statement announcing the indictment. “Public officials need to be accountable to deter them and others from cheating our citizens in the future.”
Detroit FBI Chief Andrew Arena said in a statement that the charges are part of a continuing investigation into “the corruption that has long plagued the City of Detroit.