Ex-Detroit Mayor Going to Jail But What About Mom?

Former Mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 18 months to five years in prison two weeks ago for violating probation. Kilpatrick was on probation for lying under oath in 2008 about a text messages to and from his then Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

His mother, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick (D-MI), has been luckier. She was cleared by the House Ethics Committee in February after taking part in a Caribbean junket, the same 2008 trip for which Charles Rangel was admonished, costing him his chairmanship of the Ways and Means committee.The Ethics Committee said that it found no evidence that Kilpatrick and four other members of Congress knew about the trip’s corporate sponsorship, despite the fact that NLPC provided the Committee, at its request, with clear evidence.

In fact, NLPC provided an audio recording of a Cheeks-Kilpatrick speech at the event, during which she stated:

And to the sponsors by the way, all of you, we couldn’t do this, be with you, help Karl if you weren’t here with us so we say thank you very much, you are so important. To all of the sponsors, thank you very much.

The “Karl” to whom Cheeks-Kilpatrick referred is Karl Rodney, the organizer of the event. The Ethics Committee alleged that Karl Rodney, and his wife Faye, lied to the Committee during its investigation about the corporate sponsorship. The matter was referred to the Justice Department. The Rodney’s may get prosecuted while Cheeks-Kilpatrick skates.

Her thanks to the sponsors were made behind a podium covered with the logos of Citigroup and other big companies, and under a banner with the same. This photo, taken by NLPC President Peter Flaherty, is of poor quality but shows how prominent the corporate sponsor logos were on the banner.

Cheeks-Kilpatrick photo

The other four members of Congress who were cleared by the Ethics Committee were: Donald Payne (D-NJ), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Donna Christensen (D-VI).

The former mayor’s sentencing is the latest development in Kilpatrick’s lengthy history of scandals and embarrassing headlines.

Back in 2002 it was rumored that a wild party took place at the city-owned mayoral residence known as Manoogian Mansion. Kilpatrick’s wife allegedly assaulted stripper Tamara Greene at the party.

On April 30, 2003 Tamara Greene was shot and killed in a parked car outside her home in Detroit. Rumors spread that Kilpatrick orchestrated the hit on Greene.

In May of 2003, Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown began to look into a number of alleged offenses by Kilpatrick. These include improper overtime use of Kilpatrick’s bodyguards, the party at Manoogian Mansion and the death of Greene.

Brown and bodyguard Harold Nelthrope were conveniently fired later that month.

In June 2003 Attorney General Mike Cox deemed the party an “urban myth” and cleared Kilpatrick in Greene’s death after a five-week investigation.

Before election for a second term in 2005, Kilpatrick was ridiculed for using city credit cards to pay for expensive restaurant tabs. It was also revealed that Kilpatrick’s wife had used a city-leased car for herself. Despite these revelations, Kilpatrick won reelection.

In 2007 Brown and Nelthrope were awarded $8.4 million in a settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed after their terminations in 2003. Kilpatrick and Beatty denied the alleged affair in this 2007 case.

In 2008, the content of the text messages were released to the public through the FOIA. The text messages exposed Kilpatrick and Beatty’s affair. The text messages also revealed that Kilpatrick and Beatty made the decision to fire Brown. “It had to happen though…” Kilpatrick said in one text message.

Wayne County prosecutor Kim Worthy charged Kilpatrick with nine felony counts in the wake of the new text message information. These counts included obstruction of justice, perjury and official misconduct.

In 2008, Kilpatrick pled guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to four months in jail but only served 99 days. Kilpatrick then violated his parole by living in a swanky mansion in Texas while claiming he was living below the poverty line and not reporting his assets.


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