Corruption at Detroit's City Hall: America's dirtiest mayor jailed for 28 years

Kwame Kilpatrick oversaw the downfall of the now-bankrupt city that was once the beating heart of US car production

He was the city mayor who lined his pockets as the one-time industrial powerhouse he presided over lay in ruins. And now, as he faces 28-years behind bars, the former mayor of Detroit has said the city can finally “move on” following a series of corruption scandals.

The conviction of Kwame Kilpatrick, who served as mayor for six years until 2008, brings to a sorry end the ruin of the man who represented the downfall of the now-bankrupt city that was once the beating heart of US car production.

In March the 43-year-old was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. He resigned as mayor after lying under oath in a lawsuit, later approving an $8.4million (£5.3m) settlement to cover it up.

During his time at the head of the North Eastern city 18 other officials were convicted of corruption while homes were repossessed, buildings lay vacant and street lights were switched off.

Last July Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy - the largest municipal filing in US history - with debts estimated at up to $20bn. Kilpatrick is said to fattened his bank accounts by hundreds of thousands of dollars as the city lay in ruins.

“I'm ready to go so the city can move on,” Kilpatrick said. “The people here are suffering, they're hurting. A great deal of that hurt I accept responsibility for.”

Kilpatrick's correspondence revealed his efforts to fix lucrative contracts for his friend, Bobby Ferguson, an excavator who earned millions from the city water department.

Contractors said they were forced to take on Ferguson as a partner or risk losing lucrative deals. The Government alleged that he in turn shared cash with Kilpatrick. It is believed that Ferguson illegally received $73m in city contracts through Kilpatrick's manipulations. He is due to be sentenced on Friday after being convicted on nine counts of corruption.

The Democrat mayor's dealings - including brokering a $1.44bn deal in 2005 to restructure Detroit's pension liabilities - were widely blamed for driving the city towards bankruptcy.

Federal agents who poured over bank accounts and credit cards said Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his salary during his time as mayor. His defence attorneys subsequently attempted to portray the money as generous gifts from political supporters.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 28 years in prison Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 28 years in prison (Getty)
It was also alleged that Kilpatrick also tapped a non-profit fund, which was created to help distressed Detroit residents, to pay for yoga, camps for his children, golf clubs and travel.

“A man with the charisma and ability of Mr Kilpatrick chose to use his talents on personal aggrandisement and enrichment when he had the potential to do so much for the city,'' said Judge Nancy Edmunds before imposing the sentence. ”At the very least, a significant sentence will send a message that this kind of conduct will not be tolerated.“

Kilpatrick actually resigned in a different scandal that was extraordinary at the time but later seemed insignificant compared to the sweeping federal probe that has led to the mass convictions.

Sexually explicit text messages revealed that Kilpatrick had lied during a trial to cover up an affair with his top aide, Christine Beatty, and to hide the reasons for demoting or firing police officers who suspected wrongdoing at city hall.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?