DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick should be sent to prison for at least 28 years for “astonishing” corruption that enriched him and his family while a desperate city slid toward financial collapse, prosecutors said Thursday.
The 51-page filing came a week before Kilpatrick is to be sentenced in federal court for two dozen crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, fraud and tax offenses. The government presented a scathing summary of evidence from his months-long trial and said the corruption tops all recent cases prosecuted elsewhere in federal court.
Detroit “desperately needed resolute leadership. Instead it got a mayor looking to cash in on his office through graft, extortion and self-dealing,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Detroit is being run by emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who is trying to restructure at least $18 billion of long-term debt in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. He was appointed by the state in March, 4 ½ years after Kilpatrick left office in a different scandal.
“Kilpatrick is not the main culprit of the city’s historic bankruptcy, which is the result of larger social and economic forces at work for decades. But his corrupt administration exacerbated the crisis,” prosecutors said.
Agents at trial said Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his salary during his stint as mayor, from 2002 to fall 2008. There was evidence of bribes passed in brown bags and in a bathroom. A campaign fundraiser said she pulled money from her bra, and city contractors testified that they were ordered to give work to pal Bobby Ferguson — or lose it.
The government said Kilpatrick, 43, also tapped a nonprofit fund, which was created to help distressed Detroit residents, to pay for yoga, camps for his kids, golf clubs and travel.