The weeks-long trial of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is beginning to read as a worst-practices manual for elected officials. Evidence of bribes, misuse of public office, failure to report gifts, failure to reimburse travel, and large cash payments to relatives all combine to paint a dreary picture of the administration of Mayor Kilpatrick.
The latest allegations to make headlines involve the Mayor’s father, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash he deposited over the last seven years. Bernard Kilpatrick is facing charges of tax evasion and is embroiled in his son’s corruption scandal. The IRS does not know where the $605,000 in cash came from, but Mr. Kilpatrick’s defense attorneys have offered one scenario: Mr. Kilpatrick is an avid gambler and they may be his winnings.
However, as the case against Mayor Kilpatrick continues, the scope of his alleged scheming continues to broaden.
According to Tony Soave, a businessman with contracts for city work, Mayor Kilpatrick used his private jet to travel and vacation across the country. The bill for the 20 round-trip flights on the jet totaled nearly $400,000 – and Soave hasn’t received reimbursement for any of it. Soave also alleges that he paid for the Mayor’s shopping spree in New York, including a $6,000 watch and a $1,200 purse.
Mr. Soave said that he considered the use of the jet and other favors as part of doing business with the City, where appeasing Mayor Kilpatrick was essential to securing work. In one situation, Soave said that his contracts were held up because he hadn’t hired one of Mayor Kilpatrick’s friends as a subcontractor. When Soave made the switch, the contract moved forward.