March 12, 2013

The Sad Saga of Kwame Kilpatrick Comes to a Pathetic Close

Kwame Kilpatrickformer mayor of Detroit, was found guilty on Monday of a slew of charges, including racketeering, fraud and extortion, a sad, pathetic end to a five-month public corruption trial against him and two co-defendants.  I lived and worked in Detroit during the Kwame years and I have to tell you that today's verdict left me feeling hollow and unsatisfied.  I left Detroit six years ago.  It's taken this long for some measure of accountability to be meted out?  Kwame ran the city of Detroit for six years.  Six years in which he was allowed by a foolish and divided city council, a too often complacent city electorate and a willingly complicit business community to loot and pillage using the power of his office.  Handing contracts to his cronies, diverting grants for low income people into contracts for his wife, sleeping with his chief of staff and generally living the high life on the people's dime.  Meanwhile the city of Detroit was going down hill the entire time, picking up speed like a boulder down a hill, held back by a totally dysfunctional city government beset and besotted with a culture of incompetence and petty corruption, a culture created by the behavior of the man at the top, Kwame Kilpatrick. 

*blink* Really?!!  I'm sorry, thats baloney. 

 McQuade might have a point if this accountability had come back when Kwame was busy looting the city for his own benefit and that of his cronies. But it didn't.  Kwame was looting the city in plain sight and there was no accountability.  The people didn't demand it, the city council was often complicit in it and the business community looked the other way until the whole thing became too blatantly and obviously criminal to ignore with a straight face.  Where was the accountability when Kwame's pastor called up my former colleague Donna Williams to tell her that Kwame wanted her to hire his wife for $75,000?

The time for all this accountability was when he was robbing the city blind and screwing over the citizens of Detroit with his foolishness.  The time for accountability was when police officers investigating the death of Tamara Greene were fired.  The time for accountability was when his culture of corruption had city officials engaged in petty thievery and his chief of staff ultimately destroying her life due to misguided love. That was when he should have been brought up short.  Six years later, the city is circling the drain and this conviction does nothing for them. It might have made a difference back when he was in office.  It means little to nothing now, other than a form of sad, sorry and pathetic closure to a sordid and juvenile saga of abuse of power and corruption in office.