Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of several corruption charges in federal court Monday (March 11) morning. While on trial for the past five months, Kilpatrick was the centerpiece of a scandal that highlighted a staggering abuse of power.
Kilpatrick, friend and business associate Bobby Ferguson, and the ex-mayor’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, were involved in a conspiracy by way of rigging city contracts in their favor and other various scams. The younger Kilpatrick faced the heaviest charges, as jurors found him guilty on 24 of 30 counts which included racketeering, extortion, bribery, and tax fraud.
Ferguson, a city contractor, was found guilty of 9 of the 11 counts he faced. The elder Kilpatrick was relatively unscathed, after being found guilty on just one of four charges. At 1:30 p.m., the men will face judge U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds for a detention hearing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is demanding that the trio be held.
This latest blow to the 42-year-old Kilpatrick adds to a legacy of controversy that spans well over a decade. In April 2003, exotic dancer Tamara Greene was shot and killed in what investigators said was a planned hit. Greene and Kilpatrick’s wife were allegedly involved in an altercation during a 2002 party inside the mayor’s mansion. It was reported that the gun used in the slaying was the same firearm issued by officers on Detroit’s police force.
The current trial focused on a series of secret deals helmed by the Kilpatricks and Ferguson, involving a monopoly of city contracts and bullying of competition. Prosecutors dubbed the scam, the “Kilpatrick Enterprise.”
The criminal organization was taken down through a series of audio and video surveillance, 80 government witnesses and other records. Current Detroit Mayor and former NBA star Dave Bing offered a statement on the case. “I am pleased that this long trial has ended and we can finally put this negative chapter in Detroit’s history behind us,” he said. “It is time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to transparency and high ethical standards in our City government.”