BLACK VOICES

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Dad Cost Taxpayers $1.17 Million In Legal Bills

Feb 12, 2014 | Updated Feb 12, 2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Disgraced former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was found guilty of numerous counts of racketeering and extortion in his federal corruption case last year, but it's taxpayers who are paying for it.

Court records released Wednesday to the Detroit Free Press show taxpayers have spent a grand total of $813,806 on defense for the cash-strapped Kilpatrick, with most going to his five court-appointed attorneys and some going to an accountant, investigator, transcripts and jury consultant.

The legal fees for his father Bernard Kilpatrick, who was convicted on one tax count and is serving 15 months, cost taxpayers $352,777, putting the total Kilpatrick family's fees at nearly $1.17 million. (See the Free Press for the full breakdown of costs.)

Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison in October after his conviction last March. Prosecutors charged that he ran a criminal enterprise out of City Hall while serving as Mayor of Detroit from 2002-2008.

Kilpatrick already owes millions, including $195,000 for tax crimes during his mayoral term and $4.5 million in restitution to the city for the corruption charges, according to the Associated Press.

Among other accusations, the prosecution alleged that Kilpatrick used donations from his fund for the needy to support his own leisure activities. They said he spent $840,000 more during his time as mayor than he earned and that he steered millions in contracts to close friend Bobby Ferguson, who was also found guilty in March but paid his own legal fees.

"Kwame Kilpatrick was entrusted by the citizens of Detroit to guide their city through one of its most challenging periods," wrote U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in the prosecution's sentencing memo. "The city desperately needed resolute leadership. Instead it got a mayor looking to cash in on his office through graft, extortion and self-dealing."

Not everyone wants Kilpatrick in jail, however. The Freedom and Justice Trust purports to be a fund to raise money to free Kilpatrick from prison, with any donations considered a gift to the disgraced official.

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