Orgy of Ignorance

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Voters in the nation’s capital city rebuked the President’s homie, Mayor Adrian Fenty.  Formally, we call what took place yesterday an election.  I call it an orgy of ignorance.  I am a race man to the core but what happened yesterday is unfathomable.

One of my home girls called me last night from D.C., and I asked her who she voted for.  The answer, of course, was Vincent Gray, the aging quadroon who is Chairman of the City Council.  I knew it was over without looking at a single return. I could not help berating her. Lacking conviction in her vote and stung by my attack she asked, “Why you ain’t call me?”  I should have said that I thought she had better sense than to throw out a decent brotha over a vague sense of racial grievance. The crap about gentrification and Fenty’s cabinet appointments are just blackfolks venting about the common misconception that Adrian is a House Negro too beholden to whitefolks.

Fenty’s loss is a triumph of style over substance because Gray certainly had no real programmatic objections that he chose to share. Fenty lost for two reasons:  1) His hard charging and humorless style rubbed too many the wrong way.  2) The unconscious desire of the black community to crucify a scapegoat because of their economic anxiety during this brutal recession.  Blackfolks convinced themselves that their black college educated Black Mayor with the black wife and kids did not care about black people.

I firmly believe that if Adrian Fenty had been caught by the FBI in a roach motel with a chickenhead and a crack pipe–he would have been re-elected in a landslide.  There would have been no question that Adrian was sufficiently black enough to vote for.  Functioning schools, tolerable crime, a responsive city government, and a healthy business climate are apparently anti-black instruments meant to oppress and demean black people.

I suppose having a Black Mayor who does not embarrass us with his extramarital affairs, ungrammatical profundity, and serial incompetence are a naïve expectation. I know it is unreasonable to expect that black folks would vote for a Black Mayor maniacally focused on making the city function properly by appointing people, regardless of race, who know what they are doing.

Fenty’s installation of Michelle Rhee, a Korean American, as Chancellor of the DC Schools, was a bridge too far. She single-handedly turned around one of the most catastrophically inadequate urban school systems in the country by demanding excellence and holding teachers accountable for black student success.  She even had the temerity to fire bad teachers.  We cannot have that. Rather than graduate school prepared for a career, it is better for the community if Black children drop out of school and remain trapped in a cycle of poverty. Politicians get bonus points if a disproportionate number of Black children end up dead or in jail.

Things were definitely better in the District during the halcyon days of the Barry Administration. Those were the days when the city was on autopilot. Nearly every city agency was under federal receivership because of gross mismanagement, and a congressionally appointed control board unaccountable to the people controlled the purse strings.   At least Barry was pro-Black, whatever that is supposed to mean.

Barbara Lee assumes leadership of CBC

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Yesterday, in a rare act of mental clarity and ideological congruence with the black community, the Congressional Black Caucus elected progressive champion Barbara Lee, 62, as it’s chairwoman.    She accepted the gavel of leadership from the galactically corrupt, inept and stupifyingly arrogant Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, the worst congressional caucus chairman in all of human history.

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, the chief enabler and mother of the felonious a**clown Kwame Kilpatrick, the former “Playa Mayor” of Detroit, should’ve resigned from the chairmanship, the caucus, and the race, and been downright embarrassed to be seen in public, but the plucky doyenne of Detroit ain’t got no shame in her game.

The people of Detroit apparently do have a sense of shame and almost sent her tail back home in last August’s Democratic primary.  They sought to punish her for the incredibly tacky, ghetto soap opera of sleeze playing out daily on television and in print. 

It was incredibly demoralizing how the caucus and the House Democratic leadership circled the wagons around a corrupt “public servant” who chose to empower her relations rather than her constituents by finding new and sleezy methods of using nepotism and cronyism to fortify the Kilpatrick Dynasty’s political machine.

Moreover, she led the caucus into betraying the economic interests of the black and brown constituents they’ve been elected to serve by heeding Barack Obama’s call to bailout Wall-Street instead of Mainstreet.

Normally progressive members like Barbara Lee followed her lead, listened to the House Leadership and Barack Obama, and jumped off a cliff into the waiting arms of economic catastrophe.

My prayer is that Barabara listens to the still, small voice of her mentor Shirley Chisholm and tunes out the House Leadership and the president elect on matters of progressive principle.

Evidence mounts against Kilpatrick in Murder

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Hat Tip: Ben Schmitt and Jim Schaeffer, Detroit Free Press

A Detroit Fire Department EMS supervisor said he talked with a swollen-faced Tamara Greene the night she was supposedly assaulted by the wife of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, according to a court filing today.

Lt. Michael Kearns signed an affidavit with Birmingham attorney Norman Yatooma in which he says he interviewed Greene, a stripper, at a gas station on Jefferson and Conner in the fall of 2002.

“The woman was very upset and had swelling over her left eye,” Kearns said, adding she and a friend “were dancing at a party at the Manoogian Mansion and that the Mayor’s wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, threw a fit, hit her and the other dancer, then kicked them out of the house.”

Yatooma filed the disclosures today in U.S. District Court in connection with a lawsuit that accuses the city of thwarting an investigation into Greene’s April 30, 2003, killing.

In his affidavit, Kearns said Greene was also talking with Detroit Police officers and an EMS unit arrived and subsequently transported her to a hospital. The affidavit does not name any of the EMS workers or police officers.

Kearns said the incident occurred on a Friday or Saturday night, but he did not remember the date.

He said he never came forward: “out of fear for my career and my safety.”

Kearns said in his affidavit that he told his story to Lt. John Morrell in the Detroit Police Department homicide section in June of this year. Morrell asked Kearns to submit to an interview with another homicide detective, Mike Carlisle, Kearns said. He said he ran into Carlisle on a police run about two weeks ago, but still has not been interviewed.

Carlisle said today when contacted by the Free Press that Kearns didn’t have enough specific information.

“At the time I spoke with him, he was unable to provide enough information for me to actually conduct any type of interview,” Carlisle said. “I advised him that if he could give me some solid information on dates and times when this occurred that we would set up a time and date to talk. To this day, I have not heard back from him.”

A second EMS supervisor, retired Lt. Walter Godzwon, gave an affidavit saying he saw Mayor Kilpatrick at Detroit Receiving Hospital with his bodyguards one night in the fall of 2002. He did not give a specific date.

He said he learned through conversations that the mayor’s bodyguards brought an injured woman to the hospital.

Reached today, Godzwon told the Free Press he is a city resident and has a pension and “I’m in the middle of this and I’m not a willing participant. This is a stage of my life I would like to forget about.”

Godzwon said he also saw former Detroit emergency medical technician Douglas Bayer at the scene.

Bayer recently filed a whistle-blower’s lawsuit against the city, alleging he was retaliated against for providing the Michigan State Police with information about the rumored party at the Manoogian Mansion.

“I made these statements because they’re the truth,” Godzwon said. “Someone put me at the scene and asked me specific questions. I don’t lie.”

The Kilpatrick Dynasty: Cynical, Corrupt, Dangerous

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Detroit’s infamous Kilpatrick Dynasty faces a test today as Michigan voters go to the polls to select nominees for the fall general election. Amid the light turnout, apathy and summer malaise, the Dynasty’s continued existence as a national power remains unclear. A poll last week by the Detroit News indicates Mrs. Kilpatrick, the Mayor’s mother and enabler, has a large disapproval rating and only the support of a third of the electorate. If her challengers ultimately fail It wasn’t for lack of trying. Former state Representative Mary Waters and State Senator Martha Scott did the best they could in the short time that they had to shed some light on the shady dealings of Detroit’s first family of sleaze and hold them accountable.

THE FAMILY THAT PREYS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER

In the aftermath of the massive firestorm that erupted when Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was found to have lied under oath in connection with illegally firing several police officers on his security detail and a deputy police chief to cover up his infidelity with his Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, other questionable acts of abuse of power and malfeasance came to light. No matter the allegation alleged: perjury, obstruction of justice, misappropriation of public funds, nepotism, questionable no-bid contracts, and even murder, the Kilpatricks remain unified in their efforts to maintain a stranglehold on power.

TAMARA GREENE-CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MURDER?

A $150 million dollar lawsuit was filed this spring by Jonathan Bond and his Father, Ernest Flagg against the City of Detroit and Kwame Kilpatrick in the unresolved death of stripper Tamara Greene, 27, who was gunned down in a hail of bullets after allegedly providing the “entertainment” at a never-proven party at Mannoogian Mansion sometime in the fall of 2002. What was believed to be an urban legend has proven to have some legitimacy after a retired clerical employee of the police department came forward to say that she had seen the police report in the incident and a police officer came forward to allege that he believed Ms. Greene was deliberately killed by law enforcement at the behest of the Mayor and that they covered it up.

BERNARD KILPATRICK-THE GODFATHER

The Mayor’s father and Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick’s ex-husband were Wayne County’s premier Black power couple back in the day when she was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives and he served on the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. Despite the dissolution of their union, they remain close to this day and their joint project, Kwame, is the apple of their eyes. Mr. Bernard used to eclipse his ex-wife in power and prestige before her election to congress due to his long service as Chief of Staff and Deputy to the Wayne County Executive .

I believe that it was he, more than any other single individual, that led to former County Executive Ed McNamara’s pivotal endorsement of Kwame’s bid for Mayor. McNamara’s endorsement was crucial to almost everyone in statewide politics and guided many high profile elected officials, like Governor Jennifer Granholm, to victory.

Carolyn Kilpatrick has been a vocal booster of her son’s political career, no matter her sons failings as a public servant, husband and father. She serves as the more public face of the dynasty, but I believe that Mr. Bernard’s quiet counsel is the more influential because he seems to be the offstage presence directing Kwame’s disastrous Mayoralty from behind the scenes.

It was revealed early last month that there is a federal investigation of a questionable $47 million dollar sludge contract with Synagro Technologies, a contract approved in divided 5-4 vote by the city council currently at war with his son. Reports confirmed that Federal officials placed a wiretap on Mr. Bernard’s home and cell phones late last year and the taps ended this spring. Moreover, several members of the City Council and persons associated with Synagro also had taps placed.

After his 2002 retirement from the Wayne County Executive’s office, Mr. Bernard opened a lobbying firm he named Maestro Associates LLC in honor of his late father, James Kilpatrick, who was called “Maestro”and was eulogized as “the conductor of the family.” I believe those duties have fallen to Mr. Bernard now and his advice and counsel have run his son and protege, and the city of Detroit, off the rails.

Maestro Associates, according to published reports, “provide(s) information to help businesses work with the state, county and local governments. Mr. Bernard told the media that “When you’re working in government for 20 years, you get ideas on how to help businesses grow.” It is clear that federal investigators believe that some of those ideas include a pay-to-play mentality in government contracting.

The Mayor’s campaign finance records show he paid more than $170,000 for “consulting” services to Michael Tardiff and Mr. Bernard. Again, according to published reports, the Feds bum rushed Tardiff to detail the relationship between Mr. Bernard and Synagro minority subcontractor, Rayford Johnson. It isn’t clear what Kwame is paying daddy for.

However, what is clear is that Synargro Technology, through its minority subcontractor, Rayford Jackson, funneled a series of campaign contributions to most of the Detroit City Council in what seems to be a not-to-slick effort to smooth the path of approval for their multi-billion dollar deal. Jackson, who Mr. Bernard acknowleges knowing, isn’t cooperating with federal investigators.

Mr. Bernard is also implicated in another investigation involving criminal tax evasion and fraud. Jon Rutherford, head of a Detroit homeless shelter, paid Mr. Bernard in excess of $100,000 for work federal investigators can find no evidence of. Rutherford was indicted in 2006 “for diverting money from his company to make $750,000 in illegal campaign contributions and dodging taxes on $2 million in income.”

Rutherford contributed to both Kwame’s campaign’s and that of Governor Granholm, who state law has invested with the authority to remove Kilpatrick from office for misconduct. She is currently considering the request from Detroit’s city council to remove the mayor from office.

According to the Associated Press, “The county’s state-court lawsuit against Rutherford and his treasurer and co-defendant Judith Bugaiski says they embezzled and stole. Rutherford and Bugaiski have pleaded not guilty in the criminal case and deny wrongdoing in the civil case.” Rutherford’s company had a $22.7 million dollar contract with the Detroit-Wayne County Mental Health Agency, an organization that Mr. Bernard was appointed to Chair by his son the Mayor. Mr. Bernard was subpoenaed in the case but asserted his 5th Amendment rights.

Lost in the shuffle for lucrative contracts and consulting fees are the homeless and mentally ill that the agency is supposed to serve and the taxpayers of Detroit.

NEPOTISM RUN AMUCK

While nightmarish visions of crooked contracts dance in the heads of the beleaguered citizens of Detroit, Kilpatrick, Inc is busy hiring its various and sundry kith and kin to public jobs at exorbitant wages while justifying the layoffs of over 4000 city employees and draconian cuts to city services. The Detroit Free Press reported that “On average, longtime appointees within the mayor’s office with familly or personal connections to the mayor or (Christine) Beatty saw a 36% salary jump from 2002 to 2007.”

Among those Kwame hired are his uncle Ray Cheeks, at a salary of $89,000. Mr. Cheeks managed the neighborhood city halls and apparently was oblivious or looked the other way while his deputy misappropriated $146,000. Mr. Cheeks subsequently left the job and was promoted to executive assistant to the mayor at a salary of $93,000. To the vacant position, Kwame appointed another relative, his cousin Akua Bragg-Porter. Not content to stop there, he hired his cousin and Mr. Cheeks’ daughter Nneka as an assistant to the Mayor making $50,500. She, too, was subsequently promoted to the position of executive assistant to the mayor and received a boost to $62,025.

Both Mr. Cheeks and his daughter reported on resumes obtained by the Detroit Free Press that they exaggerated their educations. Mr. Cheeks reported that he had graduated from Western Michigan State and his daughter reported that she had attended Michigan State. Neither claim was substantiated upon further investigation. During this entire period, regular rank and file city employees received 2% raises in 2003 and 2004.

AYANNA AND CARLITA KILPATRICK’s Next Vision Foundation Hustle

The Mayor’s Sister is President and CEO of the Next Vision Foundation, a fraudulent scholarship and piggy bank slush fund supposedly dedicated to the children in Detroit’s dismal public schools. According to a class action lawsuit filed against the foundation, more than half of the $717,000 raised in 2002 and 2003 went to pay for the salary of the President and CEO. Not to be left out, Mrs. Carlita Kilpatrick, the mayors wife, got her slice of the pie as a part-time event planner.

According to the attorney filing the lawsuit. “They took money from a scholarship fund that was purported to be given money to high school students for their education and gave it to themselves for salaries. We see that as really a breach of trust on the Detroit students. We believe that that money should be reimbursed by Kwame Kilpatrick to the Detroit school students.”

FACING THE MUSIC

The enormous sense of entitlement and the shameless corruption of the Kilpatrick family is evident in Carolyn Kilpatrick’s continued defense of her son’s indefensible behavior. The fact that she is the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus is even more embarrassing. It is my sincere prayer that voters send this family a message that public officials shouldn’t be for sale and that honesty and the public good still mean something.

Although initially in third place, Carolyn Kilpatrick pulled off a win by the skin of her corrupt teeth. This victory is further evidence that the family that preys together, stays together and will live on to cynically exploit the people of Detroit for another day.

Fired cop may challenge Kwame’s Mama

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Hat Tip: Robert Snell and Charlie LeDuff / The Detroit News

DETROIT — Fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown, fresh from beating Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick during the police whistle-blower trial, is mulling a campaign for mayor or against the mayor’s mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.

Brown and one of his consultants confirmed today that polling will begin soon to gauge his support for a run at mayor next year or a campaign this year for the 13th District, which spreads from the Grosse Pointes to Downriver.

Brown insists it’s not personal and would only discuss his interest in taking on Cheeks Kilpatrick, 62. But his candidacy could turn what has traditionally been a campaign cakewalk for the six-term congresswoman into a bitter race with a subplot of the decorated deputy police chief against the mother of the man who ended his law enforcement career.

“I certainly don’t blame her for anything he’s done,” Brown said. “It’s really her record I want to run against, not him.”

Brown said he plans to seed the campaign with money from the $3 million share settlement he received last year when a Wayne County jury found that Kilpatrick ousted him for investigating the mayor and his security team.

Don’t talk about it, bruh, be about it.  

Playa Mayor and his Ho plead not guilty

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Hat Tip: BY DAVID ASHENFELTER AND JOE SWICKARD • DETROIT FREE PRESS

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty stood mute at their arraignments on charges of perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and misconduct today, and a magistrate entered not guilty pleas on their behalf.

They each were released on personal bonds of $75,000, and preliminary examinations for each were set for June 9.

Beatty’s attorneys asked Chief Magistrate Steve Lockhart whether she would be allowed to leave the state to visit her two children, who are in Chicago. Lockhart said yes, but she would have to receive advance permission for any other trips. Kilpatrick also will be allowed to leave the state without permission, but he must give advance notice of the time and his whereabouts.

During Beatty’s arraignment, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran raised a question about whether her lawyer, Mayer Morganroth of Southfield, has a conflict of interest because he also represents Kilpatrick and the city in a lawsuit over the death of stripper Tamara Greene, who was rumored to have danced at a rumored wild party at Manoogian mansion. “There is no conflict at this time,” Morganroth replied, adding that he didn’t see any in the future.

Moran also raised the issue that the entire 36th District Court bench might need to be disqualified from conducting the June 9 preliminary examination because one or two judges may be called as witnesses.

Secret Lovers Indicted

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Hat Tip: By DAVID ASHENFELTER and JOE SWICKARD • DETROIT FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and former chief of staff Christine Beatty were charged today in a 12-county indictment with perjury, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office and conspiracy because of their conduct in last year’s police whistle-blower trial, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced.

Kilpatrick is charged with eight felonies and Beatty with seven. They are: perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office.

Worthy said the perjury charges accuse the two of lying during a whistle-blower lawsuit about the firing of Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown and about their romantic relationship.

Kilpatrick, 38, serving his seventh year in office, is the first Detroit mayor to face criminal charges while still in office. The perjury charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

“Lying cannot be tolerated, even if a judge and jury can see through it and doesn’t buy the line,” Worthy said at a packed news conference.

“Witnesses must give truthful testimony,” she added. “Oaths mean something.”

Right after Worthy’s announcement, the mayor’s office sent out a news release saying he and his attorney will hold a news conference at noon to respond. But at 12:45 p.m., they still had not appeared.

The mayor is expected to be arraigned at 5 p.m. today in 36th District Court in Detroit. It wasn’t clear when Beatty will turn herself in, but she must do so before 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Worthy declined to say whether she thinks the mayor should step down. Beatty resigned on Feb. 8.

During her news conference, Worthy said city lawyers had tried to erect barriers to her investigation, forcing prosecutors to go to court to try to obtain documents. She said investigators are still trying to obtain documents for the investigation, which will continue.

“At every bend and turn, there have been attempts by the city through one lawyer or another to block aspects of our investigation,” Worthy said. “Some documents have been turned over, but we have been told that others have been destroyed or lost. We don’t know when or by whom.”

She said the investigation wasn’t about sex, but about destroying the lives and careers of three good cops.

“Gary Brown’s, Harold Nelthrope’s and Walter Harris’ lives and careers were forever changed,” Worthy said. “They were ruined financially and their reputations were completely destroyed because they chose to be dutiful police officers.”

She added: “Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people’s lives were ruined, the justice system severely mocked and the public trust trampled on.”

Worthy said she had discussed the investigation with U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy, but declined to say what they discussed. Murphy declined today to comment on Worthy’s statement. The FBI is monitoring the investigation, according to people familiar with the case.

She said her staff had reviewed more than 40,000 pages of documents and interviewed many witnesses. She said her investigation had led to other possible defendants whom she didn’t identify. Worthy said her team of prosecutors on the case includes Lisa Lindsey, Robert Moran, Athina Siringas, Robert Spada and Timothy Baughman.

Worthy’s investigation began after the Free Press uncovered text messages that showed a romantic relationship between Kilpatrick and Beatty — a relationship both had denied under oath during a police whistle-blower lawsuit last summer. The pair also gave misleading testimony about the firing of Brown, the messages show.

Kilpatrick authorized a settlement in that case to pay the former officers $8.4 million.

Despite the false testimony, a Wayne County Circuit Court jury last September awarded Brown and Nelthrope $6.5 million in damages. Kilpatrick vowed to appeal, but on Oct. 17, abruptly decided to settle the case and a second police whistle-blower suit involving former mayoral bodyguard Walt Harris for $8.4 million – $9 million with legal costs.

Kilpatrick settled after the cops’ lawyer, Mike Stefani, informed the mayor’s lawyer that he had the incriminating text messages and would reveal them in court papers he planned to file to justify his request for legal fees in the whistle-blower case.

Although Kilpatrick apologized for his conduct in a televised appearance with his wife, Carlita, in late January, he has blamed the media for his troubles and rejected calls from the City Council, Attorney General Mike Cox and city union locals to resign.

Settlement documents the Free Press obtained last month through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the city show that – contrary to Kilpatrick’s claim that he decided to settle based on advice from friends, advisers and ordinary citizens – he made peace with the cops after discovering that Stefani had the text messages.

Although Kilpatrick’s lawyers settled the suit with one agreement on Oct. 17, they decided to split it into public and private settlements after the Free Press requested a copy.

The public agreement showed how much the former cops would be paid. The secret agreement, signed by Kilpatrick and Beatty, swore Brown, Nelthrope and Stefani to secrecy about the text messages under threat of forfeiting their settlement proceeds and legal fees.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr. released the secret agreement last month after the Kilpatrick administration repeatedly denied its existence. Colombo released the agreement and other secret settlement records after the administration appealed unsuccessfully to the Michigan Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court, which rejected Kilpatrick’s claim that the documents weren’t public documents.

The City Council, which was kept in the dark about Kilpatrick’s reasons for settling the lawsuit and never saw the confidential side agreement, voted 7-1 last week to pass an advisory resolution calling for the mayor to resign. It also ordered an investigation of the episode and directed its auditor general to look into spending by the mayor’s office and the city Law Department.

Kilpatrick went on television with his wife in late January and apologized for his conduct, he insists there was no cover-up and has blamed the news media for most of his problems. He accused the Free Press of illegally obtaining the text messages – which the newspaper denies– and accusing the media of conducting a public lynching. He said the text messages and the settlement agreement that concealed them should never have been made public.

He also said the text messages were private even though he signed a policy directive in June 2000 advising city employees that all electronic communications should be considered public.

So far, Kilpatrick has refused to step down, saying he is on a divinely-inspired mission to help rebuild the city. But conviction of a felony would force him to resign.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I give you Atlantic Starr singing that old 80′s jam, Secret Lovers.