I’ve spent the last few months evaluating whether I would continue this blog and if I did what format it would take. I’ve decided to press forward whether there is an audience or not and to write about the Congressional Black Caucus. At the height of their power, their influence on policy or lack there of is noteworthy. Of special interest is Maxine Waters, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Terri Sewell, and Hank Johnson. Stay tuned for more.
Hat Tip: Deb Price and paul egan / The Detroit News
In addition to Kilpatrick, her aide Andrea Bragg received subpoenas to testify before a grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan. The congresswoman’s son is former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, whose actions as mayor are being investigated by federal prosecutors.
Kilpatrick said she’ll have no further comment.
Though grand jury matters are secret, legal observers said Thursday it is likely the subpoenas relate to an ongoing federal investigation of the congresswoman’s son, and possibly her ex-husband, business consultant Bernard N. Kilpatrick.
There is no legal privilege that makes communications between a mother and son confidential, and the spousal privilege would only apply up to the time Bernard Kilpatrick and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick were not divorced, said Detroit attorney David Griem, a former federal and state prosecutor.
Griem speculated the subpoenas may be related to recent cash fundraising involving tens of thousands of dollars to cover the former mayor’s restitution payments that Cheeks Kilpatrick was involved in, according to media reports.
“I’m not sure of the propriety of a U.S. congresswoman spearheading such an effort on behalf of a family member, especially when the money is given in cash,” Griem said Thursday.
Most of Kilpatrick’s recent restitution payments from his state obstruction of justice conviction came in the form of money orders, many purchased by family members. Griem said he wouldn’t be surprised if everyone who purchased those money orders was subpoenaed before the grand jury.
Hat Tip: Deb Price / Detroit News Washington Bureau
Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Detroit, notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the subpoena in a letter March 1 but made it public Wednesday.
“After consulting with my attorney, I will make the determinations required” under House rules about how to respond, the congresswoman wrote in the March 1 letter. Members are required to report being subpoenaed, and the House clerk read Cheeks Kilpatrick’s notice as is customary.
The reading did not explain the matter in which she was being subpoenaed.
Cheeks Kilpatrick’s office said they had no comment on the subpoena or its contents.
The congresswoman’s son is former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, whose actions as mayor are being investigated by federal prosecutors.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s new spokesman, Mike Paul, who is from a New York public relations firm, said this morning that Kwame Kilpatrick has made no comment about his mother being served a grand jury subpoena.
Cheeks Kilpatrick office manager Andrea Bragg disclosed her subpoena to House officials March 1. The notice was published Tuesday in the Congressional Record.
Bragg said she would comply with the subpoena while Cheeks Kilpatrick said she is consulting an attorney on how to respond.
Michigan State Senator Hansen Clarke, according to his facebook page, is gathering volunteers and gearing up to challenge Michigan Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, the mother of scandal plagued former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. It is my contention that Mrs. Kilpatrick is in serious danger of losing her seat in the August Primary.
Mrs. Kilpatrick’s favorable ratings are in the toilet. According to the last poll taken in August, her re-elect number is 27%, which is beyond toxic. The recent headlines surrounding her son’s refusal to pay restitution to the city following the sex-scandal that drove him from office and the imminent joint indictment of her son and ex-husband, cannot possibly have helped matters.
The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus is facing a formidable challenger. Clarke, 52, a biracial brotha of East Indian and African American descent, is a gifted, low-key politician with a progressive record of achievement in the Michigan Legislature. Clarke sponsored legislation to impose a two-year moratorium on foreclosures that disproportionately plague black and brown communities. Moreover, he introduced a bill to expand hate crimes laws to protect those targeted on the basis of sexual orientation or gender expression. Clarke challenged Kwame for Mayor in 2005 and made a brief run for Governor this year before he ended his candidacy. This is a race he can win. If he goes forward and files, and has the field all to himself, the odds are heavily in his favor.
I’ll have more to say about this in a later post.
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.
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.
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.
A staunch defender and promoter of her son’s political aspirations and his two campaigns for mayor of Detroit, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has some explaining to do now that Mama’s Baby has been revealed to be a liar, philanderer, and unquestionably corrupt. Kwame, a scion of political family, was elected based on the credibility of his mother and that of his father, a former chief of staff to the Wayne County Executive and Mrs. Kilpatrick’s ex-husband.
A lawyer and state representative, Mama’s Baby rose to become the Democratic Leader of the Michigan House of Representatives before he announced his candidacy for mayor at the age of 32, an effort backed by both of his parents.
Today, Mama’s Baby finds himself embroiled in scandal as a result of his retaliatory actions against members of the Detroit Police Department who either had first hand knowledge of, or responsibility for investigating the numerous and juicy allegations of marital infidelity and misconduct by the mayor and his security detail. He has decimated the City of Detroit’s reputation, plunged the city into the most controversial leadership crisis and power struggle in its history and destroyed his family’s good name.
This afternoon, Detroit Councilman Kwame Kenyatta introduced a resolution calling for the Mayor to resign and directing its counsel to research city ordinances and procedures to force his removal if he chooses to ignore the call to step down.
This sad turn of events is troubling on many levels. First, it ends the trust and promise a younger generation of leadership. Moreover, it seriously undermines the older generation that spawned and nurtured it. I have no doubt that Kwame Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty will be prosecuted for perjury and convicted by a jury of their peers. It’s time for all to acknowledge this reality before the city is undermined any further. It is my contention that Congresswoman Kilpatrick and her colleague John Conyers, the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, if they haven’t already, must step forward as Detroit’s senior leaders and address this situation as the statespersons they claim to be.
If you’re wondering why I also am calling for John Conyers to lead, it’s because his wife, political partner and eventual successor, Monica, sits on the City Council. If Kwame resigns, Mrs. Conyers will again become President of the City Council. John Conyers, a leader of the impeachment effort against Bush and Cheney, might need to look a little closer to home and help lead the effort against Kwame Kilpatrick-not because of his wife but because it’s the right thing to do.
It’s time for Mama’s Baby to resign and they have a moral obligation to make that happen. If nothing happens it will confirm for me that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and that her exalted position in the corridors of Washington power is illegitimate.
Hat Tip: Detroit Free Press
Christine Beatty, 37, resigned her post as chief of staff to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick this morning, saying the text-message scandal engulfing the administration has left her unable to do her job effectively.Kilpatrick’s office had no comment on Beatty’s resignation, and the mayor still has not been seen in public today.
Beatty resigned five days after the Free Press reported in an exclusive investigation that she and the mayor had lied under oath in a whistleblower’s suit against the city. Text messages exchanged by the two and obtained by the Free Press contradict what they said on the witness stand about their relationship and about their decision to fire a police officer who was investigating possible wrongdoing by the mayor’s staff.
In her letter of resignation, submitted to the city this morning, Beatty said, “I’ve served the administration and Detroit citizens with diligence, strength and perseverence and I hope that my efforts will one day show through above all else.
“In spite of this, however, I believe that it is clear I can no longer effectively carry out the duties of chief of staff. Therefore, this letter serves as my resignation effective February 8, 2008, to allow for an orderly transition of my duties with the new chief of staff.
“I painfully regret the devastation that the recent reports have caused to the citizens of Detroit, to my coworkers, to the mayor’s family and to my family and friends.”
Kilpatrick’s spokesman James Canning said the mayor’s office “had no further comment at this time” on the resignation.
Beatty’s departure brings an end to more than a decade of working with and for Kilpatrick, her former Cass Tech High School classmate.
Their work together started when Kilpatrick ran for the state House in 1996 after his mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, decided to give up her seat to run for Congress.
When Kilpatrick gave his farewell speech to the House in December 2001 as he prepared to take office as mayor, he credited Beatty.
“I ran for this position at 25 years old, in 1996. I was just a young guy out there who couldn’t get any support. Nobody would support us. Everyone told us to pay our dues, that we’re not old enough, come back when you learn a little more and you have a little more money,” he said in that speech.
“I say us, because, I had a meeting and I asked for everyone that wanted to support me and endorse me to come to that meeting and two people showed up. Those two people were Christine Beatty and Derrick Miller. We ran a three person campaign with ten thousand dollars. We walked and knocked on every single door in our district and we worked as hard as we could. We didn’t get any of the endorsements, none of those big Democratic endorsements that you want. None from labor and none from the Congressional districts. We just knocked on doors and we ran a real grass-roots and focused campaign and by God, we won!”
After serving as a legislative aide to Kilpatrick, Beatty ran the day-to-day operations of his 2001 mayoral campaign. After Kilpatrick won, he named her chief of staff and she had an almost omnipresent role in the administration.
Until Kilpatrick named his first deputy mayor, Anthony Adams, in 2004, Beatty unofficially filled that role, stepping in to run the city when Kilpatrick left town.
Beatty had direct oversight of the departments of Human Resources, Labor Relations, Human Services, Health & Wellness Promotion and Senior Citizens and of the Mayor’s Office, Neighborhood City Halls, 311 Call Center and communications. She had a major role in Kilpatrick’s Next Detroit Neighborhood Initiative.
But Beatty also ran into trouble. She was accused of pulling rank when Detroit police pulled her over on a traffic violation, resulting in a lawsuit that is still pending.
Before Beatty’s resignation was announced, Canning said this morning that the mayor was not scheduled to issue a statement today. He has “nothing on his public calendar,” he said.
“When he has something to say, we’ll let you know.”
The Marion County Democratic Party has set a January 12th Caucus to choose a nominee in the special election to replace the late Congresswoman Julia Carson in accordance with state law. It became public during the remarks of Congresswomen Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick that Mrs. Carson wanted her grandson, Andre Carson, an Indianapolis City-County Councilman, to replace her in congress after her passing. Both women expressed their support as did former Congressman Andy Jacobs, and State Rep. Vanessa Summers.
A pending announcement of Andre Carson’s candidacy should be forthcoming early in the new year. The blog Advance Indiana is making hay of Andre’s former ties to minister Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. I don’t expect that to pose a problem that can’t be overcome. Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, the first muslim elected to congress, was formerly a member and he firmly distanced himself from the organization and its divisive agenda.
Lastly, news comes from Blue Indiana that State Rep. David Orentlicher has filed for the Carson seat with the FEC. Others are surely to follow once Andre Carson signals his intentions. Marion County Treasurer Michael Rodman, an African American, has signaled his intention to seek the seat but has not filed any paperwork.