Hansen Clarke to Challenge Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

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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.

National Enquirer: John Edwards to be indicted

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Hat Tip: National Enquirer

The ultimate fall from grace,  a Federal grand jury is about to indict John Edwards, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

In another shocker, close sources say Edwards’ estranged wife Elizabeth could help send the former presidential candidate to jail!

Edwards, the disgraced two-time Presidential loser, is being investigated by the feds, including the FBI and IRS, for possible campaign violations related to paying his mistress Rielle Hunter.

You just can’t make this up

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Chicago 2016

If you live in Chicago and notice several melanin challenged folks sitting in unmarked cars outside the homes of Jesse Jackson Jr or Danny Davis, drop a brotha a line.

Yesterday, after a 90 minute meeting with Governor Rod “Soprano” Blagojevich about the Senate Appointment, Jesse Jr. had this to say:

I am convinced that the Governor has a very thoughtful process that he has put in place and is wrestling and weighing a number of issues in this enormous decision that he has to make…Today, I leave confident that the Governor has put in place processes and that his interview process for this position is thoughtful.

jesse-blagojevich

Today, about 6:00 in the A.M., the Feds arrested the Governor for his so-called “thoughtful process” of extortion and my head exploded as I thought “Lord, what has Jesse Jr. done.”

Reacting yesterday to reports of a federal wiretap,  Governor Soprano said, “It kind of smells of Nixon and Watergate.”  Indeed.

You just can’t make this s*it up.

The more one reads about Blagojevich, the more he resembles the fictional Tony Soprano who masquerades as a legitmate businessman while surreptitiously running a major crime family.  Blagojevich is nothing more than a common criminal and his delusional meltdown into a mobster masquerading as a legitimate politician is as disturbing as it is comical.  Blagojevich makes Kwame Kilpatrick and Bill Jefferson look like statesmen.

Not to be outdone by Jesse Jr, Congressman Danny Davis has also been publicly campaigning for this seat and Governor Soprano had this to say after slipping and calling Davis “Senator.”  

Congressman Davis is a very good person.  He and I have worked together in Congress, and I know the kind of man he is. I know that he is a good, decent man, and you don’t find a lot of that in politics…I’m breaking my rules about speculating on a candidate, but Congressman Davis is here, and I can tell you he’s certainly a strong candidate for the position.

Gawd help us.

Witnessing the minstrel show put on by two senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus shamelessly kissing up to an ethically challenged Governor under federal investigation is yet another black eye for the CBC and a clear sign of their complete bankruptcy as a progressive black institution.

First, Davis and Jackson join a majority of the CBC to sell out the black community at Obama’s request by supporting the bailout of Wall Street over Main Street, and now this.

The President-Elect has feigned ignorance of this matter, but reading the criminal complaint against Blagojevich and the manner in which everyone who approached Governor Soprano was shaken down, it seems implausible to this Skeptical Brotha that word of the Governor’ outrageous extortion didn’t make it’s way back through the grapevine to Barack Obama.

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn has obviously called on Blagojevich, with whom he has had no communication since 2007, to step down.   It is time for the President-Elect to do the same.

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.

Congressman Jefferson’s kin Indicted

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Hat Tip: By Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press

A brother, sister and niece of indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson were charged Wednesday with pocketing more than $600,000 in state and federal grant money intended for charitable and educational projects.

A federal grand jury indicted New Orleans tax assessor Betty Jefferson, her brother, Mose Jefferson, and her daughter, Angela Coleman, on charges that include federal program fraud, identity theft and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said the family members used several non-profit and for-profit companies to obtain grants designed to help pregnant teens, at-risk youths and others in need of assistance. They allegedly deposited some of the grant money into personal checking accounts and used it for personal expenses.

With Wednesday’s indictment, four members of the politically prominent Jefferson family now face federal criminal charges.

Rep. Jefferson, 61, a nine-term Louisiana Democrat, was indicted last year on bribery charges. He is awaiting a trial in Virginia and has denied wrongdoing. The congressman wasn’t named in Wednesday’s indictment, and faces a re-election campaign this fall.

Mose Jefferson, 66, pleaded not guilty in April to separate charges that he paid bribes to a former New Orleans school board president.

Wednesday’s indictment also charges Betty Jefferson, 70, with four counts of tax evasion. She faces up to 279 years in prison. The grand jury also charged Mose Jefferson with making false statements to federal investigators. He faces up to 250 years in prison, while Coleman faces a maximum of 257 years behind bars.

 

 

Wesley Snipes gets played

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Hat Tip: Yahoo, Associated Press

Wesley Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison on tax charges Thursday, a victory for prosecutors who sought to make an example of the action star by aggressively pursuing the maximum penalty.Snipes’ lawyers had spent much of the day in court offering dozens of letters from family members, friends even fellow actors Woody Harrelson and Denzel Washington attesting to the good character of the “Blade” star and asking for leniency.

 

 

They argued he should get only probation because his three convictions were all misdemeanors and the actor had no previous criminal record.  But U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges said Snipes exhibited a “history of contempt over a period of time” for U.S. tax laws, and granted prosecutors the three year sentence they requested one year for each of Snipes’ convictions of willfully failing to file a tax return.  “In my mind these are serious crimes, albeit misdemeanors,” Hodges said.

 

 

Snipes apologized while reading from a written statement for his “costly mistakes,” but never mentioned the word taxes.  “I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance,” Snipes said.

 

 

Snipes said his wealth and celebrity attracted “wolves and jackals like flies are attracted to meat.” He called himself “well-intentioned, but miseducated.”

 

Snipes was the highest-profile criminal tax target in years, and prosecutors called for a heavy sentence to deter others from trying to obstruct the IRS. The government alleged Snipes made at least $13.8 million for the years in question and owed $2.7 million in back taxes.

 

Snipes was acquitted in February of five additional charges, including felony tax fraud and conspiracy. Snipes’ co-defendants, Douglas P. Rosile and Eddie Ray Kahn, were convicted on both those counts. Kahn, who refused to defend himself in court, was sentenced to 10 years, while Rosile received 54 months. Both will serve three years of supervised release. Snipes will serve one year of supervised release.

 

Snipes and Rosile remain free and will be notified when they are to surrender to authorities.

 

Spitzer resigns

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Hat Tip: New York Times, By DANNY HAKIM and ANAHAD O’CONNOR

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation today, becoming the first governor of New York to be forced from office in nearly a century.

Mr. Spitzer, appearing somber and with his wife at his side, said his resignation is to be effective Monday, and that Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson would be sworn in to replace him.

David Paterson

“I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me,” he said. “To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he added. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

Mr. Spitzer is the first governor of New York to resign from office since 1973, when Nelson A. Rockefeller stepped down to devote himself to a policy group, and the first to be forced from office since William Sulzer was impeached and removed from his post in 1913 in a scandal over campaign contribution fraud.

In his brief statement at his headquarters in Manhattan, Mr. Spitzer thanked his family for offering support and compassion, and said he had spent the last several days atoning for his personal failings.

Mr. Spitzer ended his speech by saying he would leave politics, and then departed quickly without taking questions.

“As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family,” he said. “Then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good and to move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.”

Since issuing an initial apology on Monday, Mr. Spitzer had been holed up at his apartment at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street in Manhattan, where his aides said he had been engaged in an intense legal and family debate about whether to resign or, as his wife was urging, to stay on.

Mr. Spitzer emerged finally at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with his wife by his side and got into a black S.U.V., which headed for his headquarters on Third Avenue as news helicopters followed above.

On Tuesday, as Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat, contemplated his next move, the New York political world remained in a suspended state, with cries — even from fellow Democrats — growing louder for him to step down.

In one of the last and desperate rounds of the end game, a top Spitzer administration official reached out to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff on Tuesday to see if the governor could avoid an impeachment vote. But the prospects were grim.

Republicans had pledged to try to have Mr. Spitzer impeached and only 34 of the more than 100 Democrats in the Assembly would be needed for the matter to be referred to the Senate for an impeachment trial. It was clear during the discussions that 34 or more Democrats were almost certain to vote against the governor.

That outcome would have been a dire for the governor, because his top political rival, Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno, leads the Senate, where a trial would have been held.

“An impeachment proceeding would force Democrats to either abandon him or defend him,” said one leading Democrat. “They would abandon him.”

Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, said Tuesday that Mr. Spitzer should do “what’s best for his family,” but stopped short of calling on the governor to step down. “It is now up to the governor to make a determination that’s best for his family. I pray for his children.” When asked what Mr. Silver thought was best for the Spitzer family, he did not respond.

Mr. Silver offered a few details of his conversation with Mr. Spitzer on Tuesday afternoon before the governor briefly spoke to the public. “I said to him then and I say it now, he’s got to take care of his family first and be concerned about them. I told him that we will carry on in the legislative process that moves the budget forward. We intend to pass our budget tomorrow. I hope the Senate will do the same.”

Mr. Paterson said on Tuesday that he had not heard from Mr. Spitzer since about noon on Monday, and did not know whether he would soon be sworn in as the state’s 55th governor.

“The governor called me yesterday,” said Mr. Paterson, who was driven to the Capitol on Tuesday and pondered going inside before deciding to avoid the swarm of journalists. “He said he didn’t resign for a number of reasons, and he didn’t go into the reasons, and that’s the last I’ve heard from him.”

Asked whether preparations for a transition were under way, the lieutenant governor said: “No one has talked to me about his resignation, and no one has talked to me about a transition.”

At a televised news conference on Wednesday morning, Mr. Bruno, the Senate majority leader who would become the lieutenant governor if Mr. Paterson replaces Mr. Spitzer, told reporters that he had not spoken with Mr. Spitzer or any of his top aides about the impending resignation.

“No one has contacted me officially,” he said. “We are following the reports as you are. But in the meantime, I am staying with our plan to pass a budget, talk to the speaker, and we’re going to go public in a real way on Monday.”

Mr. Bruno, a Republican who clashed frequently with Mr. Spitzer, said he was praying for the governor and his family and urged all New Yorkers to do so as well.

On Tuesday, Mr. Spitzer cut himself off from all but the most senior members of his staff. His lawyer, Michele Hirschman, was reaching out to federal prosecutors to try to strike a deal in hopes of avoiding charges.

Close aides to the governor suggested on Tuesday that the mood in the Spitzer home was tense, with the governor’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, recommending that he not step down, but they cautioned that the situation could change at any time.

The revelation of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with the high-end prostitution ring gripped the nation, and more than 70 reporters and photographers clustered outside the governor’s Upper East Side high-rise on Tuesday, separated from the building by a metal barricade erected by the police.

Three helicopters whirred overhead as tourists atop passing double-decker buses snapped pictures of the scene.

Mr. Spitzer’s patronage of the prostitution agency, Emperor’s Club V.I.P., came to light after prosecutors charged four people with operating the service. They said the governor was intercepted on a federal wiretap arranging payments and an encounter with a prostitute in a Washington hotel room last month. The affidavit referred to a Client 9 and did not identify Mr. Spitzer by name, but law enforcement officials said that Client 9 was the governor.

Investigators reviewing the scope of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with prostitutes said on Tuesday that just in the past year he had had more than a half-dozen meetings with them and had paid tens of thousands of dollars to the ring, one law enforcement official said.

A person with knowledge of the service’s operations said that Mr. Spitzer had begun meeting with the prostitutes of the Emperor’s Club about eight months ago and had had encounters in Dallas as well as Washington.

A law enforcement official said Mr. Spitzer also had an encounter with a prostitute in Florida. On some trips of several days’ duration, Mr. Spitzer scheduled more than one visit with a prostitute, this person said.