The case against Keisha Lance Bottoms

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Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms is the current face of Atlanta’s decaying 44 year-old regime of corporate sponsored Black leadership. Endorsed by current Mayor Kasim Reed, the personification of Cosbyesque Pound Cake Conservatism, Keisha Lance Bottoms — young, gifted, and Black, fits the mold of telegenic, well-spoken tokens Atlantans always vote for.

Kasim and Keisha’s scheming to put her in the Mayor’s office would be an excellent successor to House of Cards or Scandal. I’m sure Shonda Rhimes could whip something up on the fly. Kasim brought the full weight of his Machiavellian brilliance to bear in destroying Keisha’s progressive rival Vincent Fort, and establishment threat Ceasar Mitchell. He managed all this while presiding over a massive bid rigging scandal, complete with indictments.

Atlanta’s Hillary Clinton, former Republican Mary Norwood, is the indefatigable obstacle standing between Keisha and the prize she’s had her eye on for years.

The second rise of Mary Norwood, and two other serious White contenders, foreshadows the loss of Georgia’s crown jewel of Black power and influence, and is exhibit A in why shitting on the Black poor for forty years, criminalizing homelessness and poverty, destroying public housing, and conspiring with the forces of gentrification is ultimately self-defeating. If you want to be HNIC, you should make damn sure there are plenty of Negroes to be in charge of.

Atlanta Mayors Young, Campbell, and Reed

The Black leadership class in the Black mecca of Atlanta, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr, was never as electrifying, thoughtful, and progressive as he was. The current malignancy, which masquerades as legitimate Black leadership, was formed from the embers of the civil rights movement following the assassination of Dr. King.

Once upon a time, Black politicians fought for “the least of these,” in keeping with the example of Dr. King’s poor people’s campaign, and his solidarity marches with Black working-class sanitation workers in Memphis before his death.

Atlanta sanitation workers, like those Dr. King died defending, fought for collective bargaining rights, and fair wages. Their strikes and demands caused swift reprisals from then Mayor Sam Massell, the city’s last White mayor. He fired Black sanitation workers and brought in scabs. 

Maynard Jackson, then a City Councilman, cynically used his defense of the sanitation workers to create a name for himself, and marshal the Black community to defeat Massell for re-election. As Atlanta’s first Black mayor, Jackson betrayed the same sanitation workers, broke their strike, rebuffed their demands for fair pay, and hid behind the vocal support of Martin Luther King Sr, all while forging an incestuous relationship with the corporate power structure that got him reelected, and endures to this day.

Four decades of collusion with the corporate power structure has led us to this moment of gentrification, displacement, divestment, disillusionment, and quite frankly, delusion.

Black leadership in Atlanta has come to resemble the ostentatious greed & bullshit prosperity pimps that sell champagne wishes & caviar dreams to the desperate masses at the Black megachurches the area is known for.

Preserving Black power in Atlanta isn’t worth the cost if the price of a ticket is Keisha Lance Bottoms. A professional handkerchief head like her has about as much to offer Black people as the Wizard of Oz, or in our case, the Wiz.

We should ease on down the road that Black leadership depravity has paved, and vote for the White lady. She couldn’t possibly be any worse.

 

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Breaking News: Rangel’s grip on Gavel tenuous

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Congressman Charlie Rangel

Just Hours after the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Artur Davis, called for him to relinquish his gavel as the powerful Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel was reported to have done so after a closed door meeting of the House Leadership.   Andrea Mitchell, Luke Russert, and  Chuck Todd were all tweeting that Charlie Rangel had given up the ghost and his gavel.   The Politico is reporting that he told them he had not and that Speaker Pelosi had no comment after the meeting.   Rangel is currently under investigation for omitting millions of dollars from his taxes and personal financial disclosure statements filed with the House of Representatives.  The committee he chairs ironically has jursidiction over the U.S. tax code.

ADDENDUM:  Rangel gave up his gavel this morning.  He announced at a morning presser that he wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking for a leave of absence, which is shorthand for saying “I was forced to step aside against my will but agreed to give the House Democratic Leadership political cover for the good of the party.”

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.

Jefferson faces latina in run-off

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Scandal plagued Congressman William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, 61, secured a spot yesterday in November’s Democratic Run Off  by besting five serious black contenders and a lone Latina,  Helena Moreno, 30, a political newcomer and former newscaster.

Ms. Moreno, a Texas transplant and the daughter of Oil and Gas entrepreneur Felix Moreno, has been identified in the mainstream media and seems to be campaigning as the only “white” contender in the race despite having been born in Mexico and not stepping foot in this country until after her seventh birthday.  Technically, Ms. Moreno’s mother, an academic at Baylor University, a native born American, is white.

Most Mexicans identify themselves racially as Mestizo–an Indian and Anglo combo analogous to being Mulatto in the United States.  But Latin America is famous for having a reverse one drop rule: one drop of white blood makes you white in some contexts and countries.

The subtext of all southern politics is race, and the politics of New Orleans, a uniquely French influenced region and culture, is no different.

Louisiana is famous for having jungle primaries in which candidates of all parties compete against each other and the top two candidates regardless of party advance for the general election.  That has been changed for Congressional races. However, the Democratic Primary and Run Off are not closed to independents.    Independents in the New Orleans Metro area are usually not of color and vote disproportionately Republican.

The question in this race is whether African Americans will coalesce around the federally indicted Jefferson and send him back to Congress for a term he will never finish.  Jefferson’s December trial will most assuredly result in his conviction for bribery, kickbacks, and a host of other crimes I’ve long since forgotten and don’t care to research.

Given the division between blacks and whites in Metro New Orleans over Hurricane Katrina related recovery projects and the universal hostility of the majority-white city council and their Negro ventriloquists to working class African Americans need for affordable housing and their undisputed right to return home and reclaim the property and lives destroyed by white hostility and indifference, it is unlikely that reform minded African Americans will coalesce behind Moreno and her Republican Real-Estate Developer benefactors.

The Congressional Black Caucus chose to back Jefferson rather than bow to reality and back an acceptable horse–an act of political malpractice I still struggle to understand.  New Orleanians are the most misrepresented blackfolks in the nation and are in need of a savior.  Before New Orleans drown in a sea of Army Corps of Engineers incompetence, Dollar Bill was too preoccupied securing the relief of the richest 1% from Estate Taxes and engineering foreign graft and kickbacks for himself and his children to bother with procuring appropriations for the upkeep of the levies that keep the city dry.  I’m too tired to adequately express the totality of my contempt for Dollar Bill.  I’ll get to it later.

This race will be an interesting one for sure.

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.”

Aunt Nikki

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Move over Aunt Jemima. There is a new corporate mammy in town. EMILY’s List, the “feminist” political action committee that uses the pretext of gender equality to support status quo females in their quest for power and prestige in the halls of congress, has endorsed Nikki Tinker, Harold Ford Jr’s malevolent protégé, against progressive Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen.

The decision to support Nikki Tinker is typical of the brand of corporate feminism that EMILY’s List is known for. There are only two requirements for endorsement: the resourcefulness to raise sufficient cash to be viable enough to justify turning on the pac spigot, and the good fortune of being born female. Matt Stoller wrote a post on the same topic some weeks ago. One reader of Matt’s post couldn’t have said it better, I never got the sense that EMILY’s List was a progressive organization. Its goal is to provide funding for people with vaginas [and] …some semblance of a pro-choice orientation, especially against opponents who don’t fit those two criteria.”

Skimming through Aunt Nikki’s campaign finance reports, I saw that EMILY’s List founder Ellen Malcolm has taken a personal interest in the corporate mammy by contributing $1250.00 of her own money. The criticism that EMILY’s List is primarily a benevolent pocket for aspiring white women apparently struck close to home and is underscored by the paltry $15,870 in bundled contributions it supplied this year. That’s hardly the level of beneficence provided to the corporate mammy in the last cycle.

Moreover, It is frustrating that the organization will sometimes support a genuine black progressive like Donna Edwards against a corrupt incumbent, then turn around in the same year, and endorse a fraud like Tinker against a more acceptable pro choice and progressive Congressman like Steve Cohen.

Longtime readers of this blog know of the animosity I have for Harold Ford Jr and his demagogic brand of corporate prostitution that masquerades as political centrism. Everything he touches turns to shit and the same could be said of his protégé.

I didn’t think it was possible to be more repellent than Ford, but Aunt Nikki is the willing overseer on Pinnacle Airlines corporate plantation as Vice President for Labor Relations and General Counsel. Aunt Nikki is representative of the lowest form of human life and is the worst kind of counterfeit Negress imaginable. As an employment lawyer, she specializes in destroying employee rights to collectively bargain and be free from workplace racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

Her campaign report is full of two kinds of people, acquaintances from her home state of Alabama and her motley collection of crooked contacts in the business world. The CEO of Pinnacle Airlines, Phil Trenary, her boss and corporate puppet master, is represented, as are Republican corporate employment lawyers from her former law firm, John and Ruth Alley. Finally, there is a member of Pinnacle’s Board of Directors, GOP rainmaker and real estate magnate James McGehee and his kith and kin.

JOHNINE BARNES and NIKKI TINKER-Corporate Doppelgangers separated at birth

Johnine Barnes, an employment lawyer for Washington D.C.’s high-powered Baker & Hostetler, is a fellow corporate employment law predator, Delta Sigma Theta sorority sister, and gal-pal of Nikki Tinker. She is emblematic of the employment lawyer/corporate whore type. Her web profile on the firm’s webpage says it best:

Johnine P. Barnes is experienced in various phases of employment law, including litigating and defending administrative claims of harassment; retaliation and discrimination on the basis of age, race, sex, and disability; wrongful discharge and breach of contract issues;

This essentially means that the sister is a professional Uncle Tom who uses her race as a shield to defend corporate clients when they actively discriminate against their employees on the basis of age, race, sex, and disability.

By kicking into Nikki’s congressional kitty, she curries favor with a potential Congresswoman for her firm and its malevolent clients, and she enhances her own prestige, which rightfully ought to be lower than a pedophile.

I am given to colorful hyperbole and I love to kid around, but this is serious “bidness” as my girl Molly Ivins used to say. Baker and Hostetler as a powerful player in the employment law racket because they specialize in defending corporate clients against legitimate discrimination and retaliation suits and they say so on their own damn website.

Baker and Hostetler touts its win over the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when it challenged their client’s callous layoff of a pregnant woman during a workforce reduction. They conceded that she was a good employee with solid performance reviews and they happily defended the company’s effort to cut her loose in the middle of her pregnancy and leave her without income or insurance. We carefully explained the legitimate business reasons for the employee’s inclusion in the reduction (relatively weak technical skill set) and focused on the EEOC’s aggressive treatment of company witnesses at trial. We ultimately succeeded in portraying the EEOC as oppressive and overreaching in attacking the character of reasonable people who honestly made the difficult business decision of whom to include in a workforce reduction.”

Additionally, Baker and Hostetler markets itself as a firm that specializes in using technicalities to get legitimate lawsuits dismissed in the earliest stages of litigation and for ultimately destroying class action lawsuits against guilty clients who had the misfortune of being sued by competent counsel. Employment-related class action lawsuits are on the rise. The potential for large recoveries, adverse publicity and expensive litigation threaten a company’s bottom line, stock value and reputation. At Baker Hostetler, we are known for our ability to end class actions before they begin through creative case management, motion practice and aggressive defeat of class certification.”

As further proof of their mendacity, they site their triumph in a sex discrimination case where they denied hundreds of women their day in court, “After obtaining denial of a motion for class certification of a class of several hundred female employees, we obtained summary judgment on behalf of our FORTUNE 100 client on the plaintiff’s individual claims.”

Finally, I ran across an actual opinion in an Ohio case defended in part by Baker and Hostetler that they actually lost initially. A white plaintiff sued his employer because they fired him in retaliation for informing his only black co-worker that the company had a legal obligation to extend health insurance coverage to him because it extended coverage to everybody else. Several weeks before his termination, the partners in the business wanted him to buy into the company as a partner. After he “betrayed” them, and tried to do right by a brotha, and the brotha brought a legitimate discrimination suit against the company, they cut him loose.

Johnine Barnes is a doppelganger for Nikki Tinker. They’re cut from the same cloth and serve the same nefarious corporate interests on the Dark Side of the Force. One doesn’t get a prestigious job on a corporate plantation before 35 by being the vapid, southern fried, syrupy church lady spouting the self-serving, racially manipulative bullshit we’ve heard from her on the campaign trail.

Aunt Nikki ain’t no fool because a fool isn’t capable of raising close to a million dollars to contest a seat in congress in two election cycles.

CORPORATE MAMMY AND GOP TROJAN HORSE

The corporate tentacles of GOP power are all over the corporate mammy’s campaign filings. Phil Trenary, the CEO of Pinnacle Airlines, gave, along with his board members McGehee, Schockley, and Hunt, other executives, and their wives, nearly $25,000 to Nikki’s campaign.

McGehee and his kith and kin in particular, are major GOP moneybags having contributed more than $49,000 to the Republican Party and its candidates since 1997 and collectively kicked $8,600 into Aunt Nikki’s campaign coffers.

Other Airline industry players like Colgan Air, Sky West, and Jet Blue funneled nearly $13,000 through their executives to Nikki.

Moreover, law firms specializing in the employment law racket also took special notice of the corporate mammy. Baker & Hostetler, a major right-wing pocket, kicked in $4900. Baker & Hostetler lobbyists and lawyers have given more than $ 70,250 to Republican candidates and organizations in the last three election cycles; a sum, which is four times what they gave to Democrats.

Ford & Harrison, Aunt Nikki’s former law firm and a major employment law predator, kicked $5200 into the coffers of their former colleague. Nine of her colleagues had a favorable impression of Nikki’s Trojan Horse campaign. The Alley’s—both Ruth and J.E. Alley, are Florida attorneys and major Republican donors to both Dubya and Jeb Bush.

Other major employment law firms like Baker & Donnelson, Bryan Cave and Patton Boggs also kicked into Nikki’s kitty with $4,200, $1000, and $1050 respectively.

My colleagues at Black Agenda Report, in their former incarnation as the writers behind Black Commentator, came up with the nifty moniker of Trojan Horse to describe Black Democrats backed surreptitiously by Republican money and the corporate and right-wing foundation elite. They highlighted BET’s Bob Johnson and politicians Cory Booker and Harold Whore, Jr. Speaking of the Whore, he has used his new wife, Emily Threlkeld Ford, to funnel more than $3300 to his protégé. The Trojan Horse moniker definitely fits Nikki Tinker to a T because as her campaign finance report shows, she is a a member in good standing of this right-wing club.

As the moniker from Greek mythology implies, Aunt Nikki is a stealth weapon of the right-wing that optimally would be used to destroy progressive black representation and the social, political, and economic viability of Black Memphis. Unfortunately for our corporate enemies on the right, Aunt Nikki’s campaign exploded today like an IED in a war zone when it released an ad which strikes a note of false religiosity and implies that Steve Cohen is a Jewish interloper unwelcome in black churches and alludes to a bill to protect “religious freedom” and the unfettered right of religious organizations to discriminate against gay and lesbian people. This is the culmination of her clumsy attempts to make inroads with the black ministerial community by pandering to the homophobia of a select group of black pastors.

It looks like the wounds are fatal. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of cynical operators and puppet masters—especially Harold Ford. As of this afternoon, Emily’s List was forced to denounce the ad with egg on their faces. Finally, with the entrance of Black state representative Joe Towns in this race and the loss of prominent civil rights leaders like Maxine Smith, Aunt Nikki’s fantasy of being the power structure’s corporate mammy in Washington is just 24 hours from a lethal rejection by the voters from which there will be no appeal.

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.