Yesterday the nation wagged its collective tongue about Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the felony charges brought against him for lying about an affair he had with his Chief of Staff, Christine Beatty, who is also facing charges. Haven’t heard about this episode of the Kwame Bunch? Welcome to the party, because we are all hella late!
First, this is not new. Actually, this has been going on for a while now. Most of us were just too busy focusing on other things (Obama, Spitzer, War, our own jobs, etc). Besides let’s face it, America doesn’t really care about Detroit. With the exception of a few national news blurbs, it wasn’t a hot issue which is interesting because this was much more than an affair, folks. A woman connected to this cluster-fuck of an administration was murdered. So to help you lovelies wrap your head around everything, we’re gonna “break this down so it will forever and always be broke” (we heart you Love Jones).
What we gonna do is go back … six years. Yes honey, and this is the simple version. Presenting … in almost-chronological order … The Life & Times of Kwame Kilpatrick!
- Kwame is elected mayor of Detroit to much acclaim and fanfare (we admit it, we loved him).
- After being elected mayor of Detroit, Kwame allegedly throws a party, with strippers, at his state-owned official residence, the Manoogian Mansion. According to former members of his Executive Protection Unit (EPU), his wife Carlita comes home to find Kwame with the strippers and attacks one of the girls.
- Kilpatrick is found out to have charged over $210,000 in credit card bills. What was he buying? Spa massages, Moët, etc. He ended up paying the city back $9,000.
- Detroit Officer Harold C. Nelthrope contacts the internal affairs unit of the Detroit Police, about the party and other abuses committed by Kilpatricks’s EPU members.
- Kilpatrick denies all allegations and dismisses the party as a rumor. He went on to say that he does not have “lewd parties,” “I don’t whore around on my wife” and “I want people to understand that I would never disrespect my God, my wife or my children”.
- Nelthrope and Gary A. Brown, head of the internal affairs unit are fired. They allege they got the axe for their participation in Kilpatrick’s investigation. Then the pair sue the city of Detroit, in what is known as the Whistleblower Trial, eventually winning an $8.4 million settlement.
- Two additional officers come forth with claims of retaliation: Walt Harris and Alvin Bowman. Harris was a former EPU member who was identified as cooperating with the Manoogian investigation, which resulted in Harris suffering a smear campaign by Kilpatrick administration.
- Tamara “Strawberry” Greene, 27, an exotic dancer who claims to have been a performer at the Manoogian Mansion party is found dead after being shot 18 times. Witnesses describe it as a targeted hit. The bullets are found to have belonged to the same types of guns issued by the Detroit Police Department. Bowman, (listed above) who was working this case, was transferred out of the homicide unit after discovering these facts and attempting to connect the dots. The Greene family is currently suing the city of Detroit for about $150 million. This is also the catalyst for the text-messages being released to the Detroit Free press.
– Break! -
- Two police officers pull over Kilpatrick’s Chief of Staff (and now-alleged lover) Christine Beatty over for speeding. After yelling, “Do you know who the fuck I am?” Beatty calls Police Chief Ella Billy-Cummings to call the officers off. When this gets to the media, Kilpatrick, Beatty and Billy-Cummings claim the traffic stop was a “set-up” to harass Beatty. A slander suit ensues, eventually settling for $25,000.
- Kilpatrick is named one of the three worst big-city mayors in the United States by TIME Magazine. Seriously.
- Kilpatrick causes a stir with a newspaper advertisement that compares his media criticism to that of a lynching.
- Reporter Steve Wilson claims that the city had entered an expensive one year lease for a Red Lincoln Navigator, totalling $24,995; five dollars under the amount that required for the Detroit City Council’s approval. Kilpatrick, Beatty, Bully-Cummings and other members of the mayor’s staff deny that the Navigator was intended to be used by the mayor’s wife and children. Eventually, Kilpatrick admitted the Navigator was for his family. When Wilson tries to question Kilpatrick about the lease, a member of the mayor’s security team is seen on camera shoving Wilson against a wall. A Red Navigator? Shouldn’t we be trying to blend in?
- In a controversial election, he won the mayoral post again in 2005.
- Detroit news reports that Kilpatrick used $8,600 from his Kilpatrick Civic Fund, which was created for voter education, crime and economic empowerment, to take his family on a weeklong Californian vacation, which violated IRS regulations. Cameras caught Kilpatrick grabbing the microphone out of a reporter’s hand when questioned about this event.
- In what many saw as a move to help offset a large portion of funds needed to pay off his whistle blower settlement, Kilpatrick proposes selling 92 Detroit city parks.
- Both Kilpatrick and Beatty testify in court during the Whistleblower Trial, both denying their extramarital affair, and Kilpatrick denys having sex with other women.
- In January, The Detroit Free Press reveals and examines the 14,000+ text messages sent between Kilpatrick and Beatty during 2002 and 2003. These texts are during the time period of the Manoogian Mansion party and the firing of Gary Brown (remember!). In addition the text messages reveal: they were sexing like rabbits, they plotted to get rid of Gary brown among other things and apparently were afraid to get caught.
- On March 11, Kilpatrick delivers his State-of-the-City address. After typical positive city news and recognition, Kilpatrick addresses the scandal and controversy surrounding his time in office. His statement includes: “…In the past 30 days I’ve been called a nigger more than anytime in my entire life. In the past three days I’ve received more death threats than I have in my entire administration. I’ve heard these words before but I’ve never heard people say them about my wife and children. I have to say this because it’s very personal to me. I don’t believe that a Nielsen rating is worth the life of my children or your children. This unethical, illegal lynch mob mentality has to stop. And it’s seriously time…”
-On March 18th, the Detroit City Council passed a resolution asking Kilpatrick to resign, but Kilpatrick dismissed the vote as irrelevant.
- March 24, 2008. County Prosecutor Kym Worthy (and her fabulous blow-out) announces a 12-count indictment against Kilpatrick and Beatty. Felony charges include perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice. He states he expects “full and complete vindication.”
This all could have been avoided if he just would’ve gone to the strip club, tipped Kiki a $20 and kept it movin’.
Seriously, wtf? Let’s all grab the popcorn now, ’cause the trial is coming! This is going to be better than The Wire.
**somebody cue up Curtis Mayfield’s “Freddie’s Dead” for Kilpatrick’s hat above. Please?**