October 12, 2013
October 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm
Feds: Bernard Kilpatrick should spend 3 years in prison
Detroit — Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s father Bernard should spend almost three years in federal prison for a tax crime stemming from the City Hall corruption case, prosecutors said.
Bernard Kilpatrick, 72, conspired with his son and contractor Bobby Ferguson to exploit city contracts and persuaded contractors to pay him for access to the former mayor, pocketing $1.3 million for mostly no-show work, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. He also deposited more than $605,000 in the bank during his son’s reign even though he had no other source of income and was a bad gambler, prosecutors said.
The City Hall corruption jury found Bernard Kilpatrick guilty of one count of filing a false tax return, though it could not reach a unanimous verdict on racketeering conspiracy, a 20-year felony.
Bernard Kilpatrick will be sentenced on Oct. 17.
The tax charge is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors want Bernard Kilpatrick to spend 27-33 months in federal prison because of his background and need to avoid disparities with other similar convicted felons. He also should pay $98,262 restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, prosecutors wrote.
“It is a crime that was motivated by greed,” prosecutors wrote late Friday, the same day Ferguson was sentenced to 21 years in prison and one day after Kwame Kilpatrick got 28 years.
“Kilpatrick flagrantly used his son’s position as mayor to elicit more money for himself, for little to no work performed,” prosecutors continued.
Bernard Kilpatrick’s lawyer John Shea could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday.
Bernard Kilpatrick was featured in one of the corruption trial’s most dramatic moments. He was shown on a hidden FBI video pocketing $2,500 from a sludge-hauling contractor who allegedly was paying bribes to win a $1.2 billion city deal. Prosecutors called it a bribe; Bernard Kilpatrick’s attorney called it payment on an old debt.
Kilpatrick was convicted of failing to report $180,000 in 2005.
From WXYZ.com »
Bobby Ferguson sentenced to 21 years in prison
By: Heather Catallo
(WXYZ) - Calling him the catalyst of an unprecedented extortion scheme, Judge Nancy Edmunds sentenced Bobby Ferguson to 21 years in federal prison.
Ferguson got 7 years less than his long-time friend, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Both were convicted in March of racketeering, bribery and extortion.
Federal prosecutors said, Ferguson may not have been mayor, but he was the muscle and the money man, forcing other contractors to cut him in on lucrative city contracts.
Judge Nancy Edmunds told the 44-year-old that the pay-to-play atmosphere of corruption during Kilpatrick’s administration forced many people away from the city.
The judge slammed Ferguson for obstructing justice – both during the FBI investigation and by submitting a falsified document during the trial about the work his company did at a massive sinkhole.
Ferguson’s daughters and his soon-to-be-ex -wife held back tears as he spoke to the judge in a sometimes shaky voice.
Ferguson choked up when he told the court that today – his sentencing day – was also his wife’s birthday.
Meanwhile, Ferguson’s attorney Gerald Evelyn argued his client should not be made a scapegoat for the Detroit ’s problems.
“It isn’t just about trying to take Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick and make them be examples of the decline of the city. I think that’s an ahistorical point of view, it’s inconsistent, and I think its blame shifting to a greater extent that might be necessary,” said Evelyn.
The feds wanted Ferguson to get 28 years like Kilpatrick… but Evelyn had asked the judge for no more than 10 years in prison.
“Myself, and Ms. Van Dusen and Mr. Rataj, we put our heart and soul into this case, so it’s obviously troubling. Some people say it could have been worse, but the reality is, is that it’s still significant,” said Evelyn.
Ferguson did not apologize – and he made no admissions when he addressed the court.
“We got an appeal, we got another trial. So I mean, you know, he’s not going to make those kinds of statements, and I thought that Bobby spoke from the heart, and he didn’t ask for anything for himself,” said Mike Rataj.
Ferguson is still heading to trial on a separate bid-rigging case in January. That’s also why you didn’t hear a public reaction from the prosecution today. But as for the Kilpatrick Corruption Case – here’s the breakdown of his sentence:
For the Racketeering and conspiracy convictions, as well as the extortion convictions from those multi-million city contracts, the judge gave him 20 years.
She gave him one additional year for the bribery conviction, which was the $75,000 payment Ferguson made to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.
October 11, 2013
Original Story on DetNews.com »
October 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm
28-year sentence for Kilpatrick prompts strong reactions
Judge on ex-mayor: ‘This man chose to waste his talents’
Jim Lynch and Robert Snell
The Detroit News
Detroit — Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to serve 28 years in prison for crimes of racketeering and conspiracy committed during his six years as the mayor of Detroit. That sentence was handed down Thursday afternoon in federal court by Judge Nancy Edmunds.
Edmunds said she was required to issue a sentence that is “sufficient but not greater than necessary” for a criminal enterprise that ran from Kilpatrick’s time in the state House to the mayor’s office. She described the former mayor as a larger-than-life character who helped himself to a jet-setting lifestyle. A significant sentence, she said, sends the message that corruption won’t be tolerated.
Kilpatrick appeared stunned at hearing his sentence, and a few in the courtroom crowd could be heard saying “Oh no.” If he serves the entirety of the 28 years, the 43-year-old would be 71 when he walks out of prison.
After declining to testify on his own behalf during the trial, Kilpatrick spoke before Edmunds made her ruling. It was an emotional and occasionally apologetic speech that included the admission: “I really messed up.”
“We’ve been stuck in this town for a very long time dealing with me,” he said. “I’m ready to go so the city can move on.”
His speech touched on a variety of subjects from his time in office and beyond, including:
■His affair with his former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty: “I was mad at people for finding out.”
■His own shortcomings: “It was pride and ego that took over. I couldn’t lose.”
■His resignation from office: “I didn’t realize then that I beat down the spirit and energy and vibrance of what was going on in the city.”
■His father, Bernard Kilpatrick: “He’s a real good man.”
■Stealing money from the city: “I’ve never done that.”
■The city of Detroit: “I want the city to be great again,” and to have a feeling “like it had during the 2006 SuperBowl.”
■His mother Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick’s term in office: “I killed her career.”
It did not take long for reactions to begin coming in.
Passion spilled over in front of the federal courthouse on Lafayette Boulevard between Kilpatrick supporters and detractors afterthe sentencing of the once-popular mayor.
Downtown Detroit restaurant owner Larry Mongo told reporters he agreed with the sentence, but was immediately rebuked by another man who hurled expletives and insults at him.
Other skirmishes erupted on either side of Lafayette. Law enforcement officers were outside to keep the peace.
The exchange between Mongo and the other man brought Dean Ruffin to tears. She shrieked and cried out on the steps of the federal courthouseabout the many problems affectingAfrican-Americans in Detroit and across the country.
“(Kilpatrick) is not the only black man who did it,” said Ruffin, who was was comforted by guards outside the courthouse.
The Rev. Malik Shabazz and a handful of members of the Marcus Garvey Movement were upset by the judge’s ruling, saying the sentence was yet another example of 500 years of oppression of African-Americans.
“I think the judge could have been merciful. I think I would have liked to have seen the judge to look at the good that the man did and that he has a family,” Shabazz said.
The Rev. W.J. Rideout, who occassionally counseled members of the Kilpatrick family, sat in the courtroom during the sentencing. As he stood outside the courthouse watching the overflow of emotion, he became visibly upset.
“The judge did her job. She made a statement,” Rideout said. “Political corruption is not going to stop her. Crime does not stop because one person gets convicted.”
Anthony Kasperek, 28, who works in the financial services sector, was not surprised by the explosion of anger on Lafayette.
“There have been years of pent up emotion on either side, years of suffocation that just surfaced,” said Kasperek, who stopped in front of the federal courthouse to watch the momentary chaos.
As for Kilpatrick’s sentence, “personally, for what he did to the city of Detroit I expected it. And I’m OK with it,” Kasperek said.
Within minutes of the sentencing announcement, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson took to his Twitter account, writing:
“What bothers me most is the sacrifice of a potentially brilliant career.#KwameKilpatrick”
“They guy was intelligent, charismatic and greedy as hell.#KwameKilpatrick.”
“This is the end of a long Greek tragedy.#KwameKilpatrick.”
Barbara McQuade, the U.S. Attorney who oversaw Kilpatrick’s prosecution said: “This is an historic day in City of Detroit. … It’s a powerful sentence and it sends a powerful message, I think, that the people of Detroit won’t tolerate this abuse of the public trust.”
As for Kilpatrick’s speech in court, McQuade had a mixed review.
“At the end of the day he did not accept responsibility for stealing from the people.”
Prior to Kilpatrick’s address, his attorneys went to bat for him, saying he should not be punished for the sins of the city’s last 50 years. Their client, they said, hopes to use his ability and talents productively in the future. Kilpatrick’s legal team had pushed for their client to receive no more than 15 years and had asked the judge to send him to prison in Texas where his wife and children now live.
Given their turn, prosecutors called Kilpatrick’s collected misdeeds “one of the most significant cases of public corruption … in the entire country.”
The former mayor arrived in the courtroom just after 10 a.m., handcuffed and in khaki prison attire. During the early portion of the hearing, he appeared subdued, sitting with his elbows on the defense table as his attorneys argued he should receive no more than 15 years.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys haggled over the estimated $9.6 million in profits reaped by Kilpatrick and co-defendant contractor Bobby Ferguson in their racketeering scheme. After hearing roughly 20 minutes of arguments on that key point, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds set a conservative estimate of $4.6 million for sentencing purposes.
Family members, many of whom sat through large portions of his trial, were not on hand, including wife, Carlita, and his parents, Bernard and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.
Jurors found Kilpatrick, once the city’s favorite political son, guilty of 24 counts of misconduct — including racketeering and conspiracy — during his time in office. Today, seven months after the verdict, he faced the possibility of a prison term that could have kept him incarcerated for the remainder of his life.
The courtroom at the Theodore Levin federal courthouse in downtown Detroit began filling up with attorneys and observers more than an hour ahead of the 10 a.m. start time for Thursday’s sentencing. Kilpatrick arrived at 9:25 a.m. in the company of the U.S. Marshall’s Service after being transported from prison in Milan.
That final decision will be made by Edmunds, who oversaw the trial involving Kilpatrick and co-defendants Ferguson and Bernard Kilpatrick — a trial that ran for six months.
Andrew Arena, director of the Detroit Crime Commission and former head of the Detroit FBI, said Kilpatrick and Ferguson did themselves no favors.
“What’s not helping these guys was the fact they were committing crimes during the trial, hiding money,” he said. “(The judge must) send a message. These sentences (of public officials) used to be 10-12 months. I think now the court is trying to send a message that this is unacceptable.”
Ferguson’s sentencing is scheduled for Friday.
Kilpatrick and Ferguson were convicted of charges related to running a criminal enterprise and dipping into the city treasury to fund lifestyles that included custom-made suits, private jet travel and luxury resort stays.
In court documents filed earlier this month, prosecutors wrote: “Kwame Kilpatrick was entrusted by the citizens of Detroit to guide their city through one of its most challenging periods. The city desperately needed resolute leadership. Instead it got a mayor looking to cash in on his office through graft, extortion and self-dealing.”
Of Ferguson, they wrote: “It was Ferguson, rather than Kilpatrick, who was the ‘boots on the ground’ of the extortion enterprise, directly issuing threats to the local business people.”
George Hunter, Serena Maria Daniels and Oralandar Brand-Williams contributed.
April 25, 2013
Read it on our sister site, TamaraGreene.com »
March 11, 2013
And, he’s likely getting a minimum of 10 years in the hoosegow.
Original Story on Freep.com »
Legal experts say today’s verdicts in the Kwame Kilpatrick public corruption trial could bring at least 10 years of prison time for the former mayor and his contractor friend Bobby Ferguson, while Kilpatrick’s father faces a lighter sentence.
Walter Piczczatowski, a Bloomfield Hills attorney who specializes in federal criminal law, said Kwame Kilpatrick and Ferguson face at least a decade in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. And Kilpatrick will get additional prison time — perhaps as much as four years — because he was an elected official at the time of the crimes, Piczczatowski said.
Bernard Kilpatrick’s conviction will bring a lighter sentence – which could include probation - and the judge can take into consideration the age of the former mayor’s father.
Detroit Attorney Ven Johnson said U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds will likely want to send a message with her sentencing – that public corruption will not be tolerated.
“She’s going to throw the book at them big time,” he said. “She’s going to want this to be a lesson, to teach people out there that this is not how elected officials, how our government can operate.”
Johnson speculated that while the defense attorneys would seek immediate appeals, the sheer number of convictions – Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of 24, and Ferguson nine – would make a successful appeal unlikely.
“It’s going to fall on deaf ears,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that jurors decided they were in on this, they knew what they were doing, that they conspired. These are very very serious conspiracy convictions.”
Detroit attorney Mark Kriger said the government was banking on jurors – a number of whom are African American – to set aside race in their deliberations. “And these verdicts affirm that the government made the right call,” he said.
The sheer number of witnesses testifying about the “pay to play” culture of the Kilpatrick era likely led jurors to convict without much hesitation, Kriger said.
“When you have one or two coming in, you might say, ‘Hey, they’re here to get a deal,’” he said. “But when it’s one after another, after another, it’s pretty compelling.”
January 16, 2013
Read story on our sister site, TamaraGreene.com »
January 12, 2013
To keep up with the daily developments of Kwame’s latest trial, make sure you’re following us on facebook and twitter. That’s where we post near-daily updates on the trial.
November 05, 2012
Original Post on MLive.com »
By Gus Burns | firstname.lastname@example.org on November 05, 2012
Amid a hiatus in the Kwame Kilpatrick trial, the defense has been dealt a blow.
Victor Mercado, Detroit’s former water and sewer boss under ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and a co-defendant in the trial, admitted Monday that he conspired with the mayor to help Bobby Ferguson secure Water Department contracts between 2002 and 2008.
Mercado, 61, who lives in Florida could now spend up to 18 months in prison and be fined up to $100,000 per the plea deal he made with federal investigators Monday.
Mercado wielded great amounts of power while overseeing a department with annual expenditures near $1.2 billion.
To be found guilty of conspiring to commit conspiracy, one must conspire with two or more individuals to violate the Hobbs Act, essentially extortion.
"Guilty, your honor," Mercado said in court Monday, when Judge Nancy Edmunds asked for his plea. He wore a dark-colored suit, burgundy tie and white collared shirt.
Before accepting the plea, Mark Chutkow, an attorney for the prosecution, made a statement further explaining the extend of Mercado’s role in the alleged City Hall corruption ring.
"Mr. Mercado did not take any under-the-table financial benefits," Chutkow said, was a "reluctant participant" and he did, "from time to time, push back, but he did compromise himself.
"This does not excuse his conduct," said Chutkow. "He was a high-ranking public official, but it does differentiate himself from the other defendants," Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson.
Edmund found Mercado to be competent and accepted the plea.
"Kilpatrick used his position as Mayor of Detroit and Special Administrator of (the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department) to pressure city contractors-who submitted proposals to or were awarded contracts by (the Water Department) to give subcontracts or payments obtained under those contracts to Bobby W. Ferguson, or risk having the contracts delayed, awarded to competitors, or canceled, resulting in economic harm," the plea agreement signed by Mercado states, according to a Department of Justice release. "Invoking and otherwise exploiting his well-known affiliation with former Mayor Kilpatrick, Ferguson pressured city contractors to hire or pay him for DWSD contracts."
Edmunds said sentencing would be deferred until the conclusion of the Kilpatrick trial.
Testimony is expected to resume on Nov. 13. The trial is currently on hold while Ferguson’s attorney, Gerald Evelyn, recovers from a medical problem he suffered on Oct. 29 that halted the trial.
October 02, 2012
A while back, we received this disgusting, racist email. Check it out if haven’t yet.
Today, we received a disgusting, racist comment on the page. Don’t you think this guy would’ve realized that his racist comments were going to be posted along with his real identity and email, just like the guy in the original email?
Here it is:
From: Justin Ward of Pontiac, Michigan
Justin’s Email: email@example.com
Justin’s Facebook Page: facebook.com/fra.c.ward
His 2nd FB Page: facebook.com/CrazyJ66688
Justin’s disgusting, racist comment: “it just goes to show you that you cant put a nigger in charge of anything. all they will do is sit on there asses and play with there cell phones and text. its in there nature to be dishonest and corrupt. then they will blame it on the white man because we wernt trained good enough to be honest. so we had to be crooks. i havent seen a honest nigger yet. all they worry about is chaseing fat white women and crying racism. that is all they got. white people that are courupt will admit there dishonest. but a nigger that is corupt will blame it on the system that they were targeted for being black. all i can say is change your color. they talk about the white person so bad but they do all they can to look like us. they have a scam for everything”
Everyone, go on over to Justin’s facebook page and let him know what you think of him. Or, just email him.
August 16, 2012
Read over on our sister site, TamaraGreene.com »