Maybe Kilpatrick needed rules to help him with wrong or right - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Maybe Kilpatrick needed some rules to help him with wrong or right

Posted: Updated:
DETROIT (WJBK) -

I hate to say "I told you so … "

Wait. That's not true.

I LOVE to say "I told you so."

(Hell, it's one of the reasons I launched this damn column!)

So, without further adieu: "I told you so, Kwame Kilpatrick."

It was a little more than 10 years ago, shortly after we learned that Bernard Kilpatrick had retired from his job as a top Wayne County official to open Maestro Associates LLC, a lobbying firm.

His plan was plain enough: He would use his two decades in government to help businesses navigate state, county and local government.

Given that his son ran the biggest local government in Michigan, many reasonable folks would have seen the potential for at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Not Hizzoner.

When I asked him if he planned to implement any guidelines for dealing with his father or his father's clients, the mayor said he didn't need any rules to show him the difference between right and wrong.

Fast forward 10 years. The Kilpatricks and another regular on the 11th floor of City Hall -- the mayor's floor -- are on trial, accused of abusing the public trust and using their positions to enrich themselves and their associates.

Former homeless shelter operator Jon Rutherford testified that he paid the elder Kilpatrick $10,000 a month for his good counsel. (He gave the mayor $10,000. For suits.)

Contractors Thomas Hardiman and Avinash Rachmale testified that they gave B.K. $2,500 for his city hall savvy. (They gave the mayor cut-rate campaign office space.)

And former Cobo Center concessionaire Karl Kado said he paid Bernard Kilpatrick hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure that he would not get tossed out on his rear. (He gave the mayor at least $10,000, though he can't remember whether it was delivered in a brown paper bag or an envelope.)

Whether this was ill-advised, unethical or illegal will be up to the jury to decide.

One factor that may help B.K. is that all of his clients who became government witnesses testified that they didn't get everything -- or, in some cases, anything -- they wanted, despite their lavish payments to the mayor's daddy.

If the jury does decide that the government over-reached and, as the defense attorneys contend, has cast everything the Kilpatricks and their pal Bobby Ferguson did in a falsely negative light, wouldn't it be ironic if all of this could have been avoided if only the mayor had installed safeguards to guide the city's dealings with his father?

Of course, installing safeguards would have amounted to taking good advice.

And, so far, the testimony we've heard suggests that the only thing the mayor was good at taking is other people's money.

Follow M.L. Elrick's coverage of the Kilpatrick & Co. trial daily on FOX 2 and at www.myfoxdetroit.com. Contact him at ml.elrick@foxtv.com or via Twitter (@elrick) or Facebook. And catch him every Friday morning around 7:15 a.m. on Drew & Mike on WRIF, 101.1 FM. He is co-author of "The Kwame Sutra: Musings on Lust, Life and Leadership from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick," available at www.kwamesutra.com. A portion of sales benefit the Eagle Sports Club and Soar Tutoring. Learn more at www.eaglesports.com.

  • Latest Development in the Kilpatrick Corruption TrialMore>>

  • Detroit councilwoman wants transparency on tinted window issue

    Detroit councilwoman wants transparency on tinted window issue

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-08-27 01:12:02 GMT
    After months of trying to get Detroit City Council woman Mary Sheffield to call back, she finally reached out - but not to answer questions, to call Fox 2 out.
    After months of trying to get Detroit City Council woman Mary Sheffield to call back, she finally reached out - but not to answer questions, to call Fox 2 out.
  • Why do some Detroit council members have tinted front windows?

    Why do some Detroit council members have tinted front windows?

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:27:50 GMT
    A recent report from Fox 2's M.L. Elrick about Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield sparked some interesting response from viewers. Several of you raised the question via emailed or by commenting on social media as to why her front windows were tinted.
    A recent report from Fox 2's M.L. Elrick about Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield sparked some interesting response from viewers. Several of you raised the question via emailed or by commenting on social media as to why her front windows were tinted.
  • Woodward Dream Cruise kicks off 20th year

    Woodward Dream Cruise kicks off 20th year

    Friday, August 15 2014 10:44 PM EDT2014-08-16 02:44:42 GMT
    The 20th Woodward Dream Cruise kicks off Saturday showcasing thousands of classic cars.Fox 2's resident classic car enthusiast M. L. Elrick took to the streets with his 1962 Pontiac Tempest to experience the ride firsthand.
    The 20th Woodward Dream Cruise kicks off Saturday showcasing thousands of classic cars.Fox 2's resident classic car enthusiast M. L. Elrick took to the streets with his 1962 Pontiac Tempest to experience the ride firsthand.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices