Detroit's viral infection continues to spread - New York News

Detroit's viral infection continues to spread

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Former Mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick Former Mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick
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Off the Chain Opinion

DETROIT - Kwame Kilpatrick is like a foot wart. No matter how many times you cut it away, it spreads.

Take the other night. It was raining, the ball game was canceled. My friends and I went to an out-of-the-way restaurant to have a nightcap. The joint was closed, but the manager let us in anyhow. Who should walk in not five minutes later to collect his carryout?

Kwame Kilpatrick, that's who.

He looked slim and fit, his beard touched with gray. The young woman he was with was quite handsome by this reporter's judgment. They huddled together in a dark corner waiting on their order. It is certain the young woman was neither his wife, sister nor lawyer. The manager raised an eyebrow when they left.

"Some people never learn."

 So it seems.

Remember the name Emma Bell? She was paid nearly $1 million to raise money for Kilpatrick's campaign and nonprofit funds. She pled guilty last year to income tax evasion.

Bell testified earlier this month at Kilpatrick's public corruption trial that she siphoned off as much as $200,000 in cash over the years to give to Kilpatrick for his own use.

Bell told jurors that she kept the loot in her bra.   "I would take money out of my bra in front of my son," she testified about her back alley transactions with Kilpatrick.

If that's the case, then Ma Bell has another son. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon has used Bell as his political fundraiser as many as three times this year. Just last month, Bell was seen collecting checks at the door of a Napoleon event. One wonders where she stuffed them.

It also begs the question: why would Napoleon -- who is running for re-election and is considered the presumptive frontrunner in next year's mayoral election -- use a convicted felon and Kilpatrick bag lady to handle his money?

"He didn't want an old friend to starve," explained Steve Hood, the sheriff's political consultant. "He stopped using her once Kilpatrick's trial started."

 A word of advice, sheriff.  If you're going to pick a wart, it's recommended that you don't rub it in your eyes.

And while we're on the subject of next year's mayoral election, it's worth noting that Bernard Kilpatrick -- who is on trial with his son -- worked closely on Mike Duggan's successful 2000 campaign for Wayne County prosecutor. Duggan -- the great White Hope -- was Wayne County deputy executive under Ed McNamara while Bernard Kilpatrick was McNamara's chief of staff.

McNamara's political organization played a significant role in Kwame Kilpatrick's election as mayor of Detroit in 2001.

Then there is former Chief of Police Ralph Godbee, another fundraiser for Kilpatrick when he was an underling in the police department back in the day. Godbee flamed out earlier this month is his own sex and text scandal. A week after he "retired," Godbee denied he had swapped sexual favors with female subordinates in exchange for better assignments. Text messages penned by Godbee and obtained from Lt. Monique Patterson suggest otherwise. 

Everywhere you look. Sex. Money. Machine politics. All two degrees of separation from Kwame Kilpatrick. Detroit badly needs a cure.

 

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