In this particular case, the judge ain’t digging the player or the game.
The player: one disgraced ex-mayor. The game: the system that would award that disgraced ex-mayor substantially more money and perks following his conviction for betraying the public trust than he earned in public office.
The person in question is Kwame Kilpatrick, fresh out of jail after a 100-day term for lying to a jury about his seedy affair with former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty. As mayor of Detroit, he earned a respectable $176,176 per year. Since being released last month, he has landed a job with a Dallas, Texas-area firm, where he will be paid $120,000 a year – for his first six months on the job, then an additional $10,000 a month “as a sales draw advance,” which would hike his first-year earnings to at least $180,000. The pot could be further sweetened if Kilpatrick meets sales targets, say officials at the Addison, Texas, office of Covisint.
This is just the kind of thing that gets under a judge’s skin, and on Wednesday, Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner slapped the high-living ex-con with a $16,000 fine and ordered him to disclose any and all gifts he receives over the next half-decade. He scolded Kilpatrick for allegedly hiding his wealth, saying that the probation department found his assets are “far exceeding the amount initially indicated … at the time of his sentencing.” He pointed to the ex-mayor’s $3,000-per-month luxury home, his fat ride (a 2009 Escalade SUV) and private jet he took to Dallas a day after he got out of jail.
“What concerns this court is his ability to secure benefits or funds as gifts to purchase cars, travel in private planes, and rent a home in an affluent Texas neighborhood,” Groner said, noting that Kilpatrick got the Escalade using cash gifts of $26,000 and $9,000 from Carlita Kilpatrick, his wife, “received at the time of his sentence. …These cash gifts were not disclosed to the probation department at the time of” Kilpatrick’s “sentence.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, Kilpatrick’s mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) paid for her son’s charter flight to Dallas with her personal funds.