Kilpatrick Sentenced to 28 Years, Likely to Spend Rest of His Life in Jail


Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced today to 28 years in prison for his public corruption conviction. 

“This is the end of a long Greek tragedy,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement. “What bothers me most is the sacrifice of a potentially brilliant career. The guy was intelligent, charismatic, witty, and greedy as hell.”

Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, and his longtime friend Bobby Ferguson were indicted in December 2010. They were charged with running a criminal “enterprise” through the mayor’s office to enrich themselves through a scheme that involved rigging contracts and shaking down contractors.

In March, Kilpatrick was convicted on 24 of 30 federal felony counts, including mail and wire fraud and racketeering. He has remained in jail until his sentencing today.

In a statement regarding Kilpatrick’s sentence, Mayor Dave Bing said, “I’m glad that this negative chapter in Detroit’s history has finally come to an end for our citizens. Although I certainly feel for the Kilpatrick family and the impact this sentence will have on them, public service requires a higher standard of ethics and accountability. Today’s sentencing sends a strong message to everyone in public office.

“As we move forward with Detroit’s transformation, honesty, transparency, and integrity in city leadership will be paramount.”

Kilpatrick became the youngest mayor of Detroit at age 31 when he was elected in 2001.

In 1996, he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives after his mother Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick vacated the seat to run for U.S. Congress.

For an in-depth backstory of how Kilpatrick’s arrogance spawned a rein of corruption in Detroit, click here for Ric Bohy’s article from DBusiness magazine.