Detroit! Never boring, this city, and I mean never. The Wayne County prosecutor dragged the former mayor — the disgraced felon, that is — back from Texas, where he now lives, for a probation hearing, to answer questions about his finances, to wit: Why is he claiming poverty when it comes to paying his restitution to the city, while at the same time living in a mansion in the Dallas suburbs? He gets on the stand and drops the bomb: He was the recipient of a quarter-mil or so in “loans” from some of the city’s most respected businessmen, i.e. Roger Penske, Pete Karmanos, et al. The businessmen say the money was grease intended to slide the stubborn bastard out of office so the city could “heal,” etc. All released statements saying the balance owed “remains outstanding.”
But it gets better: Matty Moroun, the billionaire who owns the Ambassador Bridge, was even more generous, making his cash payment an outright gift. The Moroun prose style, revealed in the letter that accompanied the check, is a metaphor-mixin’ thing of beauty:
“My heart strings are tugged when I think of the storm your family has weathered, and my heart is heavy that you and your children have been harmed while doing everything possible to strengthen your family… Enclosed, please find a token of my affection for the Kilpatrick family.”
The letter goes on to state Moroun “thought long and hard” about “what I could do that would be an encouragement and help as you persevere and rebuild your family.” I can imagine that thought process: Fruit basket? Jelly of the Month Club? A subscription to Reader’s Digest? A free ticket to a motivational seminar? No, I know: Money.
Even better is the following paragraph in the News story:
Moroun’s spokesman on Thursday insisted that while Moroun is trying to win federal approval of a second span beside his bridge to Canada, the personal largess lavished on Kilpatrick’s wife and children wasn’t aimed at influencing Kilpatrick’s mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.
No. No, I’m sure that had nothing to do with it.
Of course, 50 grand is a drop in the bucket for a family like the Kilpatricks:
Kilpatrick and his wife deposited nearly $1.2 million into their bank accounts after Kilpatrick was sent to jail on Oct. 28, 2008 — and have spent nearly all of it — according to a prosecutors’ analysis.
The analysis was contained in a two-page document which was entered into evidence. It says the Kilpatricks had no money in their joint account and in Carlita Kilpatrick’s account on Oct. 15, 2008.
By Oct. 13 of this year, they had deposited $1,160,374 and written checks or withdrawn $1,150,498, leaving a balance of $21,761.
Karmanos is already bruised for having given Kilpatrick a cushy sales job with his software company when he got out of prison, defending it on the grounds that the guy was worth it. I wonder if the family’s big-spending lifestyle is a rebuke of sorts to his benefactors, a certain “don’t expect to see your money again, suckers.” I guess that’s between the Kilpatricks, their lenders, and the consciences of all involved.
P.S. Kilpatrick took the fifth when asked about his tax returns.
I suspect Moroun doesn’t care about his reputation, but the rest — patrons of the arts, titans of the charity-ball circuit — surely do. It’s a pity the term has picked up racist connotations, because in the strictest possible sense, Kilpatrick is the embodiment of the character from the folk tale: The tar baby. Everyone who touches him becomes ensnared in his stickiness. I bet the brier patch sounds like a dip in a cool lake to those guys, right about now.
The ex-mayor is still a sharp dresser, however: That four-button suit is a thing of beauty, even on a big man.
So, then: I should pause a moment and thank all of you who’ve been shopping Amazon via my store. While not a cash bonanza accompanied by treacly notes from billionaires, the income generated makes Google Ads look like the crap they are. It’ll help with my Christmas shopping, much of which I’ll be doing through Amazon, so hey — it’s a loop of love.
Only the shopping I can’t do locally, that is. Now more than ever, Michigan needs every dollar, every sales tax penny, every warm body walking through the malls. But for some things, eh, I’m happy to support the big A. I’m a one-woman stimulus package.
And if that isn’t the title of a dirty movie yet, it should be: “The Stimulus Package.”
And now it’s 9 a.m. and time for me to do a few million chores I’ve been putting off. Hoping to get Kate her H1N1 vaccine today, if the doctor’s office has any left. I’m wondering if she may have already had it — her “chest cold” week before last was accompanied by a day of 102-degree fever, and for those who have been lucky enough to get the mild version of the virus, it sounds familiar. Probably too late to test for it, but if that’s what it was and that’s all it was, I’m grateful.
Have a great weekend, all.