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Kwame Kilpatrick Files Appeal, Says He Doesn’t Owe City of Detroit a Damn Thing

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at his sentencing in 2008 (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at his sentencing in 2008 (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Kwame Kilpatrick, the disgraced former mayor of Detroit, is asking a federal judge to wipe his $1.5 million debt clean. The embattled politician, who is currently serving a 28-year sentence in Oklahoma for corruption, claims that he cost the city of Detroit no financial losses during his tenure, reports the Detroit Free Press.


Kilpatrick was convicted in 2013 on 24 counts, which included bribery, extortion and fraud. The $1.5 million restitution fee, however, relates specifically to allegations that the former mayor rigged a city water-and-sewer contract to go to his friend. A jury found that Kilpatrick’s hookup caused the city to overpay for a sewer-repair project, according to the Free Press.

But Kilpatrick’s attorney claims that the ex-mayor never engaged in bid rigging. Further, he says the jury wasn’t asked to “make any determination that alleged bid rigging occurred.”


The current restitution tab is but a fraction of the amount the city of Detroit claimed that Kilpatrick cost it—a fact the former mayor says shows that he never got a fair shake.

From the Detroit Free Press:

The government claimed he cost the city of Detroit hundreds of millions in losses, a number that was later dropped more than $30 million, then $9.6 million, then $4.6 million and ultimately $1.5 million, which was his final tab.

Detroit News federal court reporter Robert Snell tweeted out an itemized list of the money Kilpatrick was found to owe his creditors, which included legal fees, SEC fines, credit card bills and student loan payments, as well as restitution for scandals during his tenure as mayor.


Kilpatrick, who claims he has only 96 cents in the bank, successfully challenged the $4.5 million restitution earlier this summer, however. After filing an appeal, a federal court found the sum to be “erroneous” and found that it should have focused on the money Kilpatrick cost the city rather than speculating on his financial gains.

The hefty sum aside, the former Detroit mayor’s incarceration marks one of the longest prison sentences in U.S. history handed down to a public official for corruption. In fact, the Free Press reports that only two other cases are comparable: a Pennsylvania judge who accepted money to send juveniles to a for-profit detention center and an Ohio county commissioner convicted of bribery and racketeering.


Kilpatrick won’t be eligible for release until 2037.

Read more at the Detroit Free Press.

Staff writer, The Root.

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He’s a disgrace, he really is. Yes, I think he was sentenced more harshly than other corrupt politicians but because he is GUILTY, and because he’s so unapologetic I feel that he deserves it. It’s just a shame that Ray Nagin isn’t his cellmate. They could have more pity parties before shanking each other, then reuniting to have more pity parties...