Opinion: Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleads financial woes to the court; but what about $15G’s for plastic surgery?

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Admiration is not the word. But you’ve got to take note of the chutzpah of Detroit’s former Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick.

He claims he can’t afford to pay the city $6,000 a month in restitution for lying about his sexual text-messaging antics with former top aide Christine Beatty. But he admitted in a Michigan court today that somehow – somehow! – he was able to scrape together more than $15,000 to spend on plastic surgery for some part of his wife, Carlita.

And this summer, when Kilpatrick said in court documents that he had a mere $6 left to his name to pay for expenses, the court learned that he’d somehow scrounged up nearly $75,000 to cover the cost of a 13-month lease for his family’s new million-dollar home in Southlake, Texas.

All these juicy details came pouring out of Wayne County Circuit Court on Monday, where Kilpatrick spent a fourth day in a hearing about whether he violated the conditions of his probation by not paying his restitution.

Shocked? Surprised? Not really.

This is, after all, the man who played a lead role in a political soap opera last year that resulted in his pleading guilty to two felonies related to his affair with Beatty.


And, in addition to spending 99 days in jail, he agreed to pay the city $1 million in restitution to...

...make up for the fact that he lied in court and obstructed police investigations into his text-messaging antics with Beatty.

Now, the ex-attorney is working as a salesman. His job with Covisint pays him a monthly base pay of $10,000, hardly (he claims) enough to make ends meet. So he wants the court to cut him a break -- and let him pay back the community at half the existing rate, or $3,000 a month.

At that rate, it’ll take the 39-year-old Kilpatrick more than 27 years to pay back the Motor City.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office, though, isn’t buying his woebegone plea. Prosecutors assert that Kilpatrick isn’t reporting all of his income and finances, as has been ordered by the court, and accuse him of secreting money away into accounts under his wife’s name.

And on Monday, when Kilpatrick returned to Wayne County Circuit Court to testify about his finances and his spending habits, it looked like the critics might have good reason to doubt him.

So what has Kilpatrick bought so far?

Among other things: the $15,770 on something “personal” for Carlita (though Kilpatrick wouldn’t say what was nipped or tucked on his wife); $800 on Omaha Steaks; $600 at a Gucci store; $160 at a nail salon; and hundreds (or possibly thousands) of dollars at golf courses and restaurants.

“That’s what you chose to pay your money on, as opposed to paying the court restitution so you could pay your million dollars to the city of Detroit,” Assistant Prosecutor Athina Siringas reportedly said to Kilpatrick during his testimony.

How serious is Kilpatrick taking this? Well, consider this: When Judge David Groner returned from the lunch break, Team Kilpatrick was nowhere to be found. He and his attorneys kept the court waiting for 17 minutes, according to the Free Press blog.

The problem? They were waiting for their restaurant lunch bill.

-- P.J. Huffstutter

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