|Kwame Kilpatrick - Photo by Frank Nemecek|
Disgraced former Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in a federal prison on public corruption charges this afternoon. This is good. I'm glad to see it happen.
I will be even more excited, though, when the City of Detroit starts purging its payrolls of Kwame Kilpatrick's cronies and tearing up every contract that his administration ever entered into.
There are some good people who worked for the City of Detroit during that tenure, including some who I am proud to call friends. However, the sad reality is that the level of corruption that we witnessed in the Kilpatrick era simply could not have happened in a vacuum. As a result, everyone who work for or did business with the City of Detroit during the Kilpatrick Administration remains under an unspoken cloud of suspicion.
If we as a city are ever going to truly move on from this, we need to know that the guilty truly have been removed from power. We cannot simply say that those at the top of this corruption racket have been charged and promptly declare "an end to corruption in Detroit" as U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade proclaimed back in 2008.
We need to start asking questions like who knew about this corruption, when did they know about it, and what did they do about it. More importantly, we need to examine how much of this continued on into the tenure of Mayor Dave Bing.