Magazine article Black Enterprise

Detroit Mayor Heads to Trial: Will the Beleaguered City Support Him?

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Detroit Mayor Heads to Trial: Will the Beleaguered City Support Him?

Article excerpt

EVEN AS HIS TRIAL IS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN THIS MONTH, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick refuses to resign and vows to fight several charges brought against him by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Worthy announced the 12-count criminal indictment in March stating that Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty, his former chief of staff, lied under oath during a whistle-blower trial last summer when the two denied having a romantic relationship. Kilpatrick faces eight felony charges and Beatty, seven, including perjury, obstruction of justice, and misconduct in office.

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The charges could signal the end of Kilpatrick's six-year term as mayor of one of America's largest cities. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

During a press conference in March, Detroit's onetime rising star and youngest elected leader said. "I look forward to complete exoneration once all the facts surrounding this matter have been brought forth."

In the meantime, Kilpatrick said he will remain focused on moving the city of Detroit forward with key initiatives, such as the modernization of the city's police force, the expansion of its workforce development department's efforts to prepare citizens for jobs, and the $300 million economic stimulus package he presented to three members of the City Council.

Many other members of the community are trying to look forward as well. "The scandal has become a distraction but until the political and legal processes move forward, the city and region are in a holding pattern. The business community making any sweeping public statements won't change the reality that the judicial system has to resolve the issue. That is why the Chamber remains focused on the work at hand, which is pushing for economic development and job creation," said Richard E. Blouse, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. …

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