- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick has been called one of the nation’s rising young black political stars, a 32-year-old former state lawmaker with a history of public service.

In 2000, he delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention. And, at one point, the 6-foot-4-inch former high school football player was considered a running mate for Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

The Democratic Leadership Council calls Mr. Kilpatrick one of 100 Democratic Americans to watch.

Mr. Kilpatrick is indeed being watched. And more.

The Michigan State Police and the state’s attorney general have assembled a seven-person team to investigate members of the mayor’s security force over accusations of drunken driving, falsified pay records and cover-ups of accidents with city cars driven by Mr. Kilpatrick’s friends.

Also under investigation are reports of a wild party, complete with nude dancers, and an assault at the mayor’s city-owned residence.

Two of Mr. Kilpatrick’s bodyguards, Greg Jones and Michael Martin, it was revealed last week, had been suspended at least six times before joining the mayor’s security staff. Mr. Martin asked to be transferred from the 20-member detail last week.

And one Detroit police officer said he received a death threat from a member of the security force after reporting some illegal activities to his superiors.

“This is a unique case that has taken a unique path,” said Sage Eastman, a spokesman for state Attorney General Mike Cox. His office became involved when it was said that the commander of the state police attended the purported party at the mayor’s home.

The officer denied attending, but Mr. Cox felt that entering the fray was best.

“The objective is to find out what went on and see if there is anything that is prosecutable,” Mr. Eastman said. “Enough of the rumors and innuendoes. It’s time to get to the truth.”

The truth would benefit Mr. Kilpatrick’s supporters.

“What this is right now is a wake-up call for him,” said Rev. Horace Sheffield III, a lifelong Detroit resident and president of the local chapter of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. “I don’t like earrings and I don’t like hip-hop, but that won’t cloud my perception of someone who could be a real leader, which is what Kwame can be.”

“The mayor may have made some judgment mistakes here,” he added. “But he can survive this.”

The nation’s youngest mayor, Mr. Kilpatrick, wears a diamond stud in his left ear, rides a Harley and is proud of his status as the “hip hop mayor.”

He dotes on his wife, Carlita, and his three children. And his political lineage is impressive; his mother is U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Michigan Democrat, and his father, Bernard, is a former chief of staff to Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara.

Mr. Kilpatrick has denied wild parties at the mayoral mansion and has backed the two bodyguards in question as “men of integrity.”

The accusations of impropriety, voiced among insiders for some time, became public earlier this month after Mr. Kilpatrick fired Gary Brown, a 26-year veteran of the police department who headed the Professional Accountability Bureau, which handles internal-affairs investigations.

The termination came shortly after Mr. Brown began an investigation into the accusations and less than nine months after the officer received a stellar performance review and a cash incentive bonus, said his lawyer, Michael Stefani.

Mr. Stefani said that the mayor may well be absolved of many of the accusations, which surround events that occurred outside his purview.


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