- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick violated terms of his probation by failing to report assets and turn over tax refunds, a judge ruled Tuesday, strongly suggesting he may send Kilpatrick to jail when he’s sentenced next month.

Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner said Kilpatrick could remain free on bond pending his sentencing on May 25 and ordered state corrections officials to prepare a pre-sentence report by May 18.

Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in 2008 after sexually explicit text messages became public, showing he had lied under oath about an affair with a staff member in a whistle-blowers’ lawsuit. The 39-year-old Kilpatrick resigned, served 99 days in jail, agreed to give up his law license, repay the city $1 million and stay out of politics for five years.

Prosecutors claim Kilpatrick hasn’t paid enough toward the $1 million he owes Detroit. He has been making monthly payments of $3,000 while living in the Dallas area and working as a salesman for the information-technology company Covisint. But prosecutors learned Kilpatrick and his wife have other money, including $240,000 in loans, live in a rented mansion and drive fancy SUVs.

“I think these entire proceedings have made it clear the defendant has no desire to pay,” Assistant Prosecutor Athina Siringas told Judge Groner.

The judge said Kilpatrick violated his probation by failing to surrender nearly $23,400 in tax refunds last year and a share of cash gifts from two people. Kilpatrick also illegally tapped a political fund for more than $36,000, the judge said.

Failure to disclose the $240,000 in loans from prominent businessmen was another probation violation, he said.

But Judge Groner rejected the prosecutor’s request that Kilpatrick be sent to jail immediately. The ex-mayor is current on his $3,000 monthly restitution payments and likely will make another one in May, the judge noted.

“That’s $3,000 more for the city of Detroit. Let’s get the money when we can,” Judge Groner said. “What’s the point of locking him up now?”

He implied, however, that things could change next month.

“You will be well advised to have your affairs in order prior to sentencing,” the judge told Kilpatrick.

In an interview, Ms. Siringas said there’s “no question” she will argue for “significant time” in custody. Defense lawyer Michael Alan Schwartz said jail or prison would be extreme.

“What’s important — punishing the guy or getting money for the city?” Mr. Schwartz told the Associated Press. “He’s already lost his position as mayor. He’s lost his license to practice law… . Is additional punishment going to achieve any positive good? The answer is no.”

In January, Judge Groner said Kilpatrick had been untruthful about his finances and ordered $320,000 in accelerated payments, much of it due by Tuesday. His lawyers say he can’t afford it on top of his regular monthly payments. Relatives and supporters paid $40,000 on his behalf in February.

Outside the courthouse, Kilpatrick hugged an admirer and shook hands before departing in an SUV driven by his brother-in-law. He rode off without answering questions from reporters.

A spokesman, Mike Paul, asked the community to pray for the former mayor and lend support, including donations for restitution.

Meanwhile, Kilpatrick’s wife asked a federal judge in Texas to intervene in the restitution case. Carlita Kilpatrick filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Fort Worth seeking to separate her assets and those of the couple’s three young sons from her husband’s.

The lawsuit names Wayne County and Prosecutor Kym Worthy as defendants. Worthy spokeswoman Maria Miller declined comment.

The Kilpatricks and their three sons live in the affluent Dallas suburb of Southlake.

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