Paying Restitution More Important Than Plastic Surgery, Says Judge

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Last week, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick got his probation upgraded to jail time after a judge found he had been hiding assets to avoid paying restitution.  Kilpatrick was supposed to be paying back $1 million of the $8.4 million in taxpayer money he used to help cover up an affair (the coverup also included perjury).  Prosecutors said he quit paying after $140,000, saying he was out of money.  Kilpatrick had been ordered to pay $6,000 a month, but his lawyer told the court his client had just six dollars left over every month after paying his bills, such as rent and a lease payment on a car.

Kilpatrick house That might have been technically true, or at least truer than some of the other stuff Kilpatrick has said, but the judge seemed to find it important that the car was costing $900 a month, and that the rent was for a 6000-square-foot house that cost $6,400 a month.  (He had been paying a mere $3,000, but the lease on that squalid 3000-square-foot hovel apparently expired and they had to move.)

The judge seemed especially irked by the revelation that although Kilpatrick could only spare six bucks a month to pay back the city, he had somehow been able to scrape up enough to pay for his wife's plastic surgery.  "You have made it perfectly clear," the judge said to Kilpatrick, "that it's more important to pacify your wife than to comply with my orders."  I suppose that can sometimes be a tough call, but this one meant jail time.

Another howler was Kilpatrick's statement last year that he needed to travel to the Middle East for his new employer, a software company in Dallas.  (Tip: travel to the Middle East is often inconsistent with the terms of one's probation.)  Prosecutors described that request as "alarming," and the employer described it as something it knew nothing about.  Kilpatrick did not make the trip, and will not be making any others for at least 18 months.

Link: Detroit Free Press