It’s no secret that I am a sucker for CNBC’s television show American Greed. The show informs you on so many life lessons from investing to human interaction when it comes to the almighty dollar. It also gives me into a peculiar insight that ANYONE can be touched if you aren’t careful. Either it be financially, emotionally, physically, or mentally someone can be attacked. I know you are looking at the title like Kwame Kilpatrick hasn’t been on American Greed. Well, after yesterday’s conviction on multiple federal charges from racketeering to extortion I have already figured that Kwame Kilpatrick has to be on an upcoming episode of American Greed. And I figured why not title the episode “The Curious case of Kwame Kilpatrick”.
Detroit at one point was the prototype of where the working class could get some part of the American Dream. The auto industry and factories were a place many African-Americans fled for gainful employment. At one point Detroit was one of the largest cities in the US. The declining auto industry crippled Detroit and the state of Michigan. Detroit needed to find some way to recover and get the city into the 21st century.
Enter Kwame Kilpatrick…
Flashback to 2002 the nation was looking at the city of Detroit as they elected Kwame Kilpatrick a former Michigan State Representative as mayor. Kwame was heralded as the future of not just Detroit politics but young politicians in the country. Dubbed as the hip hop mayor Kwame was the vision of what a young college educated black man (Florida A&M and Michigan State U.) from the hip hop generation could do for the community. The Kwame Kilpatrick train seemed to be one of destiny that would be talked about for ages. Unfortunately the Kilpatrick regime will not be discussed the way many thought it would be.
Kwame was known for living hip hop music video visions and dreams in his tenure. He would be places poppin’ bottles, making it rain at the strip club, etc. As soon as Kilpatrick entered office he was accused of he was criticized for using city funds to lease a car for use by his family and using his city-issued credit card to charge thousands of dollars worth of spa massages, trips, dining, and expensive amenities. Kilpatrick paid back $9,000 of the $210,000 credit card charges,less than 5% of the amount charged. There were also murmurs of Kwame Kilpatrick’s extravagant parties at the mayor’s mansion that could rival BMF’s Big Meech (which ironically where Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory was from as well), Kwame using government vehicles for personal use, and even rumors that his administration had something to do with a death Tamara Greene a Detroit stripper who had previously had a fight with Kilpatrick’s wife in 2002.
This was just the tip of the iceberg for Kwame Kilpatrick but the regime began to tumble all because of text messages between himself and one of his cabinet members Christine Beatty. The text message scandal basically was improper usage between Beatty and Kilpatrick where they were involved with an extramarital affair and used the text messages for their rendezvous. Kilpatrick and Beatty both denied that the relationship and improper usage of the Skytel pagers existed and that’s when the ball started to crumble. One thing I have learned about messing with the Feds is that when they find one thing on you they gonna find everything else that you did.
Fast forward to yesterday March 12 and after multiple incarcerations from multiple charges the hammer finally came down hard as hell on Kilpatrick when federal courts convicted him (two dozen counts from racketeering to extortion) on more charges than John Gotti. Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, and Bobby Ferguson received the brunt of the Feds convictions. The crazy part of this whole case and what I have learned from not only American Greed, the mafia, and the drug game is that when the feds come to knocking at people door people get to talking. Kilpatrick was essential taken down partly by testimony and statements from the same people he helped come up and benefit from the corruption of Detroit’s city hall.
Kilpatrick had the opportunity to take hip hop from what Notorious B.I.G. and my blog champions “Going From Ashy to Classy” but that he took the hip hop dreams too far. MCs such as Nas, Tupac Shakur, Slick Rick, Eightball and MJG, and many others have always had rhymes talking about what they would do if they ruled the world. I remember back in college I wrote a satirical and humorous article about how I would be a hip hop president. The crazy part about it that Kilpatrick didn’t understand that there is a fine line between hip hop champagne dreams and working to rebuild a city.
The whole saga of Kwame Kilpatrick is something that will be on American Greed soon because the story is that salacious. I have a theory about this and many people like Kilpatrick who get caught up in corruption, Ponzi schemes, and fraud. My theory is that regardless of what good some people wish to do the hardest part of everything is not allowing absolute power to control to destroy you. People get that power and money and it becomes more destructive than drugs. Kwame Kilpatrick was a vision of what the hip hop generation could contribute to society but in the end it displayed how absolute power and living hip hop dreams isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.
Make sure you check out this week’s episode of the “Straight Outta Lo Cash” Radio Show. This week’s show “Three’s Really A Company”. You can also subscribe to the show on I-Tunes or listen on your Android, I-Phone, or I-Pad with Stitcher Radio.