Maybe Kilpatrick needed rules to help him with wrong or right - FOX 32 News Chicago

Maybe Kilpatrick needed some rules to help him with wrong or right

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

I hate to say "I told you so … "

Wait. That's not true.

I LOVE to say "I told you so."

(Hell, it's one of the reasons I launched this damn column!)

So, without further adieu: "I told you so, Kwame Kilpatrick."

It was a little more than 10 years ago, shortly after we learned that Bernard Kilpatrick had retired from his job as a top Wayne County official to open Maestro Associates LLC, a lobbying firm.

His plan was plain enough: He would use his two decades in government to help businesses navigate state, county and local government.

Given that his son ran the biggest local government in Michigan, many reasonable folks would have seen the potential for at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Not Hizzoner.

When I asked him if he planned to implement any guidelines for dealing with his father or his father's clients, the mayor said he didn't need any rules to show him the difference between right and wrong.

Fast forward 10 years. The Kilpatricks and another regular on the 11th floor of City Hall -- the mayor's floor -- are on trial, accused of abusing the public trust and using their positions to enrich themselves and their associates.

Former homeless shelter operator Jon Rutherford testified that he paid the elder Kilpatrick $10,000 a month for his good counsel. (He gave the mayor $10,000. For suits.)

Contractors Thomas Hardiman and Avinash Rachmale testified that they gave B.K. $2,500 for his city hall savvy. (They gave the mayor cut-rate campaign office space.)

And former Cobo Center concessionaire Karl Kado said he paid Bernard Kilpatrick hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure that he would not get tossed out on his rear. (He gave the mayor at least $10,000, though he can't remember whether it was delivered in a brown paper bag or an envelope.)

Whether this was ill-advised, unethical or illegal will be up to the jury to decide.

One factor that may help B.K. is that all of his clients who became government witnesses testified that they didn't get everything -- or, in some cases, anything -- they wanted, despite their lavish payments to the mayor's daddy.

If the jury does decide that the government over-reached and, as the defense attorneys contend, has cast everything the Kilpatricks and their pal Bobby Ferguson did in a falsely negative light, wouldn't it be ironic if all of this could have been avoided if only the mayor had installed safeguards to guide the city's dealings with his father?

Of course, installing safeguards would have amounted to taking good advice.

And, so far, the testimony we've heard suggests that the only thing the mayor was good at taking is other people's money.

Follow M.L. Elrick's coverage of the Kilpatrick & Co. trial daily on FOX 2 and at www.myfoxdetroit.com. Contact him at ml.elrick@foxtv.com or via Twitter (@elrick) or Facebook. And catch him every Friday morning around 7:15 a.m. on Drew & Mike on WRIF, 101.1 FM. He is co-author of "The Kwame Sutra: Musings on Lust, Life and Leadership from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick," available at www.kwamesutra.com. A portion of sales benefit the Eagle Sports Club and Soar Tutoring. Learn more at www.eaglesports.com.

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