DETROIT--The Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III, Chairman of the Detroit Ecumenical Ministers Alliance, releases the following statement with regard to the sentencing and punitive measures reached by the U.S. District Court in the matter of Kwame M. Kilpatrick.
|Former Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick|
“Before I run the risk of sounding apologetic for the clearly inexcusable conduct of former Mayor Kilpatrick let me first say this his abuse of the public trust and the tremendous ill it has caused that no one, not even me, believes or advocates that it be excused or that he not to be punished. Mayor Kwame Kipatrick, as he even admits, was wrong and for that he should have been punished, and clearly he is being.
However, for him to be the only who has to be taught a lesson and made to pay for abusing public funds and the public trust is equally criminal. The very nature of Kilpatrick’s conviction, under the Federal RICO statute, means that what he did, he did with the aid and assistance of many others, and more than Bobby Ferguson. What about all the firms and businesses who paid to play, and are still benefiting from it? All of these entities prospered from what the Feds labeled as a criminal enterprise. Why aren't they being made to pay our public money back plus costs and fine? Surely, they testified against the former Mayor and Mr. Ferguson, and received consideration for it – not going to jail as well! But why should they be also allowed to keep all of the ill gotten and criminal gains? Why are they allowed to be so enriched at the tax payers and the city’s expense? Why isn't Kevin Orr pursuing them and asking them to pay us OUR MONEY back to help relieve our fiscal and image crisis?
If the supreme rule here is to prove that no one, not even Kwame, is or will ever be above the law, which is what many say is why the support his conviction and harsh sentencing, then why hasn't Lakeshore Engineering, who houses the police department in their building who is still profiting from this not been punished? Why are these entities that willingly and knowingly chose to involve themselves in a criminal enterprise still being allowed to do business with our city? Simply put, why are they still in essence paid players when they paid to play? Should their testimony in court exonerate them? I don’t think so and I also think that they should pay the city back every dime and be prohibited from ever doing business with us again.
Finally, my prayer today is, aside from the one that Detroiters will see the real agenda and wake up and make a statement against such imbalance by tipping the scale of justice when they vote in record numbers this November, and that President Obama will commute Kwame Kilpatrick’s sentence to a more reasonable just minutes before he leaves office.”