Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick told prosecutors last week that he doesn’t know who is paying the rent on his spacious million-dollar mansion in an affluent Texas suburb.
“There’s so many different people giving you so much money that you can’t even keep it straight? Is that what you’re telling us, sir?” asked Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Athina Siringas.
Kilpatrick, who resigned from his office in disgrace earlier this year, was back in a Detroit courtroom for a high-profile restitution hearing. Kilpatrick owes the city of Detroit $1 million, stemming from a sex-text scandal that resulted in a perjury conviction and four months of jail time.
Prosecutors argue that Kilpatrick is living a lavish lifestyle, driving expensive cars and enjoying a pricy, red-brick, 2,800-square-foot home in Southlake, a tony suburb outside of Dallas.
Kilpatrick is also accused of failing to fully disclose his family’s financial records. He told the court that he did not know much about his wife’s finances — including whether she even has a job, according to The Detroit Free Press.
And he insisted that he has no idea who pays the rent on his luxury home. Prosecutors are skeptical of Kilpatrick’s testimony and believe he’s trying to avoid paying restitution.
Kilpatrick was asked several times why his wife, Carlita, handles all their finances.
“My wife is pissed at me,” Kilpatrick said in court, “so I don’t get involved in the day-to-day operations of our checking account. “She directs the account, totally. … I’m just happy to be living in that house.”
But pressed on the witness stand, Kilpatrick said, “At this particular time, I have the only income in the home.”
Kilpatrick sells medical software in Dallas and is looking to reduce his monthly restitution payments from $6,000 to $3,000. He maintains that he does not make enough money to pay the city what he owes.
Kilpatrick also told prosecutors that he has borrowed thousands of dollars from friends to make his restitution payments. One family friend paid Kilpatrick $12,500, and a prominent Detroit businessman gave Kilpatrick $150,000 toward his restitution payments.
Prosecutors also want to know more about a reported $240,000 loan to Kilpatrick by a group of businessmen, which includes Compuware Chairman Peter Karmanos Jr.
According to media reports, Wayne County prosecutors allege that Kilpatrick and his wife have had more than $1 million stored in various bank accounts. They also argue that Kilpatrick is aware of the couple’s finances since bank statements in both of their names were delivered to the same post office box.
This week, Kilpatrick asked Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Groner if he could put the restitution hearing on hold and return to Dallas to work on a deal that could bring in $300,000. Groner agreed to let Kilpatrick travel back to Dallas – but with a stern warning.
“I’m going to let him go to his meeting,” Groner said, but he ordered Kilpatrick to produce a letter detailing the business arrangement of the earnings and a confirmation by his employer.
“If I don’t get that letter,” Groner said, “there will be a contempt hearing.”