Tag Archives: detroit politics

belle isle detroit michigan

Belle Isle Becomes A State Park In 2014

I was surprised to learn that Belle Isle is becoming a state park as of January 1st, 2014. Governor Rick Snyder just approved a deal with Bobby Orr, the emergency manager, that leases Belle Isle to the State for 30 years. This move will save the city of Detroit $4-6 million annually, so it’s a pretty good move. Detroit will still technically own the Belle Isle, but the Department of Natural Resources will manage it. Starting next year, you will need the $11/yr recreation passport sticker on your license plate to enter Belle Isle State Park. Man, that sounds weird to say.

I visited Belle Isle for the first time in almost 15 years this summer when I attended the Orion Festival there. This was the first time I had heard of the island being used for a concert, too. The buildings on the island looked like they were crumbling away, only slightly less than the rest of the city. Now that the DNR is managing the island, state funds will be available. The DNR also will also seek $10-20 million in grants for repairs and renovations to the island’s infrastructure.

I’m glad to hear Belle Isle will finally receive the care it needs to bounce back. This deal seems like a good thing for both the city, the state, and the people. However, not everyone is happy about it. City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson had this to say:

It’s an absolute treasure, and Belle Isle is ours. It flies in the face of all the public pronouncements of the state trying to help the city. It sounds like a rape to me. It should never be touched. It’s a disgrace before God to have this outrageous seizing of an asset.

Now, when I read this I immediately realized why Detroit is in such bad financial shape. The city has people like this making decisions. Important decisions. I don’t think this woman understands what a lease is. The city still owns the island. They don’t have to pay to maintain it (which they couldn’t afford to do anyway), and everyone can still us it (with the recreation passport). So, where’s the drawback? Apparently, councilwoman Watson would rather see the island fall into further despair, eventually to the point that it’s unusable. Unusable like a huge percentage of Detroit already is, full of desolate urban prairies piled high with old tires. Sometimes you just gotta know when to let go, Detroit. It’s for the better.

Source: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131001/METRO01/310010072/Snyder-finalizes-Belle-Isle-deal-Detroit?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

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former detroit mayor

Kwame Kilpatrick Faces Up To 20 Years In Prison After Being Convicted On 24 Counts Of Racketeering, Extortion, And More

Last week, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was finally convicted on 24 charges, including racketeering, extortion, bribery, mail fraud, and filing false tax returns. The 5 month trial also found Bobby Ferguson, a contractor and friend of Kilpatrick who was given several city contracts illegally, guilty on 9 charges. Kilpatricks father Bernard was also found guilty on one tax charge. Kwame is facing 20 years in prison and is being held without bail as they consider him a possible flight risk. He is currently awaiting sentencing, but no date has been set for the hearing.

Ferguson was given $84 million in contracts by Kwame Kilpatrick, which forced people to hire Ferguson as a subcontractor if they wanted to be awarded city deals.

former detroit mayor

 

Count One: (All Three) Racketeering conspiracy: Joining together to conduct a criminal enterprise, which in this case the prosecution dubbed the “Kilpatrick Enterprise,” an alleged scheme of kickbacks to enrich themselves using the mayor’s office. It’s punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Guilty
Bobby Ferguson: Guilty
Bernard Kilpatrick: No verdict

Count Two: (K. Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Extortion in the sewer lining contract. Extortion carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Guilty
Bobby Ferguson:  Guilty

Count Three: (K, Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Extortion in an amendment to the sewer lining contract. Extortion carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Guilty
Bobby Ferguson:  Guilty

Count Four: (K. Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Extortion in the Baby Creek/Patton Park contract. Extortion carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Guilty
Bobby Ferguson:  Guilty

Count Five: (K. Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Attempted Extortion Oakwood Pump Station contract.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Guilty
Bobby Ferguson: Guilty

Count Six: Dismissed

Count Seven: Extortion (K. Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Extortion in the Outfalls contract. Extortion carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Kwame Kilpatrick: No verdict
Bobby Ferguson: Guilty

Count Eight: Extortion (K. Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Extortion in an asbestos abatement contract. Extortion carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Kwame Kilpatrick: No verdit
Bobby Ferguson: Guilty

Count Nine: (K. Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Extortion in repair of eastside water mains. Extortion carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Guilty
Bobby Ferguson: Guilty

Count 10: (K. Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Extortion in eastside sewer repairs. Extortion carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Not guilty
Bobby Ferguson: Not guilty

Counts 11-14: Dismissed

Count 15: Attempted Extortion (B. Kilpatrick) Sludge contract.

Bernard Kilpatrick: Not guilty

Count 16: Bribery (K. Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Soliciting funds for personal purposes.

Kwame Kilpatrick: No verdict

Count 17: Bribery (K. Kilpatrick, Ferguson) Soliciting funds for personal purposes.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Guilty
Bobby Ferguson: Guilty

Kwame Kilpatrick has also been found guilty on one wire fraud count, as well as one tax count and several mail fraud charges.

 

Kilpatrick left Detroit’s City Hall in 2008 after pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice related to a text message sex scandal with a former employee. He served about a year in jail for those crimes and agreed to pay the city of Detroit $1 million in restitution. In August 2011, only a week after he was paroled, Creative Publishing Consultants Inc out of Tennessee released a book that was co-written by Kilpatrick, titled Surrendered: The Rise, Fall & Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick. However, the Wayne County prosecutor pushed the state courts to see to it that any proceeds that Kwame would have received from the book go to repaying the $1 million he owes to the city of Detroit.

In January the ex-mayor also spent a weekend in jail for violating his parole by not reporting cash gifts he received in 2012.

 

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