Christine Beatty on the cover of November's Essence Magazine (Essence Magazine)
Detroit— Christine Beatty says her former lover Kwame Kilpatrick “propelled me to ecstasy” before she resigned in shame and went to jail following a high-profile text-message scandal.
Beatty, the disgraced former mayor’s chief of staff, dishes about her first kiss with Kilpatrick and offers behind-the-scenes details of a scandal that drew international headlines, and punchlines, according to an advance copy of a first-person story in the November edition of Essence Magazine.
“He made me laugh, he made me angry, he propelled me to ecstasy and reduced me to tears,” Beatty writes.
Beatty, who filed bankruptcy last year, was paid an unspecified amount for the article. She doesn’t say why she is rehashing the text-message scandal, though the article is emerging days before Kilpatrick is sentenced in the City Hall corruption case. Federal prosecutors want him locked up for at least 28 years.
She also discusses her attempts to find redemption, living with shame and lessons learned from the text-message scandal.
Beatty quit a powerful and lucrative City Hall job five years ago in scandal.
Her finances drew scrutiny last year after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
According to the Oct. 26 bankruptcy filing, Beatty buckled under the weight of $60,000 in delinquent federal taxes, $220,000 in mortgage debt, consumer bills and $100,000 in restitution owed to Detroit from the 2008 text-message scandal.
She owes $79,816.80 in restitution and made a $500 payment Tuesday, according to Wayne County Circuit Court records.
The first-person story recounts the day in January 2009 that she tuned herself in to serve a four-month jail sentence for lying under oath about her relationship with Kilpatrick while serving as his chief of staff.
“Despite what that sounds like, I didn’t sleep my way into the position,” Beatty writes.
The couple kept their relationship private for almost six years before racy text messages emerged indicating they were involved in a sexual relationship.
“I had disgraced my family and friends, lost my career, compromised the hard work of my colleagues and our administration and let down my city,” Beatty wrote.
She recounts meeting Kilpatrick when both were enrolled at Cass Tech.
“For years I would think fondly of our first kiss, the one we shared sitting on my mother’s couch after our first date,” Beatty wrote. “That kiss, passionate yet gentle, was the sweetest thing I had ever experienced.”
She says Kilpatrick was not the love of her life, however. That title belongs to her ex-husband, Lou.
Beatty says she and Kilpatrick first became intimate in 2002, his first year in office.
“I knew immediately that we had crossed a line, but there was no turning back,” she wrote.
Her nine-year marriage fell apart and they divorced in 2006.
“I was totally consumed by my affair with Kwame,” she wrote.
“We would find any spare time we could to be together, at the office or at my home when my children weren’t there,” she continued. “In the morning as I dressed for work, I would find myself wondering if Kwame would approve of my outfit. ... My happiness was completely dependent on whether I felt he adored me personally and was proud of me professionally.”
Thoughts of Kilpatrick’s wife, Carlita, made her feel terrible and ashamed, especially during family gatherings at the Manoogian Mansion.
“What type of woman was I to go into another woman’s house and smile in her face while I was sleeping with her husband?” Beatty wrote.
Their affair continued until the text-message scandal.
Beatty learned in January 2008 that the Detroit Free Press was working on a story about the texts.
“I could barely breathe,” she wrote. “That night I had to have some of the most painful conversations of my life, going house to house telling my family the news.”
She recounts in detail breaking the news to her ex-husband.
“As I explained and tried to apologize, he walked over to the liquor cabinet, poured himself a drink and downed the entire glass,” she wrote. “It would be years before he would be able to forgive me.”
Next, she visited her pastor and his wife.
“At their home I fell to my knees, sobbing,” she wrote.
She was later charged with lying under oath about the relationship during a whistle-blower trial.
After a short jail stint for her and for Kilpatrick, he started a six-figure job with a software company.
When Beatty got out of jail, as she puts it, “I had nothing.”
She complains about difficulty finding a job after leaving jail and being spurned by former colleagues.
“My requests and subsequent follow-up calls were usually met with a hollow ‘Let me get back to you,’” she writes.
Today, she says she is working temporary consulting jobs and “struggling to get my career back on track.”
Shortly before filing bankruptcy last year, Beatty was a $102,250-a-year business consultant raising her two daughters in a $375,000 Atlanta townhouse.
The six-figure salary came on top of at least $110,000 Beatty received from her ex-lover's nonprofit, the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, after she resigned in early 2008.
She writes about living in agony about the scandal and damage caused to various people.
“I felt deeply ashamed for the hurt I had caused Kwame’s wife and children,” she writes.
Beatty also writes about lessons learned from the high-profile scandal.
“I’ve learned many things because of this ordeal: I know now that no matter how unhappy you are, you can’t look for your happiness in someone else; you won’t find it there,” Beatty writes. “I’ve also come to understand that while you can’t help how you feel, you are in control of your actions.”