Kwame Kilpatrick loses bid to shed $1.5M bill from Detroit

Robert Snell
The Detroit News
Kwame Kilpatrick

Detroit — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick lost another chance Friday to avoid paying $1.5 million restitution to the city’s water department stemming from the City Hall corruption scandal.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower-court order requiring the former mayor to pay the amount, which is one of the largest bills awaiting Kilpatrick, 48, once he is released from federal prison in August 2037.

The restitution is one of the lingering issues stemming from the landmark trial that ended in 2013  with Kilpatrick convicted of running a criminal enterprise out of City Hall that included steering rigged water and sewer contracts to buddy Bobby Ferguson.

The city's Water and Sewerage Department is entitled to the restitution because Kilpatrick and others manipulated the bidding process for a water contract and cost the city an additional $1.5 million, the panel concluded.

The $1.5 million restitution bill is a 67 percent break from the $4.5 million U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds ordered following Kilpatrick’s trial in 2013.

The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals threw out the $4.5 million figure and told Edmunds to recalculate the restitution amount. Edmunds set the new figure and Kilpatrick appealed.

Upon release, Kilpatrick will owe more than $11.7 million to a list of creditors that includes the city, Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and businessman Dan Gilbert.

Collecting could be difficult.

Kilpatrick, who has asked President Donald Trump to commute the 28-year prison sentence, claimed he was broke before being convicted of racketeering conspiracy in 2013 and recently said he had 96 cents in his prison commissary account. 

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