Bernard Kilpatrick released from federal prison

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's father was released from a Texas federal prison Wednesday after serving almost 10 months for a tax crime.

Bernard Kilpatrick, 73, was transferred to a halfway house after leaving the low-security FCI Seagoville federal prison near Dallas, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. A bureau spokesman would not say where Kilpatrick is living but he is being supervised by officials in Dallas.

His release date is Feb. 6.

"He was in good spirits," said his attorney John Shea. "I'm happy for him and I'm glad that part of this is behind him and he can move on."

Shea was not aware of Kilpatrick having any problems behind bars.

"When you're in that circumstance, you're focused more on getting through it than causing trouble," he said.

Federal law allows inmates to spend the last six months of a sentence in a halfway house.

"That is designed to help in their transition back into public life," spokesman Chris Burke told The News on Thursday. "He is still subject to our rules. If he violates the rules, he can be transferred back."

Kilpatrick can leave the halfway house only for pre-approved trips to the doctor, church and work. Kilpatrick faces a hefty tax bill. As part of his sentence, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds ordered him to pay $62,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

There is nothing preventing him from working in government. He served in Wayne County government with current Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

A onetime chief of staff for former Wayne County Executive Edward McNamara, Kilpatrick was accused of creating a consulting business, Maestro Associates, that would cash in on his son's administration. Trial evidence showed he met regularly with his son and others and numerous city vendors paid him more than $1 million between 2002 and 2007.

"He is not prevented from working in government but that doesn't mean that's what he wants to do," Shea said. "He's got some skills and he's got some sets of institutional knowledge that's unique and if anybody thought they were worth tapping into, I don't know if they he would be willing to listen or not."

Ernest Johnson, a community activist and former Wayne County aide, rules out a Kilpatrick return to county or city government.

"He's radioactive for a government job," Johnson said.

Kilpatrick was sentenced a year ago to 15 months in prison on the tax charge after jurors in the City Hall corruption case failed to reach a consensus about whether he had participated in a racketeering conspiracy headed by his son.

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