(WXYZ) - Women helped launch former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s rise in politics and in turn, he helped spur their fall.
From his mother to his mistress, his sister to a close friend, Kilpatrick’s misdeeds helped stain a slew of promising futures well beyond just his own.
Many believe his political career is traced back to his father Bernard, but it was actually Kilpatrick’s mother Carolyn who exposed her son to politics: going door to door with 6-year-old son Kwame to pass out her campaign literature.
In his plea for a lighter prison sentence, Kilpatrick’s lawyer wrote that his client “still remembers sitting on his mother’s lap during her first swearing-in ceremony.”
Kilpatrick watched his mother serve 18 years in the state house, and then 7 terms in Congress. But it was his high-profile antics, he admitted to a radio reporter last year, that denied her an 8th.
“ She lost that race because of her son. To lay in a prison bunk listening to the result from that night, and to hear what I caused my mother…was as painful as talking to my children the day I had to tell them about messing up on the affair,” said Kwame Kilpatrick.
That affair was with chief-of-staff Christine Beatty, one of Kilpatrick’s biggest defenders.
Beatty was a lightning rod in the city who famously asked a cop that pulled her over, “Do you know who I am?”
Well here’s who she is today: bankrupt, without a steady job and afraid to show her face in Detroit. She’s been living in Atlanta since serving a 69-day jail sentence for lying under oath about her affair with Kilpatrick. And just today, she broke 5 years of silence in an essay written for Essence Magazine.
In the aftermath of transgressions, she wrote, “…we often give men the chance to rebuild their careers…Women are stuck with the labels: home wrecker, opportunity, mistress, whore. Men are forgiven; women are punished.”
Maybe no woman was punished more by Kilpatrick than his wife Carlita. She was left to raise three children on her own during her husband’s five stints behind bars.
But she benefitted from his misdeeds, too: like enjoying a new Lincoln Navigator paid for by the City, and going on free vacations paid out of the non-profit Kilpatrick Civic Fund, supposed to help city children. Those scandals made it harder for Carlita to find work, and his sister Ayanna, too. She was a board member on the Civic Fund, and last year said she was broke, unable to find a steady job.
And Kwame Kilpatrick had plenty of other women. Carmen Slowski was the mystery woman he shared a romantic bubble bath with in North Carolina days before the text-message scandal broke. And those messages, released by the county prosecutor in 2009, show he juggled more than just a few others.
"Can't get you out of my system,” he told Ebony. “Need some love and affection," he told Alexis. And to Kebina: "I'm rushing to see you Baby!"
Sheryl Robinson-Wood got texts, too--and they nearly cost her her livelihood. The attorney was appointed as Detroit Police monitor, overseeing the scandal plagued department. But while she was on the job, she had what she called a “brief, intimate encounter” with Kilpatrick.
When city officials found out, she was booted from her job and ultimately censured.
So, perhaps it was fitting that Kilpatrick’s sentence today was handed down by Judge Nancy Edmunds. Edmunds is one of the Eastern District’s few female judges.
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