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Kilpatrick paying state back - $500 at a time

4:16 PM, May 1, 2012   |    comments
Detroit Free Press file photo of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
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DETROIT (Det. free Press) -- Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick got an important bill paid, just in the nick of time: his first $500 restitution payment.

According to Michigan Department of Corrections Spokesman Russ Marlan, Kilpatrick made his first newer and higher payment of $500 online, and it posted Monday. He had until the last day in April - which was Monday -- to make the payment.

The Michigan parole board increased Kilpatrick's restitution in March from $160 to $500 a month, concluding he could afford to pay a lot more than he had been. Kilpatrick, for example, had been paying more than $314 a month for cable -- nearly double his restitution payment -- which raised eyebrows on the parole board.

"We're very pleased that he paid the new amount of $500," Marlan said today, noting that Kilpatrick's restitution could be raised again. "It certainly could - depending on if his income status changes."

Kilpatrick still owes $858,722.80 in restitution for lying about an affair with his aide during a police whistle-blower lawsuit that cost the city $8.4 million. Kilpatrick's testimony was contradicted by text messages published by the Free Press, triggering criminal charges and his eventual resignation.

At $500 a month, it will take Kilpatrick more than 143 years to pay his restitution.

The new restitution figure came amid concerns that Kilpatrick was hiding assets and living large.

In December, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy wrote a letter to the parole board requesting that Kilpatrick's restitution be increased to $1,000 a month, citing a lavish lifestyle and claiming Kilpatrick was "hiding assets."

In August, Kilpatrick, his wife and three sons moved into a 5,016-square-foot home valued at $338,400 in Grand Prairie, Texas. The home is bigger than the Manoogian Mansion and is an upgrade from the Texas home the Kilpatricks were previously living in -- a 3,588-square-foot home valued at $235,000.

In her letter, Worthy wrote that Kilpatrick claims to earn $3,750 a month, pays $2,600 a month in rent and more than $800 a month for a car. Worthy also wrote that Kilpatrick is spending almost $2,000 more than he's making.

According to Marlan, the parole board also was troubled by the fact that Kilpatrick's former lover and chief of staff, Christine Beatty, was paying $500 a month in restitution for her role in the text message scandal.

The parole board also ordered Kilpatrick to perform community service every month for 16 hours and provide a monthly list of his expenses and income.

His book sales also are being scrutinized. Under the new parole conditions, Kilpatrick is required to disclose the gross sales and any proceeds from his book, "Surrendered: The Rise, Fall and Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick."

Meanwhile, Kilpatrick and three others, including his father, are facing numerous criminal charges in a federal racketeering case. They are charged with running a criminal enterprise through the mayor's office to enrich themselves. The case is set to go to trial in September.

Kilpatrick's lawyer Daniel Hajji was not readily available for comment, but in the past has said that his client is committed to paying off his restitution.

Hajji also has also noted that there's a pending appeal of the restitution order, and it remains to be seen if the increased payments will create a hardship for the Kilpatrick family.

"He has an obligation not only to the restitution, but also to family and his children -- an obligation as their father," Hajji told the Free Press in March.

By Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

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