By: Samantha Bankey
I was born and raised in Romulus, a suburb just outside of Detroit. If you follow the news at all, I’m sure you already know all about the corruption trials of Kwame Kilpatrick, the ex-mayor of Detroit. If not, do a quick Google search and you’ll learn all about the drama.
On Monday morning, I sat on the couch anxiously waiting to hear the verdict of Kilpatrick. I’m definitely not immersed in politics (I’m not even registered to vote), but I, like many in the area, am ready to see this man get locked up. In my opinion, he is a huge reason the city is in such a huge financial crisis and why it’s turned into such a terrible place to be.
Kilpatrick was found guilty of 24 charges, including:
- Racketeering conspiracy
- Extortion (7 counts)
- Bribery ($90,000) (no consensus, but stay tuned!)
- Mail fraud (11 counts)
- Wire fraud
- False tax returns (5 counts)
- Income Tax Evasion
As I listened to the news, all I could think about is how public relations plays into this history-making event. Was a publicist present in Kwame’s cabinet? When doing a Google search of “Kwame Kilpatrick publicist,” nothing even comes about that’s relevant to public relations. But if he did have one, what would they say? How would this story change from the get-go if he had that counsel? What would they be saying today?
As Kilpatrick left the courthouse Monday, in utter shock and close to tears, he responded with the classic “no comment” statement. I know crisis communications is incredibly important in the world of not just PR, but politics as well, but what could you possibly say as a publicist to reporters? After listening to the news, the total of Kilpatrick’s charges could amount to nearly half a century in jail (with maximum time on each count). He was also forced by the judge to stay in jail until the sentencing with one of his longtime friends Bobby Ferguson, who was convicted of nine crimes in court the same day.
Just when we all thought that working for BP, Tiger Woods, Carnival Cruise, or Burger King on their crisis teams would be bad, we should all count our blessings. At least we don’t work for Kwame.