Kilpatrick Speaks From Jail: New Memoir Details Political Downfall

June 6, 2011  |  

Kwame Kilpatrick, the former mayor of Detroit, recently spoke to The Associated Press in humbled tones about the impending release of his new book. “Surrendered! The Rise, Fall and Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick,” a dramatic memoir of redemption, is set to be released on August 1. It promises to explain Kilpatrick’s side of his political undoing, and how it impacted his personal life. Still behind bars, Kwame explained to AP via a phone interview how the horrors of jail have brought out his skills as a “teacher.”

“I went from meeting with presidents and world leaders to sitting in the hole, being handcuffed taken to the shower,” Kilpatrick said. “And it was in that womb … that ‘Surrendered’ was born. It was an opportunity for me wanting to say ‘I’m sorry’ to myself and to all the people that I hurt, and then learn how to forgive myself enough so I can start fighting back to be the husband, the father and the man that I believe God wanted me to be.”

A Michigan parole board last month did not decide if Kilpatrick will be released when he’s eligible in late July. He also faces federal corruption charges.

When he is once again free, Kilpatrick said his plans include public speaking, consulting and running other people’s political campaigns. They do not include a return to elected office.

Kwame Kilpatrick has been spending his bid working out, playing sports and tutoring other inmates. While this sounds somewhat idyllic, he also noted that “This shouldn’t be a place where people whimsically, politically send you to exercise some kind of point.” Kilpatrick made keen reference to witnessing extreme violence in jail to underscore other statements suggesting he shouldn’t be there.

This is disturbing. As the mayor of Detroit, Kilpatrick lied under oath and wasted the resources of a bankrupted city. Jail is the place for all of society’s offenders, even white collar criminals. Kwame is not in jail “to exercise some kind of point.” He is there because he lied and stole.  Does he get it yet?

To this point, Kilpatrick told AP: “Yes, I broke the law. Yes, I shouldn’t have done it. I’m overcome with sorrow from the hurt and pain that I’ve caused my wife and family by it. What happened after that was a snowball campaign into all types of things that are totally unrelated to me.”

Then who is it related to? It’s great that Kwame has had time to do some soul searching. Kudos to Kilpatrick for capitalizing off his stint with a new book. Despite these achievements, he has failed to develop true remorse. If Kwame can’t see that he is 100% responsible for where his dishonest acts have landed him, he is not in a position to sell his perspective on anything. Now about that consulting career.

Integrity is one of the most important qualities in a business leader. Clients count on consultants to be honest with them, and for good judgement. The first step in good judgement is the capacity to be honest with yourself, about yourself. If after a year in jail Kwame Kilpatrick has the gumption to blame others for his circumstances, he needs more time inside those walls to  get a clear self-image.

Good thing his parole has yet to be approved.



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