I don’t think I’ve written at all about the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal, but suffice it to say that I think he is dispicable. His lies and illegal actions directly cost the city of Detroit a NINE MILLION DOLLAR settlement, money that the city can ill afford. Thinking about it makes my blood boil (as Tim can attest).
Part of Kilpatrick’s eventual sentence included restitution of $1 million, toward which Kilpatrick was ordered to pay $6,000 per month. He has a new job at a division of Compuware, which pays him $10,000 per month (reportedly in addition to a potential annual bonus of more than $100,000).
And now he’s saying that he can only afford to pay $6 per month toward his restitution.
Kilpatrick’s attorney told the Detroit Free Press “I don’t think he was ordered to live a more modest lifestyle … Is it better Mr. Kilpatrick drives a beat-up Yugo?” Yes, as a matter of fact, I think it IS better if he drives a beat-up Yugo instead of a Cadillac Escalade – a high-end SUV that starts at $63,000. Just like everyone else in the country, when your expenses change, you need to adjust your spending – yes, even your lifestyle if necessary – to accomodate that.
Anyway, let’s take a quick look at what he says his expenses are and see if we can do a little trimming for him.
Home lease: $2,700
Here’s a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom townhouse within 5 miles of Southlake, Texas for about $2,000.
Automobile lease: $900
Purchase a Chevy Tahoo (same base vehicle) for $600-$700 per month.
Utilities (water, gas, electricity): $900
I can’t find specifics on utility rates on Texas, but I have to think that with careful budgeting and careful use of resources (i.e. running sprinklers less often) they could save a chunk here – say, $100.
Health insurance: $305
Can’t quibble with this one.
Life insurance: $180
I don’t know enough about life insurance to argue with this one.
Automobile insurance: $400
If he drives a cheaper car, his insurance will go down.
Cell phone: $200
Not sure why they need to spend this much on both land line and cell phone, so we’re going to add one line to their cell phone account and call that their home phone.
Dentist bills: $200
No dental insurance?
This sounds OK for a family of five that includes a big, big guy and two seventh-grade boys.
Miscellaneous (clothing, school costs, personal care, cable TV, Internet): $600
Don’t know the details of “miscellaneous” but surely with good budgeting they can save $50 per month.
Probation administration: $60
Can’t get around this one.
Credit card debt: $400
Can’t get around this one if it refers to payments toward debt he’s already accumulated.
Student loan: $229
Can’t get around this one. (But jeez, how long ago did he graduate from law school? Don’t these have to be paid back within 10 years?)
Income taxes: $2,000
I’m going to add one more thing: A job for Mrs. Kilpatrick. Carlita Kilpatrick is supposedly interested in interior design, so we’ll give her a part-time job at IKEA, where she can work while the kids are in school. Let’s say she works 30 hours a week at $10/hr.
Additional income: $1,000/month
Total savings/additional income: $2,300
Now see, wasn’t that easy? Granted, it’s not the $6,000 that Kilpatrick is supposed to pay, but it would certainly show that he takes this seriously. I can’t believe that any judge would accept his request to reduce his monthly payments based on this list of expenses.
Postscript, 5/9/09: I was extremely pleased to read this on the front page of the Free Press today: “… But (Judge) Groner — who ordered Kilpatrick to make the payments after news reports about his high living after being released from jail in February — wrote in his decision that the former mayor ‘must realize that he is a convicted felon, and will have to balance meeting all the conditions of his probation, including restitution payments, with the lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed.’
‘In other words,’ Groner added, Kilpatrick ‘may not be able to sustain an upper middle class existence while he still owes a debt to society.’ Groner invited Kilpatrick to request a restitution hearing, but Schwartz instead said he would appeal the decision. … “