On Wednesday, Kilpatrick launched the website “Friends of Kwame,” which invites supporters to leave messages as well as monetary donations.
“Kwame and his family heard for months that supporters wanted to do more, and now there are three big ways to help: with prayer, with encouraging notes and with financial support,” Kilpatrick’s spokesman, Mike Paul, said in a press release.
The website accepts all major credit cards as well as PayPal.
Kilpatrick’s need for donations stems from his 2008 conviction on obstruction of justice charges in connection with a whistle-blower case brought by two Detroit police officers. The officers were abruptly fired for investigating the death of a female stripper who was said to have performed at a wild party at Kilpatrick’s mansion.
In his testimony, Kilpatrick denied he was having an extramarital affair with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, but afterward the Detroit Free Press uncovered thousands of salacious text messages between the couple, which showed otherwise.
Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to making false statements, resigned as mayor and served 99 days in jail. As part of his plea, he was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution to the city.
“Before anyone even asks [if] some of the funds received from friends and supporters of former Mayor Kilpatrick from across the U.S. and beyond [will] be used to pay restitution payments to the City of Detroit, the answer is yes,” Paul wrote on the website. “We will follow the legal guidelines for Mr. Kilpatrick’s probation.”
The announcement of the website, as well as support groups on Facebook and Twitter, was met with outrage from many Detroit residents, especially given reports that upon leaving prison, Kilpatrick moved his family into a $1 million home in an affluent suburb of Dallas.
“Kwame is accepting donations via PayPal,” a person identifying herself as CrazyTammy wrote on the Detroit Free Press’ comment section. “Each donation transaction costs him 30 cents. PayPal allows you to donate a penny. Ha-ha! I just cost Kwame 29 cents. … Think I’ll do it a few more times.”
“You would have to be really dumb to send this thug any money,” a reader named Silvano added.
Positive comments about Kilpatrick’s plea for funds could not be located.
Kilpatrick had claimed to prosecutors that he was broke, and Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner ruled on April 20 that he violated the terms of his parole regarding payment of the restitution. The former mayor will be sentenced in the matter on May 25, NPR reports, and faces the prospect of returning to prison.