Blaming former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is usually a pretty solid strategy. The man was corrupt as hell, and chances are, if you’re blaming him, the charges have some merit. But the entire idea to shift blame onto him works if, and only if, you had no direct link to the wrongdoing in question.
Enter Vincent Mercado. He was the man that ran the municipal Detroit Water and Sewerage Department until he resigned in 2008 in order to avoid the maelstrom of allegations that was then beginning to envelop embattled Kilpatrick, who ultimately went to jail on corruption charges. Mercado took another comparable job in Texas, one from which he has subsequently been fired following allegations of wrongdoing in Detroit. He’s suing his former Texas employers for wrongful termination, claiming a year’s worth of salary.
Mercado’s argument: He wasn’t corrupt. He was the only official in the municipal government who wasn’t treating the city coffers as a personal ATM, lining both his own pockets and those of his family. His argument works, if, and only if you’re willing to totally suspend your ideas regarding logic and accountability. Given the track record of public officials who headed governmental bodies in the city from the Kilpatrick era, finding one who wasn’t corrupt would be akin to finding a unicorn in the parking lot of Meijers. It’s just not going to happen. But, it’s interesting, that three years after the scandal took place, we’re still uncovering cases of corruption and fallout from Kilpatrick & Co. I have no doubt that we’ll continue to uncover them for some time to come.