Now this is a novel case. Disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (and current Compuware worker in Texas) has sued lawyer Mike Stefani who leaked steamy text messages to a newspaper — ultimately ensnaring Kilpatrick in the scandal that led to his criminal conviction.
Kilpatrick insists that the Stefani violated a confidentiality agreement requiring him to turn over the text messages in exchange for settlement of a whistleblower suit that he had brought.
While many will scratch their head at the chutzpah in suing someone for revealing your own misconduct, Kilpatrick has never been timid in seeking obscene or obnoxious relief in Court, such as his recent effort to lower his monthly payments after he moved into a mansion in Texas claiming to strapped for cash, here.
Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the whistleblower case and served 120 days in jail for his criminal conduct in the scandal — a light punishment that the court may now regret given his obvious lack of contrition and judgment.
Stefani has admitted to giving the text messages to the Free Press for “safekeeping.” Kilpatrick’s lawyer insists that any damages will go to the city and that Kilpatrick “doesn’t want a penny.” That appears to be the first penny that Kilpatrick did not want.
The problem remains the propriety of Kilpatrick suing over revealing his own misdeeds and asking $2.66 million for breach.
Stephani represented three former Detroit officers in a case settled for $8.4 million — just a fraction of the money Kilpatrick cost the struggling city during his ruinous tenure. Stefani signed the confidentiality agreement in November 2007.
It is a bit bizarre for this disgraced and discredited mayor to sue on behalf of the city — particularly because the disclosure saved the city the burden of having a dishonest and scandalous mayor in office. He is likely to argue that the privilege belongs to him and thus requires him to be the one to sue. However, the case with the officers was against the city — as the confidentiality agreement was with the city in exchange for a city-funded settlement.
Stefani is himself facing serious allegations before a discipline board, including allegations of perjury. Thus, there is no need for Kilpatrick’s action to address the disclosure and this is a matter which should be left to the city — which may view the possible breach as having certain positive benefits for the people of Detroit.
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