The Top 10 Misbehaving Mayors
5. Marion Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC
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Hey, speaking of drug addicts...
Marion Barry was probably Washington D.C.'s most infamous mayor. He ran the city when the murder rate was so high it was neck-and-neck with Johannesburg and Lebanon. But even that wasn't enough for him to lose his job.
No, Barry had to smoke crack for that to happen. But, of course, it gets better. After he smoked crack, and was thrown out of office, he ran for city council in 1992 and won. And by 1994, Marion Barry was mayor of our nation's capital again, showing just how the good people of DC felt about the scourge of crack in their fair city.
Way to send a message to the community, Marion.
4. Sheila Dixon, Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland
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Luckily for DC, it gets to continue to maintain its God-given right to crap on Baltimore, despite being the home of the Nationals, Wizards, and Redskins, courtesy of Sheila Dixon. By the time you read this, Sheila's probably going to be defending herself in court on corruption charges. It sounds pretty typical until you look at the charges and realize Sheila liked her misappropriated funds primarily in gift cards.
Yep, gift cards. And we're not talking fancy gift cards to places like Godiva and Armani, which wouldn't be caught dead in Baltimore anyway. No, we're talking about gift cards to places like Toys R' Us, Best Buy, and Old Navy. Turns out the good mayor had this tendency to solicit gift cards from the various people who were bribing her as "gifts to the poor" or she would just take gift cards from minor entities like the Baltimore City Housing Department to distribute to the "poor" (by which she meant her staffers and herself).
Geez, isn't she a politician? Can't she just vote herself and her friends a pay raise?
3. Sharpe James, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
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First of all, Sharpe James is an absolutely awesome name. We are in awe of how awesome that name is. Unfortunately, it's attached to somebody from Newark, so you know this isn't going to end well.
Everybody expects mayors to take little "favors" on the side, but Sharpe (we just have to call him by his first name) took more than just favors, he pretty much tried to take everything that wasn't nailed down. Pretty much everything he did that cost him money he billed the city of Newark for, including his vacations. He even sold city land to his girlfriend at a pretty cheap rate: $46,000 for land she resold for $700,000. Not bad, even if you did have to...ahem...do some public service to get it.
Did we mention that he had an annual salary of $200,000? Which is more than the governor? Of 49 states? Or that in addition to serving as mayor, he was also a state senator?
2. Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles, California
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Sex scandals and politicians just go together naturally, like Gary Busey and cocaine. So it's probably no surprise that Villaraigosa was caught out sleeping with a woman who wasn't his wife. Where it gets unique is in the details.
You see, Villaragosa wasn't sleeping with some intern, or a society wife you've never heard of. No, he was bumping uglies with a popular news anchor named Mirthala Salinas. Two people constantly in the public eye cheating on their spouses? What could possibly go wrong?
Plenty. But after getting divorced and dealing with the public fallout, Villaraigosa learned his lesson about highly public relation -- oh, wait, he didn't, he's currently banging news anchor Lu Parker. What is it with this guy? Does he have a newscaster fetish?
1. Kwame Kilpatrick, Mayor of Detroit, Michigan
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You've probably got a pretty good standard of who's a jerk and who isn't. Michael Vick? Jerk. Kevin Federline? Jerk. But no matter what it is, allow us to introduce you to Kwame Kilpatrick, the man who will redefine jerk for you. The man the Washington DC police won't guard if he's not in the city on mayoral business. That's right, hardened cops would rather raid crack dens than hang out with Kilpatrick.
Kilpatrick did a lot of fun stuff as mayor: stole city money, beat up cops, hired his buddies, so much so that his friends and family got investigated by the FBI. But nothing tops "the Magoonian Mansion scandal" which turned into a rolling snowball of bad behavior and stupidity that lasted six...freakin'...years. You might want to grab a beer, this is going to take a minute.
The scandal started when Kilpatrick's wife came home to a massive party she didn't know about, and starting beating the crap out of one of the strippers. Said stripper was later killed in a drive-by engineered by, some allege, the Detroit Police Department. What was proved is that the guy who was just trying to do his job wasn't even allowed to look at his own files, which seems kind of weird for the police to be doing over a drive-by shooting they know nothing about. Oh, and the lawyers the city hired to fight the lawsuit? They were paid a $24,950 retainer. Fun fact: anything $25,000 or more the city council has to approve. Another fun fact: when Kilpatrick felt like buying an SUV with Detroit's money, he made sure it cost...$24,995.
Even better was the attempt Kilpatrick made to fire people who were cooperating with an investigation against him over, among other things, that murdered stripper. That breaks the whistleblower law, so they sued, and after they won, Kilpatrick was pissed and appealed. Of course, that appeal suddenly went away, and an extra $2 million was added to the settlement, when it came out the plaintiffs had evidenced Kilpatrick had lied in court.
Oh, and part of the reason we know all this is because Kilpatrick and his chief of staff kept sending each other text messages over it, which their cell providers had to fork over in court.
The climax was his being convicted and shipped off to jail, which was finally the moment he gave up the mayor's office. Of course he's still rotting in -- oh, wait, no, they let him out in February! He even laughed at his sentence of 120 days in jail, and has a well-paying job with a private company in Detroit now.
Then again, he has to live in Detroit. So maybe that's punishment enough.