I have a rather peculiar pre-Ash Wednesday tradition. I like to take my imaginary confectionary friend, Paczki the paczek, on tours of Detroit.
What? As a journalistic gimmick for covering Paczki Day, this beats standing outside Hamtramck bakeries to ask the peasants why they are lined up to purchase doughnuts at 6:00 AM. I know, I know, paczki aren't doughnuts. They are lard-based ethnic pastries that, sorry can't do it, paczki=doughnut. Deal with it.
Anyway, back in 2011, when I was writing for a different employer that shall not be named, I took Paczki on a ruins tour. Last year we visited sites of Detroit's rebirth, which is totally going to happen any day now. For Fat Tuesday 2013, my colleague Lauren Ann Davies and I decided to take Paczki to visit the landmarks of Detroit's recent corruption scandals.
Join us, won't you, for this year's Pictures Of A Doughnut Looking At Things Tour. -- JTW
After picking up Paczki at the New Martha Washington Bakery in Hamtramck, we visited the Manoogian Mansion. Carlita Kilpatrick was alleged to have walked in on a wild stripper party here and (allegedly) beaned a dancer with (depending on the version of the story you've heard) a lamp or baseball bat or a table leg. The party probably never happened, but the legend remains integral to Kwame Kilpatrick's legend.
Paczki was not taunting the Detroit Police here. He just wanted to see where Gary Brown worked before Kwame Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty fired the current City Councilman and former deputy chief for doing his job.
Here we are outside the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, where Kwame Kilpatrick admitted to committing perjury in the Gary Brown civil suit. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail (across the alley in the Wayne County Jail), five years of probation, and ordered to pay $1,000,000 in restitution. That's something he hasn't done in a timely manner because the judge sent him back inside for 14 more months for not paying up in good faith.
Paczki in the barbershop in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building's basement, where the feds say Bernard Kilpatrick (allegedly) received payoffs and bribes and such. By the way, if you've never been in the basement and CAYMAC, go check it out. It's like a time capsule with sea green tile and weird fluorescent lighting. Wes Anderson could shoot an entire movie down there.
Here he is outside Santorini, formerly Mosaic. When this space was Mosaic, Monica Conyers apparently skipped out on paying the tab while shaking down the restaurant's owners, the Pappas family, for thousands of dollars to support their gross toxic waste well. Completely unrelated, John Conyers renounced his prior opposition and supported the Pappas well.
Speaking of Monica Conyers and waste disposal, here is Paczki inside Mr. Fish. Monica was supposed to have received bribes from the Synagro sludge hauling concern in the parking lot of this you buy/we fry joint.
And here is Paczki outside Soave Enterprises. According to testimony in the Kilpatrick Enterprise case, legitimate businessman Tony Soave gave all kinds of money and free plane rides to Kwame in exchange for lucrative public contracts.
Paczki carefully inspected the former headquarters of Bobby Ferguson's Ferguson Enterprises. We had hoped to go inside and see if the feds maybe overlooked any safes full of Bobby's cash. Sadly, the place was locked up tight.
Paczki checks out the Theodore Levin Courthouse where closing arguments are underway in the Kilpatrick Enterprise trial. If they're found guilty of all charges, Kwame, Bernard, and Bobby Ferguson could all end up in jail for decades.