Rolling Out

Black mayors accused of corruption

Bad Mayors
Sharpe James, Marion Barry, Bill Campbell, Kwame Kilpatrick

With jury selection underway in the  trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, black mayors in major cities  are always faced with the shadow of corruption. The political machine does not work the same for black mayors who are under more scrutiny. Here is a reminder of  big city black mayors who have served time or are in currently in jail.

James L. Usry- Mayor of Atlantic City, NJ.

On July 28, 1989 Usry was arrested along with over a dozen officials for bribery, conspiracy, unlawful gifts and official misconduct. Usry pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds and performed 60 hours of community service. All other charges were dropped.

Sharpe James- Mayor of Newark, NJ.

On April 16, 2008 James was convicted by a federal jury for rigging the sale of city real estate to his mistress, Tamika Riley. Riley then resold the properties netting hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit, James was sentenced to 2 years in federal prison and was released on April 6, 2010.

Marion Barry- Mayor of Washington, DC.

Perhaps one of the most infamous mayors arrested was Marion Barry. Barry was videotaped in a sting operation smoking crack with his then girlfriend Hazel Diane “Rasheeda” Moore who was acting as an informant. Charged with crack cocaine use and possession Barry was quoted as saying, “Bitch set me up…shouldn’t have come up here…goddamn bitch”. In the end Barry was charged with three felonies, 10 counts of drug possession and misdemeanor possession of crack cocaine. Barry was convicted of only one possession attempt as the judge declared a mistrial on the other charges.

Bill Campbell-Mayor of Atlanta, GA.

In August of 2004 Campbell was indicted on federal charges of racketeering, bribery and wire fraud after a five year federal investigation. He was convicted on March 10, 2006 on three counts of tax evasion and sentenced to 30 months in prison, a $6,000 fine, a years’ probation and had to pay back $60,000 in back taxes. He was released from prison on October 24, 2008.

Kwame Kilpatrick-Mayor of Detroit, Mi.

Kilpatrick’s term as mayor of Detroit was riddled with scandal. Many critics blamed his criminal activity and greed for the bankruptcy of the city. On March 11, 2013 Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 federal felony counts which included mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering. In a controversial sentencing decision Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison on October 10, 2013.

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