By Betsy Rothstein - 04/30/08 05:24 PM EDT
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is shrouded in a mystery involving mistaken identity and maybe an eighth-grade interloper plus people who, like eyewitnesses to an alien landing, swear they saw a creature whose existence officials deny.
ITK published a non-April Fools’ photograph on April 1 supplied by a source who said it was taken at a 1984 performance of “Little Annie,” at Dwight Rich Middle School in Lansing, Mich. The eight boys dressed as Annie’s bogus mothers include Kwame Kilpatrick (in a low-cut dress), the source said.
Kilpatrick, then about 14, was recently charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. But his spokeswoman, Denise Tolliver, found time to call and insist, “I know what he looked like as a child. This is not the mayor. That is not the mayor. That is not the mayor. This is not him.”
We won’t argue but will point out that the playbill, now in ITK’s hands, includes a list of “Annie’s mothers” with Kilpatrick’s name atop the right-hand column.
Weirdly, another performer recalls being on stage with the boy-who-would-be-mayor. Jim Thomas, now a Chrysler electrician, who was one of the mothers. “Definitely, without a doubt, I can name everyone and it was him,” Thomas said. “I am the cute blond second from the leader [director Michael Crabb] on the right. It was all the athletes. Kwame being the bigger guy, Mr. Crabb thought it would be funny. We all had a great time doing it.”
Incidentally, Crabb, who cast the play, also told ITK that Kilpatrick was one of the boys in drag.
“I thought, How can I produce that scene and have something really funny?” Crabb recalled in a phone interview. “So I got a bunch of the guys who were athletes and well-liked and I got them to dress up as Annie’s phony mothers, and he was one of them … It was a huge, huge success. The audience was laughing. They danced and sang.”
It was such a success that it became a hallmark of Dwight Rich dramas. “Every time we did a production, everyone wanted me to do a scene with the guys doing something silly,” said Crabb. “Magic Johnson was one of the guy performers. One year he was a vampire and then a bumblebee.”
Crabb remembers Kilpatrick fondly. “Kwame, which amazes me, was just a wonderful kid. He was just great … so cool, it’s really sad to see what’s happened.”
Raul Martinez, another former student, now living in Dallas, remembers Kilpatrick’s thespian performance, saying, “Yes, he was one of [Annie’s mothers] … I remember seeing pictures … He was in my science class and they were talking about it the following day.”
Tolliver brushed aside all these accounts, saying late last week, “I showed the picture to the mayor and he says it’s not him. That is not the mayor. Nothing has changed.”
Surely the mayor’s mom would resolve this mystery. She’d either have fond memories of her son’s childhood theatrics or would expose the fiction and the creeps who made it up — right?
Sadly not. ITK sought comment from the mayor’s mother, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), twice in person through formal requests off the House floor and several times through her spokeswoman, but it seems she is far too busy as head of the Congressional Black Caucus to spare time for such trivia. Whatever the reason, questions about her son hit a wall of silence.
Clyburn aide’s father delivers floor prayer
It pays to have friends in high places, especially if you’re a preacher whose daughter works for the third most powerful person in Congress — House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
On Tuesday morning, Dr. William Lloyd Birch, an ordained minister from Clyburn’s district in Florence, S.C. — and father to longtime Clyburn aide Lindy Birch — delivered the morning prayer.
In it, Birch spoke of temptation, an apt topic for Capitol Hill.
“We are tempted and so often we succumb to these temptations,” Birch said in his prayer. “We put ourselves before others; we fail to show our brothers and sisters the love you want us to demonstrate by the quality of our lives. As we face this day, help us to be honest, unselfish, compassionate people.”
Rep. Cannon’s office gets deluged with strange calls
Rep. Chris Cannon’s (R-Utah) D.C. office is getting barraged with phone calls. We’re talking 50 to 75 calls in a two-day span. The caller is a recorded female voice that says, “Your union supports Cazayoux for Congress,” referring to Democratic state Rep. Don Cazayoux.
The funny thing is, Cazayoux is running in Louisiana, in a special election this Saturday to replace Rep. Richard Baker (R), who resigned in February. He faces GOP newspaper publisher Woody Jenkins.
Fred Piccolo, Cannon’s spokesman, is clearly growing tired of the calls.
“It’s driving everyone nuts,” Piccolo says. “After receiving the 40th robo-call I wanted to throw my compostable, biodegradable, socially conscious, sustainable, vegan, carbon-neutral, free-range, organic, renewable knife through the wall. But, instead, we just chalked it up to the DCCC’s [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s] overriding fear of Chris Cannon.”
The Cazayoux campaign was unaware of the calls. “It’s not coming from the campaign so we don’t know what’s going on there,” said Natalie Naquin, Cazayoux’s press secretary.
Kyra Jennings, a DCCC spokeswoman, did not return calls by press time.