Kilpatrick Returning To Detroit Monday

DETROIT — The city of Detroit can’t afford to store deleted e-mails longer than a week, a high-tech manager testified Wednesday at a hearing to learn why ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s old e-mails can’t be found.

Information technology manager Terrance Sims said he couldn’t find any e-mails dated before 2006 when he checked Kilpatrick’s account.

E-mails and the city’s aging computer system are under scrutiny in a civil lawsuit filed by the family of a slain stripper, Tamara Greene. Lawyers who accuse Kilpatrick of squelching the murder investigation want his e-mails from 2002 and 2003, but the city says it doesn’t have them.

“Once it’s purged off the system, it’s purged. . We’ve never backed up our e-mail,” said Sims, who manages the system at City Hall.

He said e-mails can overload Detroit’s computer servers and the city can’t afford to make major upgrades.

Kilpatrick resigned in 2008 amid a scandal involving text messages and an affair with his chief of staff. He’s in prison for violating probation in a criminal case that drove him from office.

U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen is trying to determine whether the city should be penalized for not producing the e-mails.

It’s possible the e-mails could have been stored on Kilpatrick’s computer but they have disappeared.

Kilpatrick insists he left his computer for his successor. In an affidavit, he said he didn’t know how to save e-mails and usually deleted them.

The man who took over the mayoral position, Ken Cockrel, said he never saw a computer in the mayor’s office.

“I don’t recall there even being a computer in the mayor’s personal office,” Cockrel said.

Whalen has ordered Kilpatrick to testify Monday.

Lawyers for Greene’s family are hunting for any evidence that Kilpatrick directed police to put the brakes on her murder investigation. Witnesses have said she danced in 2002 at the mayoral mansion but Kilpatrick and others strongly deny it.

Authorities say Greene was killed in a drive-by shooting while in a car with a drug dealer. They have a suspect but don’t have enough evidence to charge him. He’s in prison in another case.

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