While working for McNamara, the News reported, Kilpatrick was active in political campaigns, including Jennifer Granholm's run for governor in 2002 and his son's mayoral bid in 2001. He left his county job shortly after Kwame took office, to form the consulting group Maestro Associates LLC.
Around the same time, a longtime acquaintance told the News, the senior Kilpatrick "began wearing furs, big hats, and diamond Rolex watches." The acquaintance got the impression that Bernard wanted "to be known as the top street guy. He wanted to be Don Corleone. It was the power. He was living vicariously through the mayor."
But Kilpatrick had a gambling problem, and he has battled financial problems since his son's conviction and resignation in 2008. Text messages released by prosecutors in that year showed him frequently discussing city contracts with his son. The FBI subsequently tapped his home and cell phones and made video and audio recordings of his meetings with informants.