By Jim Schaefer
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer
If tradition holds, billionaire businessman Manuel (Matty) Moroun and his chief deputy will be held in two special cells at the Wayne County Jail reserved for VIPS – one of them formerly occupied by former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Jail officials could not be immediately reached today, but history indicates Moroun and Dan Stamper would be kept out of the jail’s general population for their own safety and health. Moroun is 84.
The VIP cells, nearly identical, are set off in a corner of the jail’s second floor, past the medical section where other inmates visit and down a long corridor.
Past occupants include Dr. Death and White Boy Rick, but a tour of the cells just before Kilpatrick’s sentencing for his text message crimes in 2008 revealed no signs of the occupancy of either Jack Kevorkian or drug kingpin Richard Wershe.
There was, however, evidence of less notorious guests: Bam-Bam. Repo. Little Dee. Crew Dad. Those names were etched on a tiny bathroom mirror in the cell Kilpatrick later called home for four months.
There were other words scratched into the reflection of the shoebox-sized mirror, such as “CRIPS” and “S.L.O.B.” And this: “Pray.”
The VIP cells, which are adjacent, are formed of concrete blocks and heavy steel doors. Kilpatrick’s was painted a light cream.
If Moroun and Stamper wind up there instead of with the general population, it’s for good reason.
Before Kilpatrick’s sentencing, then-Sheriff Warren Evans said high-profile inmates like Kilpatrick draw too much attention.
“Nobody’s ambivalent about them,” Evans said. “You either love them or hate them … because of that, we segregate.”
At 15 feet by 10 feet, the cells are roughly twice the size of a normal one. The cell that housed Kilpatrick had one bed, with rails like a hospital gurney, and the mattress was thin and rubber-coated.
Otherwise, the room had a tiny table and a plastic blue chair for reading, and a generous number of windows by jail standards. The three vertical glass slits offer a good view of the south side of the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, which houses Wayne County Circuit Court.
Kilpatrick’s cell, 14J-4, has a second, smaller room with a shower and a toilet. A push of the shower’s button delivered a thin spray of lukewarm water. There is no door for privacy.
Kilpatrick, who spent the winter there, ordered two size-XXXL pairs of long johns from the jail store, presumably because of the cold.
There was a pay phone on the wall of the cell. Calls made on it are recorded, under jail procedure. The phone has only a one-foot cord to the earpiece, presumably to keep prisoners from hanging themselves.
Depending on how long their stay will be, Moroun and Stamper might want to request a TV. Kilpatrick was allowed to bring one in.
Still, it’s “no country club, ” Evans once said. “It’s not anything anyone wants to come back to.”
If past practice holds, Moroun and Stamper will eat what everyone else eats, and they can buy chips and candy from the commissary if someone deposits money for them to spend.
Jeriel Heard, who oversaw jail operations during Kilpatrick’s stay, once characterized the jail food as from “the food pyramid. These are human beings.”
But it’s no place to be fussy. “In jail, if you’re hungry, you’re going to eat what you’re given,” he said.