By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (1270 Talk Radio) Exactly 25 years ago, a teen gangster with a baby face was arrested after years of cooperating with the F.B.I and Detroit police as an informant who helped send upwards of 14 people to prison.
Richard Wershe, 42, aka White Boy Rick, revealed an unusual affiliation during an exclusive interview Tuesday on the Charlie Langton Talk Radio 1270 show from Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee, Mich.
White Boy Rick and Kwame Kilpatrick — They were in jail together, Kilpatrick on a perjury conviction, when the former mayor of Detroit learned he would also face federal corruption charges and his former friends were turning against him.
“I was with him when he was indicted by the government,” Wershe said. “We were in the state facility together and I think he made a phone call and he went outside and his attorney told him, ‘Listen, you’re going to be indicted by the federal government.’
“He came in and he just looked sick. He told me what happened and I said, ‘Dude, you’re in for the fight of your life.'”
Wershe, one of Detroit’s most notorious gangsters, said he gave Kilpatrick some advice.
“Honestly, the advice I gave him was … I knew (the prosecutor) … I told him ‘Kwame, if you’re honest with him, this dude will help you.’ Quite frankly at the time, I just don’t think he knew what he was in for or anything. I don’t think he thought the people would cooperate against him who are cooperating against him.”
They have more in common than that: Kilpatrick’s prison tale is still ongoing, and so is Wershe’s. In White Boy Rick’s case, he’s still behind bars after helping law enforcement crack some of the most notorious drug crimes in Detroit. A model prisoner, he’s been denied bail time after time after he was sentenced to life in prison on drug charges.
He was arrested on the Detroit street where he grew up, with a bag containing $25,000 on his lap. He fled on foot and eight kilos of cocaine found in a house was later tied to him. In jail since then, he’s up for parole again in December.
“I never imagined I would still be sitting here,” he said. “I believe because the misinformation that’s been given to the parole board, the lies … They testified under oath to false testimony, they said I never worked for the government, that I never worked for the Detroit Police Department, that I was this huge drug dealer. I sold drugs for 11 months (after ceasing work as an informant.)
“They’ve turned me into an urban legend.”
Wershe was recruited as a drug informant at 14 years old. After ending his relationship with authorities he continued on in the drug trade, and less than a year later was arrested and portrayed as a teenage drug king pin who ruled Detroit.
He says the portrayal was wrong, he was just a small-time dealer getting by. So, was he railroaded into the federal system? He says “yes.” “They’ve (the F.B.I and police) lied about this for over two decades.”
Many of the people he turned in have already been released, Wershe said, adding that he has three kids, four grandkids and has “never been a part of their life.”
Kid Rock spoke on his behalf at his last parole hearing, which he now thinks was a tactical error. “Some people say it hurt, some people say it helped. I mean, I guess it brought the wrong message and the wrong attention to me,” Wershe said.
He said he and Rock knew each other back in the day and became pretty good friends while he was in prison, but said “they had a little falling out and haven’t talked since.” In 2002-2003, Eminem agreed to play him in a movie, but the deal seemed to fizzle.
What would he do if he’s released? “It’s hard … I’ve been in here 25 years, I mean I want to do something, but actually sitting right here right now, I couldn’t tell you if they told me I could to home tomorrow, truthfully, it would be overwhelming.”
He added that if is ever released, he would not return to his roots. “I feel my life would be in danger if I went back to the city of Detroit … The people that I cooperated against, it’s public record now, they’ve all long since been released. It’s something, I wouldn’t feel comfortable in that area.”
Wershe’s sister Dawn said, “He’s my brother and I love him and I think it’s really a raw deal that he got between the state and the F.B.I… He’s my brother, blood’s thicker than water … It’s a travesty of justice … He was 17 years old… He’s done his time, he’s done more than his time.”