Shaddows - 5:54 pm on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)
At this stage, I would go ahead and submit the reconsideration request.
You should include the fact YOU are now in charge of the website, that the previous webmaster is out of the picture, and that you have conducted a full review of the site with respect to the Webmaster Guidelines.
Go into specifics of what you have done to check compliance.
If the site really is clean, then you should be released immediately. Otherwise, as someone has already suggested, you may get more specific feedback.
Again, as others say, it is generally a legalistic issue that gets you "banned" - manipulation just gets you nasty penalties. At least, manipulation worthy of a ban should be glaringly obvious.