- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 29, 2003

DETROIT, Jan. 29 (UPI) — A Detroit city councilwoman said someone tampered with the electrical wires in her chair in such a way that she would either be shocked or the chair would catch fire when a massage was turned on.

Councilwoman Sharon McPhail said she has no proof but she believes either Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick or his supporters were involved. Police were investigating.

"This is clearly an attempt to undermine me and attack me because they don't like what I'm doing," McPhail told WDIV-TV, Detroit, late Tuesday.

McPhail said she has been subjected to harassment from Kilpatrick's office, likely, she said, because of speculation she will challenge him in the next mayoral election.

"I think Sharon really needs to get some help right now," Kilpatrick said, denying he had any part in the incident. "This is a serious accusation and it's ridiculous. Nobody down here not only had anything to do with it, but better stated is I think those people out there that really love Sharon McPhail, all of us, her family and friends, really need to wrap our arms around her."

McPhail said someone snipped the wires on a seat cushion massager and wrapped them around the chair's metal base. She said she noticed it during an afternoon meeting.

"I was trying to move the chair forward, and it wouldn't move," McPhail told WXYZ-TV, Detroit. "We found, underneath, these wires wrapped around the metal base of the chair, they'd been cut."

McPhail said she was surprised "anybody would do something like that."

"And I didn't even think anything of it until my staff member called security and they came down and they said somebody did this on purpose. This isn't an accident," she said.

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