- The Washington Times - Friday, February 29, 2008

DETROIT — Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s “techno-sexual” scandal prompted a city council panel last night to request that he step aside, after sealed documents made public this week contradicted his sworn testimony about an adulterous affair in a multimillion-dollar whistleblower case.

The council’s three-member Internal Operations Standing Committee last night unanimously passed a resolution asking the mayor to resign over the scandal surrounding him and an aide with whom he was having an affair. The full council is expected to vote on the resolution Tuesday.

The resolution, introduced by Councilman Kwame Kenyatta, says that if Mr. Kilpatrick ignores its call to resign, the city council should get a special counsel to research whether the city charter’s forfeiture provision can force the mayor out.

Mr. Kilpatrick also may face felony perjury charges in a cover-up that has rocked cash-strapped and blight-ridden Motown, named the worst in the nation by Forbes magazine and that had produced numerous calls for his resignation even before last night’s vote.

“Just Go,” screamed the headline in the Metro Times, a widely circulated city tabloid, which in an editorial called for Mr. Kilpatrick to leave before he further damages a once-proud city already in dire straits.

“It’s over and if he truly loved this city, he would resign,” says longtime Detroit political consultant Sam Riddle, who is dismayed by what he describes as the mayor’s “institutional arrogance.”

The furor centers on the firing of two Detroit police officers, who filed wrongful-dismissal lawsuits that the city settled for $8.4 million.

The officers said they were forced out when they tried to investigate Mr. Kilpatrick’s use of his security detail to cover up his affair with Chief of Staff Christine Beatty. Besides such a misuse of city personnel, the nub of the cover-up charge against the mayor is that he settled the lawsuit, after initial refusals, only to get a confidentiality agreement that would prevent details of the affair becoming public.

In the ex-officers’ lawsuit, both Mrs. Beatty and Mr. Kilpatrick denied under oath having a physical relationship. The settlement was also reached without the knowledge of the city council.

Despite public outcry urging Mr. Kilpatrick, a 37-year-old lawyer and married father of three, to step down gracefully, he stood firm yesterday morning. He appeared live on Detroit radio to say he would not leave office.

When questioned during morning talk radio appearances on WWJ-AM and “The Paul W. Smith Show” on WJR-AM about his possible resignation, an emotional Mr. Kilpatrick, the son of a six-term Michigan congresswoman, shot back: “Absolutely not. I don’t understand when people say ‘resign.’ ”

He also kept the focus on his own personal losses, rather than what his dishonesty had cost the city — both financially and politically — saying “It’s been a tremendously emotional process for me. I haven’t cried this much since I was a baby.”

Details of the police officers’ lawsuit talks were released yesterday after the state’s Supreme Court unanimously denied Mr. Kilpatrick’s appeal of lower-court decisions agreeing that the Freedom of Information laws required the city to turn over the records to Detroit media outlets.

Others think Mr. Kilpatrick is deluded about his ongoing ability to lead the city rocked by the housing foreclosure crunch, suburban flight, a 32 percent high school graduation rate and a budget crisis, after he lied to the city council about his side deal to quash sexually charged and often explicit text messages he sent his married lover, and a settlement that he mediated without its knowledge.

“What is missing from this guy’s vocabulary is the word ‘shame,’ ” says Bill Ballenger, a Lansing-based political analyst who publishes the newsletter “Inside Michigan Politics.”

“He’ll stay in and fight and he’ll use the taxpayer’s money, the city attorneys to fight his case, pay for his legal bills and I think it’s going to drag out and get ugly.”

Kym Worthy, the Wayne County prosecutor, is investigating the scandal and expects to have a decision on possible perjury charges by mid-March.

Mr. Kilpatrick’s office dismissed Wednesday’s release of the documents, saying there was nothing new contained in them. They released no further statements after his appearances on radio yesterday.

But Mr. Riddle, who supported the mayor’s election, was left musing over the lost possibility of Mr. Kilpatrick as a national leader.

“It’s very painful to watch a guy who could have been Obama before Obama go down because of a keyboard and lack of moral fiber. He is subjecting the city to a form of political and judicial waterboarding as he tries to delay the inevitable.”

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