Blog written by Shawn M. Kahle, APR
In Detroit, there are many urban legends. One began to circulate in 2002.
Then, as the story goes, newly elected Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick enjoyed a lap-dance in Manoogian Mansion the city-owned home he now occupies with his wife and young sons.
A stripper ended up dead in the months that followed and several police officers were terminated when they tried to investigate. Ultimately, the city of Detroit settled with the former officers for more than $9 million when attorney fees were added to the invoice for justice.
During depositions last year, Mayor Kilpatrick was asked many questions — about the storied party and also if he had an affair with his former chief of staff Christine Beatty. He said no, denying the party and the affair.
She rolled her eyes during sworn testimony saying “no” as well.
Let the spin begin!
In Detroit, some stories never end. In January 2008, the Detroit Free Press released copies of text messages substantiating the affair. This week, both Mayor Kilpatrick and Ms. Beatty were charged by the Wayne County prosecutor with a total of 15 counts of perjury and other bad things.
The Detroit City Council called for the Mayor to step down, echoed by editorials in both of the local papers.
What does the hip-hop Mayor say about all of this?
He looks forward to his “full exoneration.” He refuses to step down because he “loves the city of Detroit” too much. As for the nearly $9 million, he’s “repaid it with hard work.” And, of course, the media’s “lynch-mob mentality” is the real problem.
Yes, even mayors enjoy the privilege of presumed innocence until guilt is proven.
But spin, it usually catches up with you. It took Eliot Spitzer only two days to figure out his personal distractions stood in the way of good governance. I give him credit for putting the greater good ahead of his own turmoil and extra credit for fast action and for sparing us the spin.
In Motown, well, it started six years ago and it looks like this spin could go on, and on, and on. Proving once again — there’s no win with this much spin!