Warren mayor faces new questions for use of taxpayer funds

- The saga continues in Warren, where Mayor Jim Fouts is under enormous pressure to step-down.

But now those controversial audio recordings aren't his only problem as new questions about alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars have surfaced.

"Mayor Fouts runs Warren like it's a different kind of a country," said Leon Drolet.

Drolet is chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. Months ago he accused an appointee of Warren Mayor Jim Fouts of using taxpayer dollars for their own political purposes.

Now the Secretary of State has issued a letter, saying the mayor has some explaining to do. It all goes back to his 2016 State of the City address in April.

Tickets for the event were advertised in inserts sent to residents with their water bills. City employees spent countless hours pulling the production together at taxpayer expense - possibly tens of thousands of dollars.

The problem is, it was all to benefit a political action committee - which is not allowed.

"He's stolen public money," Drolet said. "(And) used if for his political fundraising purposes. And that's blatantly illegal and he should be held accountable."

Drolet filed a complaint alleging a violation of campaign finance laws months ago.  Then on Tuesday amid all the drama surrounding the latest lewd, rude, racist recordings alleged to be Fouts - Drolet received a letter from the Secretary of State - and so did the mayor.

A $500 fine for the political appointee in charge of the pac - but more serious concerns for the mayor - and his public service director, Richard Sabaugh.

"The attorney for the Secretary of State is saying - 'It appears to the department that you and the city authorized the use of city resources for the fundraiser,'" Drolet said.

"It says that we believe a crime has occurred, a violation has occurred, on a much wider scale. We believe that tax dollars were taken and used for a political fund raising purpose which is a significant violation."

The mayor has until Feb. 9 to respond to 13 questions about his actions which could result in a hefty fine - or, Drolet says, something far more serious.

"I think that the attorney general and the secretary of state should enforce the law," he said. "And if Fouts is guilty and it's very obvious to me that he is, once that conviction comes, I would hope that the governor would remove him from office."

No comment so far from Mayor Jim Fouts who was in meetings when FOX 2 stopped by, and has not returned phone calls. He also has not taken to Facebook to post a response.
 

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