Warren City Council asking for outside counsel to investigate mayor

- The mayor of Warren is facing new questions over the alleged misuse of city resources.

Fox 2 first told you last week of allegations the mayor used taxpayer money for political gain, now some on city council are hoping to put his feet to the fire.

Some community leaders, politicians and pastors are calling for Warren Mayor Jim Fouts to step down.

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"We don't let our own organization, our members speak that way, let alone public officials," said Mike Barnell of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millrights.

The union representing carpenters and millwrights -- 14,000 strong -- also wants Fouts to step down after audio tapes of Fouts allegedly making derogatory comments about African Americans and older women were released.

On the recording, the person said:

"You know blacks do look like chimpanzees. I was watching this black woman with her daughter and they look like two chimps."

"I remember this one kid in my class I told you some years ago. He said we have a party store. He says my dad had rules. I said what are they? Only two n****** at a time."

"Think I want to "expletive" date a 60-year-old hag? (Expletive) that (expletive). I'm not interested in any old ugly hag. I think after a certain age they're all dried up, washed up, burned down."

This comes just weeks after another audio recording that appears to be Fouts belittling and insulting the mentally disabled - calling them dysfunctional - and not even human.

"We just get over a month ago what he said about people with disabilities, Africans American and women. It's getting worse and worse. He's an embarrassment to the city. We've supported him in the past, honestly we're embarrassed that we did," Barnell said.

Warren City Councilman Keith Sadowski is calling for independent counsel to conduct a fact-finding mission.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has also announced she will be investigating the alleged illegal use of city resources to hold the mayor's 2016 state of the city address.

"My fear is that if we don't hire outside council that if the secretary does not like the answers that are given her to, that she's going to send it over to the attorney general to handle, and it will be out of our hands," Sadowski said.

Sadowski is among the city council members urging Fouts to resign.

Tuesday night's city council meeting is expected to draw a big crowd.

Fouts has issued a statement on our Facebook Page:

"Since December 2016, my life has been a nightmare. Ever since County Executive Mark Hackel released phony audio tapes of me, after a total stranger mysteriously dropped them off at his home at 3 A.M., my life has been upside down.

"The media has been relentlessly pursuing me since then, shining bright TV lights on my home until late at night, knocking at my door at all hours, including weekends, and incessantly phoning at my home. The reporters are all hoping for an "exclusive interview."

"I even recently encountered death threats on my phone at home and my cell phone. One described how he would like to put a noose around my neck and watch me choking until all the life was out of me.

"Another suggested that I need to do everyone a favor and commit suicide. Warren police did offer me security and police patrols, but I felt I was a low priority and felt these people only did this after being incited by the repeated airing of the phony tapes on every station.

"I still manage to jog when the media is not surrounding my house with anticipation of a "gotcha interview." There are endless questions about when I will resign and how does it feel to be a non-person.

"Before this nightmare, I anticipated watching the local TV news; now, I dread it because the TV stations repeat the phony tapes endlessly.

"At the city-sponsored January 16 annual Dr. Martin Luther King Ceremony, the media was obsessed with the latest phony tapes. This media frenzy ruined the solemn ceremony turning it into a media circus. They even trampled over the Detroit Renaissance High School band instruments.

"The media does have some responsibility to show restraint and a balanced story, but NOT in my case Their view of me is dark and no room for the good I've done, nor any room for the real culprit or my right to privacy, my right to confront my accuser or my presumed innocence. The media in effect has become an electronic lynch mob and not expected to change their minds. It's a sensational story, so why stop the drumbeat?

"What is most hurtful to me is my so-called political "friends" who called for my resignation-a rush to judgment. These "fair weather" friends were more than eager in their elections to use my personal endorsement in their successful campaigns. This confirms that adage of President Harry S. Truman: "If you want a friend in politics, get yourself a dog."

"This public "every politician for himself or herself" desertion has caused me much personal anguish. I have learned that life has its ups-and-downs, but this has been downright disheartening to me, especially after helping those candidates with personal help and endorsements.

"Much of this criticism at me has come from outside Warren. Many of those are now lying about me and things I never said. It seems like anyone who had a grievance with me or a perceived grievance are now lying and conjuring up ridiculous stories about me. They are all competing to out-lie the other in order to get media attention. The bigger the lie, the bigger the news story.

"The silver lining during this dark experience in my life has been the strong expressions of support I have received from Warren residents. They state that they agree with me that the Hackel tapes are phony and doctored.

"I thank these loyal supporters from the bottom of my heart. That confidence in me by Warren residents keeps me working hard on their behalf to continue creating a safe, clean, and well run city.

"I sincerely pray that none of you have to experience what I have experienced since December 2016.

"I pray that God gives me the strength to withstand the criticism I'm receiving. With the help and faith of many including local clergy (Bishop C.J. Andre of the Tabernacle Christian Church in Warren as an example), I'm moving forward to work hard for the deserving Warren taxpayer. I will not be deterred from my mission to serve and protect the residents of Warren."

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