Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has apologized after saying he would "rather join the Klan" than a group of metro Detroit CEOs he said were trying to take businesses from Oakland County and move them to Detroit.
Patterson spoke to reporters outside of a meeting with the Oakland County Chamber of Commerce after a letter came out earlier today where he blasted the CEOs.
When asked if Oakland County would join the group of CEOs, he said, "Oh hell no. I'd rather join the Klan."
In a statement, Patterson said, “Sometimes when I’m passionate about a topic, I choose sharp words and purposely engage in hyperbole to get my point across. Today, the words I chose offended a lot of people. I apologize for the poor choice of words.”
In the letter dated July 26, Patterson took aim at the group of 23 metro Detroit CEOs, writing,"You don't have to read between the lines, it is clear what is happening: these self-appointed saviors for southeast Michigan are in the process of forming an 'economic partnership' to direct business investments to the City of Detroit."
The group, according to Patterson, sensed a weakness at the Detroit Regional Chamber and with DRC CEO Sandy Baruah.
"Sandy Baruah's leadership of the Detroit Regional Chamber has been questioned and his effectiveness is up for debate," Patterson wrote.
"They will have no hesitation about coming into your community and snatch business leads in the righteous cause of 'rebuilding Detroit,'" he added on Thursday afternoon.