Attorneys for the City of Warren are fighting in federal court to keep Mayor Jim Fouts out of the hot seat, giving sworn testimony in a deposition.
The lawsuit was brought by DeShelia Howlett, an African American woman with ten years in the Warren Police Department. She is claiming a hostile work environment based on her race and gender. New disturbing allegations are included in the lawsuit.
Last year Mayor Fouts repeatedly denied making comments heard on tape that included:
You think I want to date a (expletive) 60-year-old hag? (Expletive) that (expletive). I’m not interested in any old ugly hag.
You know blacks do look like chimpanzees, I was watching this black woman with her daughter and they look like two chimps.
Tonight I’m going to meet a group of retards.
You know they’re dysfunctional human beings, they’re not even human beings.
And I wish them well in a cage.
Fouts said at the time, “That is an engineered tape inspired by Mark Hackel (Macomb County Executive) just like the last one. And it is not me. It is not me at all.”
While under that intense pressure, Mayor Fouts hired Greg Murray to be Warren Diversity Coordinator.
“I believe that I have all the resources that I need to effectively do my job,” Murray said last year. Eleven months later, Murray was fired by Fouts.
In the federal lawsuit, Murray says in an affidavit:
MAYOR FOUTS TOLD ME ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION THAT DIVERSiTY WOULD BE PLACED ON THE BACK BURNER…UNTIL AFTER THE 2019 MAYORAL ELECTION.
When Murray attempted to organize a diversity committee he testified:
MAYOR FOUTS DIRECTED ME TO STOP BECAUSE PEOPLE ON THE COMMITTEE HAD CALLED FOR HIS RESIGNATION AND FURTHER HE FEARED A BACKLASH FROM THE WHITE RESIDENTS.
IT IS MY OPINION THAT MAYOR FOUTS HIRED ME AS THE CITY’S DIVERSITY COORDINATOR AS WINDOW DRESSING.
In a deposition, Murray testified:
DURING A TRAINING, MAYOR FOUTS MADE SOME VERY DISPARAGING COMMENTS AND MOCKERY OF A PERSON WITH TOURETTE’S SYNDROME.
It was on tape and Murray testified Fouts wanted it destroyed:
BECAUSE HE WAS CONCERNED THAT IT MIGHT DRAW A CONNEcTION TO THE FIRST TAPE
SO HE ORDERED ME TO DESTROY THE TAPES, THE TAPE.
WHICH I PARTIALLY COMPLIED WITH.
Yesterday Mayor Fouts denied that. “No that is not true.”
In the same lawsuit, attorneys for the city are fighting to keep Fouts from testifying. But if the judge denies their motion, testimony should be limited in scope they argue and the transcript of what the mayor says under oath should be sealed.
Yesterday, 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner had this exchange with Mayor Fouts at Warren City Hall:
Why won’t you testify?
There’s no court case going on.
There is indeed. They want your deposition. It is in federal court. Would you like to see the documents? I can go get them.
Number one, we don’t try a case by the media we do it by the court of law.
Why won’t you testify in a deposition in that court case?
I’m not aware that I’m under a court case right now.
I can show it to you, I have the documents.
I will tell you this: I forgive you, and I forgive individual and individuals who bare false witness.
This is about Prayer Day.
God bless you.
That was yesterday at the end of a Prayer Day ceremony. The judge has not yet ruled on whether the mayor will testify. Fouts is up for reelection next year.
He posted this on Facebook this afternoon.