Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson apologizes for racist comment

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is now apologizing after saying he would rather join the Ku Klux Klan instead of joining the Regional CEO Group, a new type of sub-chamber out of Detroit that Patterson is accusing of stealing jobs and businesses and moving them into Detroit. 

Patterson sent a letter out on July 26 to all of the chamber executives in Oakland County calling for a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 9, to discuss this new group. Patterson states that the CEO’s are poaching the workers and businesses for the “righteous cause of rebuilding Detroit.”

After the meeting, Patterson spoke to the media addressing his concerns. When asked if he would ever join the Regional CEO Group, Patterson responded, “Oh, hell no. I’d rather join the Klan.”

Patterson also said the CEO’s are not willing to help Oakland County – only Detroit. 

“They’re not working with us,” Patterson said. “They’re not working for us. We are a director competitor. That’s the way I see it.”

Patterson later apologized for his Klan comment. 

“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,” Patterson wrote in a statement. 

In addressing Patterson’s accusations of job and business stealing, DTE Chairman Gerry Anderson released this statement: “I understand L. Brooks Patterson's passion for his work and honestly, we are all after the same goal. The entire region benefits when investment and jobs come from outside Michigan and the country to southeast Michigan. The Detroit Regional Chamber, the Regional CEO Group and all the county leadership in southeast Michigan can make a positive difference when we align and create incremental, good paying jobs for the 11 County region.”

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