Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says he has stage-4 pancreatic cancer

Posted at 1:09 PM, Mar 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-26 19:02:55-04

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Longtime Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has stage-4 pancreatic cancer. He made the announcement during a press conference on Monday afternoon. He was diagnosed on March 15.

Patterson began his public service to Oakland County more than 40 years ago. He served as Oakland County Prosecutor for 16 years and was elected as executive in 1992. He said he intends to finish out his term despite the diagnosis but will not seek re-election.

He was emotional during the announcement and thanked his family. He also said he is undergoing treatment at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

During his leadership in Oakland County, the county has been able to maintain its AAA bond rating, and it has been ranked among the best counties in both the state and the country.

According to the county website, Brooks' leadership has also attracted billions in private investment and the county's reach extends across the globe to more than 1,000 firms in nearly 40 countries that operate inside the county borders.

In September 2018, Standard & Poor's Global Ratings (S&P) reaffirmed the county's AAA bond rating, saying the county has a "very strong economy, very strong management," and much more.

"I think we're going to redesign Oakland County's logo to look like Superman's 'S,' only in this instance it'll stand for 'strong,'" Patterson said in a statement at the time. "Oakland County clearly is doing everything right from attracting jobs from outside Michigan to balancing multi-year budgets while maintaining low taxes."

He was a controversial figure in Oakland County and in metro Detroit. In a 2015 article for The New Yorker, Patterson gave a tour to the reporter as they headed for Lake St. Clair.

"Anytime I talk about Detroit, it will not be positive. Therefore, I'm called a Detroit basher. The truth hurts, you know? Tough s***," he said, according to the article.

In the same article, Patterson told the reporter that during his time as prosecutor, criminals avoided Oakland County because he banned plea bargains and knew he was a "crazy motherf***er."

Just last year, Patterson blasted a group of metro Detroit businesses trying to take businesses from Oakland County to move them to Detroit. When asked if Oakland County would join the group of CEOs, he said, "Oh hell no. I'd rather join the Klan." He later apologized for the statement.

In August 2012, Paterson was involved in a serious car accident in Auburn Hills that left him with two broken wrists, two broken ankles, a broken leg, broken hip and several broken ribs. His driver was also paralyzed in the crash.

He was in the hospital for more than a month, then spent time at a rehabilitation center and was wheelchair-bound every since.

Earlier this month, Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner announced a bid to replace Patterson as treasurer.

"As Oakland County embarks on our 200th anniversary as a county in 2020, we face a crossroads and must choose the path leading to an Oakland County that builds on our strengths, while adding more equity, equality and opportunity, countywide," Meisner said in a statement.

In a response, Patterson said, "It's obvious Andy wasn't paying attention during my political lecture on peaking too soon."