From Detroit to Asheville and back, Kwame Kilpatrick still in the news

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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The Washington Post has a story today summing up the whole controversy over Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who allegedly had a tryst at the Grove Park in here in Asheville just before scandal broke out over some sexy text messages between he and his former aide. I’ll continue to blog this story until I learn the identity of the “Carmen Slowski” who accompanied Kilpatrick on a nice little massage and bubble bath here in town:

Last fall, when the suit was settled (the city dropped its right to appeal on Oct. 17), the mayor told the public and the city council that he was reluctantly settling the case at the behest of business and religious leaders who were urging him to move forward.

In reality, the paper produced documents showing that Mike Stefani, the police officers’ attorney, had obtained the text message records in early October and presented them to Kilpatrick’s attorney in a sealed envelope on Oct. 17. The paper reported the mayor’s attorneys settled the case that day, but only if the text messages stayed secret. The mayor sort of forgot to mention that to the city council when he asked them to approve the payout to the wrongfully fired police.

But wait! There’s still more!

Detroit television station WXYZ reported that, the weekend before the story broke, the mayor went to Asheville, N.C., to deliver an inspirational Martin Luther King Day address to a local civic organization. Neither Kilpatrick’s wife nor Beatty have said that they went — but hotel staff told the television station that the mayor and his “girlfriend” enjoyed a two-hour couple’s massage, complete with an “aromatic bubble bath,” champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. The mayor’s massage tab: $504. The TV station said the woman gave her name as “Carmen Slowski,” an apparent reference to the name of a talking turtle in Comcast cable ads.

But wait! There’s even still more!

After Kilpatrick and his wife, Carlita, went on television to acknowledge their marriage wasn’t perfect — they held hands — the mayor went on a local radio show last week.

He said the Free Press had “committed a crime” in obtaining the text messages. In the sort of accusation rarely heard from elected officials, he said that the judge himself may have leaked the documents “in the backroom.” Referring to the entire Wayne County court, he said that there were “some serious questions about how that court is run.” He said the jury’s verdict was “based on no legitimate facts” and urged listeners to “remember the makeup of the jury.” (The jury had one black member.)

Kilpatrick then said the confidentiality agreement about the text messages was only personal bookkeeping at the end of a messy legal case and had “nothing to do” with the lawsuit. He said he was acting as a private citizen when he signed that document, but was acting as mayor when he signed the rest of the settlement papers. He said by fighting to keep those private, he was fighting for the rights of “all Detroiters” who might someday be involved in a lawsuit.

He said he believed he was on an “assignment from God” to run the city.

He said: “There’s been no coverup.”

He said: “I’m a guy, I’m a dude, I’m a man.”

We sit down with Executive Editor Caesar Andrews to ask him about Kilpatrick’s charges of felonious journalism. He politely notes that Kilpatrick has apparently gone out of his mind:

“It’s just so insane. You don’t expect comments like that from responsible community leaders.”

Andrews declines to reveal the paper’s source of the text messages because that source has asked to remain anonymous. But, he says, “nothing the Free Press did in the reporting of this story — absolutely nothing — was criminal or illegal or untoward in any way. Every step would meet the highest of standards.”

He also notes that no point in any of the revelations — down to the mayor’s two-hour massage and hot tub in North Carolina — has been challenged as incorrect.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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