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Attorney General Mike Cox Discusses Results of Investigation into Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Below are remarks delivered by Attorney General Cox at a Detroit press conference
June 24, 2003
Five weeks ago, I promised the People of Detroit and the citizens of Michigan, my office would conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations surrounding Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and members of his Executive Protection Unit. I also promised that we would proceed as quickly as the facts would allow. Five weeks later, I can announce that we have fulfilled those promises.
Under the direct leadership of Tom Furtaw, chief of my Criminal Justice Bureau, a team of nine lawyers and investigators from my staff and the Michigan State Police have done a remarkable job conducting this investigation.
To give you some sense of the thoroughness of the investigation, a few statistics will provide perspective: over 30 witnesses were examined under oath by investigative subpoena; over 120 witnesses were interviewed; approximately 90 subpoenas were issued for witnesses and documents; forensic analysis of computers was performed; and over 10,000 pages of documents and records were reviewed.
As you may recall, the Attorney General’s Office began this investigation on Monday, May 19, to investigate a number of charges that grew out of press reports concerning the firing of Detroit Police Deputy Chief Gary Brown, an alleged incident at the Manoogian Mansion, and allegations concerning Police Officers Loronzo Jones and Michael Martin involving overtime fraud, drunk driving and the failure to report automobile accidents involving property damage. Additionally, the reports raised the specter of possible obstructions of justice.
I specifically charged the investigative team with focusing the investigation on whether any criminal acts occurred. I repeat, the focus of this team was on determining whether any criminal charges should issue; they were not assigned to examine whether civil lawsuits concerning wrongful firings are appropriate nor to audit police management decisions nor to pass political judgments. The task was simple: do we have evidence of crimes being committed? The answer is “no.”
Let me deal with the most inflammatory allegation first: The allegation of a party at the Manoogian Mansion involving strippers, the Mayor and members of the Detroit Police Department. Over 50 different witnesses who presumably were in a position to know about such an incident were directly asked about the alleged party. Not one witness had any direct or indirect credible knowledge of such an event. These witnesses ranged from officers assigned to guard the Mayor to civilians who called in tips. These allegations appear to be founded solely on wild rumor and speculation.
During the course of the investigation, the Mayor voluntarily offered to talk about the allegations. He emphatically denied any knowledge of such a party; all the evidence supports his denial. The party has all the earmarks of an “urban legend,” and it should be treated as such.
A second set of allegations concerned alleged automobile accidents involving unmarked police vehicles driven by Officers Martin and Jones while they were on-duty and intoxicated. The investigation confirmed that Officer Michael Martin’s department-issued Crown Victoria did suffer three flat tires during the early morning hours of February 7, 2003, on East Grand Boulevard near Jefferson. Officer Martin claimed he “ran over something,” then parked the car at the curb, before getting a ride home from a friend.
The media-reported witnesses were claiming Martin was drunk at the time of the collision. Officer Martin denied that allegation. Witnesses who were with Martin after the accident also deny that he was intoxicated or appeared intoxicated. Physical examination of the Crown Victoria failed to yield any of the usual indicators of a two car accident. In short, there are no witnesses or physical evidence which contradict Officer Martin’s account.
The allegation regarding Officer Jones concerned a possible accident that occurred in December 2002 or January 2003 at the Half-Past Three Club on Grand River. Numerous witnesses were interviewed concerning this allegation: the witnesses included club owners, valet and security personnel, 13th Precinct records, and employees at three different garages. Jones denied any accident. The investigation was unable to uncover any evidence of an accident, a date of the alleged accident or cause of the purported accident.
The more serious charges involving Officers Jones and Martin involved allegations of fraudulent payment of overtime. Officer Jones supervised the Executive Protection Unit. As the commanding officer, Jones had the ability to assign and approve all overtime for the E.P.U officers. It is indisputable that some officers, including Jones and Martin, received inordinate amounts of overtime pay. Routinely, officers traveling with the Mayor on out-of-town business received overtime pay for each and every hour spent on the trip.
The extravagant payments of overtime were not limited to out-of-town trips. As an example, in August of 2002, Jones “was on the clock” for one 64-hour stretch of time while working in Detroit. We conducted an extensive investigation of these practices, which confirmed overtime abuses and shoddy recordkeeping within the Executive Protection Unit. Witnesses reported and testified to a system that involved ever-changing and unwritten policies, as well as extremely relaxed oversight--in fact, no superiors ever questioned the payments. The E.P.U. officers were not required to detail specific work activity. Overtime was routinely granted based upon the “honor” system, with overtime slips later filled out by the timekeeper. Against this backdrop of poor management and the lack of written policies, it is literally impossible to prove a criminal intent to defraud the Police Department by any of the E.P.U.officers.
Finally, the most serious allegation as it relates to possible public corruption concerned the firing of Deputy Chief Gary Brown and whether this firing was an attempt to obstruct justice – specifically, an attempt to obstruct Deputy Chief Brown’s investigation of the Manoogian Mansion rumor and the activities of Officers Jones and Martin.
While the circumstances of Mr. Brown’s dismissal may give rise to successful civil litigation, we do not find any evidence of an obstruction of justice.
A look at the timeline of events sheds greater light on the allegations. Initially, over the course of numerous interviews and informal contacts with officers from the Professional Accountability Bureau, Officer Nelthrope, a former E.P.U. officer, outlined the charges that were ultimately investigated by our office. It was not until the third meeting that he mentioned the Manoogian rumor. These allegations gave rise to an internal investigation by the Professional Accountability Bureau.
By Friday, May 2, 2003, a five-page internal memorandum was drafted for Deputy Chief Brown by his subordinates. The memorandum outlined the Manoogian rumor, as well as the driving and overtime allegations against Jones and Martin. This memorandum was entitled, “ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MAYOR KWAME M. KILPATRICK, MRS. CARLITA KILPATRICK AND MEMBERS ASSIGNED TO THE EXECUTIVE PROTECTION UNIT."
On Monday, May 5, 2003, Chief Jerry Oliver requested a bullet point memorandum from Deputy Chief Brown regarding the investigation of the Executive Protection Unit. The memo was entitled “INFORMATION” and did not mention the Manoogian rumor. Oliver stated he was going to give the bullet point memorandum to Christine Beatty, Mayor Kilpatrick’s chief of staff.
Both Chief Oliver and Deputy Chief Brown agreed that the subjects of the bullet point memorandum were not criminal matters but rather should be handled internally within the Police Department.
On Tuesday, May 6, 2003, Chief Oliver and Christine Beatty met and discussed a number of police department issues. During the course of the meeting, Oliver gave the bullet point memorandum to Beatty. She reviewed the memorandum and agreed with the recommendation that the allegations against the Executive Protection Unit officers should be handled internally by the Police Department.
Ms. Beatty claims that later that same Tuesday she received an anonymous letter in her internal office mailbox. She said the anonymous letter detailed some of the same allegations that were in the bullet point memorandum, but also included an allegation that Deputy Chief Brown was involved in other secret investigations. She told investigators that she became alarmed by this information. Ms. Beatty later shredded the letter.
On Wednesday, May 7, 2003, Beatty decided to discuss the matter with the Mayor. Sometime prior to speaking with the Mayor, Ms. Beatty ordered David Rayford, City Information Officer, to copy all the files on the computers of Deputy Chief Brown as well as two of his subordinates, Commander Don Parshall and Inspector Steve Dolunt. She then told Mayor Kilpatrick about the bullet point memorandum as well as the anonymous letter. As the Mayor told our investigators, it “raised her ire."
Ms. Beatty told investigators that she recommended the Mayor should consider “unappointing” and moving Deputy Chief Brown to another position because of her concerns that Brown was possibly withholding information about ongoing investigations or even falsifying information presented to the Chief of Police. Ms. Beatty never discussed the anonymous letter with Chief Oliver.
The Mayor stated he decided to remove Deputy Brown from his appointed position based upon the information from and recommendation of Ms. Beatty. He further told investigators that he barely knew Brown, who is one of approximately 150 mayoral appointees supervised by Beatty and the respective city department directors.
On Friday, May 9, 2002, she ordered the “securing” of the computers of Deputy Chief Brown, Commander Parshall, and Inspector Dolunt to prevent them access. According to City of Detroit information technicians, these types of lockdowns are not unusual in transfer or dismissal situations.
Later that same day, Mayor Kilpatrick, Chief of Staff Beatty, and Chief Oliver met and Oliver was told about the un-appointment based upon Brown withholding information to his superiors.
It is noteworthy that it was not until the following Monday, May 12, 2003, that Chief Oliver even saw, for the first time, the five-page memorandum which contained the Manoogian Mansion allegation. According to Chief Oliver, and Brown’s immediate superior, Assistant Chief Tim Black, Brown was withholding information from them as well as engaging in an investigation that if warranted should be handled by an outside agency.
Undoubtedly, Ms. Beatty’s actions and recommendation were arguably premature and heavy-handed, yet there is nothing to suggest that she obstructed a criminal investigation. Her actions may support a civil suit, but there is no evidence she sought to obstruct justice.
Further, it is unclear what if any crimes arguably occurred, especially in light of Deputy Chief Brown’s recommendation that the allegations against Jones and Martin be handled internally. Additionally, the Manoogian Mansion allegations were, at best, tenuous and unsubstantiated rumor.
In addition to an absence of criminal behavior, it is uncontroverted that the Mayor did not even know about the five-page memorandum discussing the Manoogian Mansion rumor. As the chief executive of a large corporate entity, he necessarily placed his confidence in his chief of staff.
In short, while a number of decisions made were arguably shortsighted and the indications of bad judgment or inexperience, there is not any evidence of an obstruction of justice or other criminal wrongdoing.
So let me repeat, there is absolutely no evidence – outside of outlandish rumor – of the so-called Manoogian Mansion party. Nor is there any evidence of an obstruction of justice by the Mayor or anyone working for him. Whether any of the decisions made equal bad politics, bad policy or a wrongful termination, we leave to the civil court system and the voters of Detroit.
The citizens expected their Attorney General’s Office to conduct a fair and comprehensive investigation of this matter to determine if there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing. At the same time, the citizens rightly expected that this not be a witch-hunt or a congressional hearing filled with political rhetoric or an investigation into proper employment practices. We heard them. We did our job and I can report that the evidence does not demonstrate any crimes.
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