I long ago stopped referring to Warren Mayor Jim Fouts’ ugly comments caught on tape – displaying racism, sexism and nasty remarks about handicapped kids – as “alleged” remarks by Fouts because everyone in the media and in city government knows better.

The elderly mayor has a very distinctive voice and rhythm to his vocal phrasing, and the idea that the several tapes were doctored was shot down months ago by an audio recording expert. I have written several blogs on this website referring to Fouts’ comments without any qualifiers, such as “allegedly,” and I have never received a call of complaint from the mayor or a Fouts representative.

Logically, any attempt to scramble the mayor’s recorded words would require taking his references — to “chimps,” “retards” and “cunts” — and somehow make supposedly innocent remarks sound like hurtful rhetoric. Does anyone believe that?

It seems more and more likely that certain city employees subjected to Fouts’ reported bullying and hateful rhetoric began secretly taping the mayor’s comments years ago as a means of protecting themselves from arbitrary firings.

Having said that, here is a Facebook post from earlier this evening by Bill Barnwell – local minister, lawyer, fired Fouts appointee and husband to city Treasurer Lorie Barnwell – that attempts to set the record straight:

Well, this is interesting.

Mayor Fouts has continually asserted that the tapes of him complaining about having to speak at a GM-sponsored special-needs event and calling for euthanizing special-needs children are “phony” and “doctored” by County Executive Mark Hackel, and that the tapes were only released by Hackel to distract from a controversy at Freedom Hill and “cover-up” a supposed environmental “scandal” (which turned out to be nothing).

That was December 2016.

Earlier today, posted elsewhere on Facebook, is (a) satirical Fouts post by a Twitter critic from 2012 by what would appear to be a City Hall insider who had knowledge of the tape. The post from 2012 strongly suggests that this tape existed long before last December — at least 4 1/2 years before the debate with Hackel emerged.

Fouts has claimed from day one the tapes are “doctored”, and more specifically are the result of Adobe Voco software.

Key Points:

  1. Adobe Voco can’t do what Fouts is claiming it can do to begin with.
  2. Even so, let’s just say it could, the software was only introduced in beta form in late 2016 and is not available to the public even now.
  3. It certainly was not available to anybody in the summer of 2012.

So we are now left logically with two options:

  1. That Mark Hackel “doctored” these tapes literally years before the so-called Freedom Hill controversy and had a “coverup” in mind years before their dispute, and one of his people negligently left proof of this convoluted plot on Twitter way back in 2012.


  1. Fouts was recorded saying everything being attributed to him by former employees who were covering themselves in a hostile work environment and there simply exists no conspiracy to “doctor” or “cover-up” anything.

What do you think makes more sense?

Fouts also claims the media is rigged against him. Yet the media consistently calls these statements “alleged” to cover themselves legally and ethically.

Here’s an offer to any journalists …  just begin attributing the statements to Fouts. If he wants to waste his time and file a lawsuit, I’ll defend your paper or network pro bono in civil court.

Will be an easy win and won’t cost you anything.

And to the rest of the public, which makes more sense?

Option 1 or 2?