This is an excerpt of a column I wrote for Deadline Detroit.
By Chad Selweski
As Warren Mayor Jim Fouts prepares to run again in 2019, a new recording has surfaced that appears to disclose Fouts referring to homosexuals as “fags” and complaining that media efforts to reveal his true age were like being raped.
On the recording, a snippet of a longer conversation, the mayor of Michigan’s third-largest city says:
“[This] is personal to me, just like being a ‘fag’ is personal to somebody, being fat is personal to somebody, being a, uh, a dimwit is personal to somebody. That is personal to me. It is very – it’s like I’ve been raped, like I’ve been accosted. Then the goddamn Warren Weekly …” At that point, the recorded segment abruptly ends. (Listen to actual recording below).
Attempts by Deadline Detroit to get a comment from the mayor were unsuccessful. Calls were placed to Richard Sabaugh, a top Fouts aide, who often handles inquiries from the press. Emails to the mayor’s office also went unanswered. Fouts denied it was his voice on the tape after this report was published.
After being told of the newest audio content, Sabaugh said: “He never expressed those kinds of feelings to me, ever.”
Fouts has repeatedly denied that other apparent recordings of him making crude comments were legitimate, claiming that tapes leaked to the media in 2016 and 2017 were doctored or that they consisted of someone trying to imitate his voice. But a voice recognition expert last year concluded that the audio files were not edited and that the recorded voice matched the mayor’s voice.
Fouts tried to hide his age
The newest recording harkens back to when the third-term mayor in 2011 claimed that he was 67 years old at the time while some documentation showed that he was 69. He tried to fend off numerous media questions, including those from the Warren Weekly newspaper, about his stubbornness over a 2-year difference. Fouts eventually said that his preference for dating much younger women was damaged by the age dispute.
When a lawsuit was filed by political activists to keep him off the 2011 election ballot for failing to include his correct age on his re-election paperwork, Fouts dug in. At one point, Fouts reportedly threw a chair in anger at the city clerk’s office when he didn’t get the answers he was looking for to make the issue go away.
He went so far as to stop driving, declining to renew his driver license for several months after the secretary of state’s office declared insufficient proof that he was 67. At one point, WDIV-TV reported that a news crew saw Fouts driving while his license was expired.
All of the recordings released in the past 24 months were made over the course of several years as Fouts, a former Warren high school civics teacher, was secretly taped numerous times in City Hall by alarmed staffers, as he was lashing out at his political enemies, blacks, women and handicapped children.
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