Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Tony Marrocco, desperately trying to fend off an aggressive election challenge from Congresswoman Candice Miller, is limping toward the finish of this brutal campaign.
Today, the Miller campaign demanded that Marrocco pay back the $66,000 in attorney fees that the county reportedly spent on defending the public works commissioner in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a girlfriend/stripper that Marrocco hired to work in his office.
In an extraordinarily awkward on-camera interview with WXYZ-TV, aired Wednesday night, the Democratic incumbent insisted that he paid for all legal fees related to the embarrassing lawsuit out of his own pocket. The allegations were that he hired Marti Parker after meeting her in a strip club, fired her and then was sued by her for sexual harassment – specifically for demanding sexual favors from Parker in order to keep her job.
The cash amount for the 2006 settlement reached in the case was never disclosed but numbers provided by the Macomb County legal counsel now indicates that county taxpayers financed $66,000 in attorney fees to defend Marrocco’s behavior. Parker was the victim of a late-night homicide in Detroit in 2008.
Kudos to Channel 7, WXYZ-TV, for putting Marrocco on the spot, though they fell into the trap of suggesting, without any evidence, that the public works boss may have had a role in the homicide. Marrocco was never a suspect in the case, and he was never questioned.
In an odd interview with WXYZ’s Jim Kiertzner, the Detroit police chief said cold cases can be reopened when new evidence comes forth. But the Parker lawsuit was filed years before her death and nothing new has surfaced since.
The jarring revelations about the Parker lawsuit mark the second “October surprise” the Marrocco re-election campaign has suffered in a week. On Sunday, The Macomb Daily reported that Marrocco spent more than $5 million on legal fees in two lawsuits, neither of which has proven fruitful. Those expenses were tacked onto sewer bills for homeowners and businesses without gaining the permission of the 11 Macomb communities that had a stake in those two court fights.