Mayor Mike Duggan made an outlandish claim during his State of the City address on Tuesday, offending opponents of state financial takeovers.
“I am more against emergency managers than anyone I’ve met,” Duggan insisted as a protester called out the mayor for working behind the scenes with Gov. Rick Snyder.
A Motor City Muckraker investigation in August 2013 found that Duggan had a cozy relationship with state Treasurer Andy Dillon and Snyder aide Richard Baird, both of whom were integral in appointing an emergency manager to Detroit. Baird even donated $5,000 to Duggan’s mayoral campaign and continues to have a close relationship with the mayor.
So why does this matter? Duggan ran on a pledge to oust the emergency manager, saying he will work “to push the emergency manager out on the first day I am in office and return Detroit to its elected officials.”
But when Duggan was elected mayor in November 2013, he rarely spoke of the issue and maintained a private, but close relationship with EM Kevyn Orr. Duggan even secretly worked with Orr to abolish state-mandated Citizens District Councils just before Orr relinquished his powers in September 2014.
When Motor City Muckraker requested e-mail records between Duggan’s office and Orr, the city charged more than $12,000.
Now is the time for Duggan to come clean and release the records. His statement on his opposition to emergency managers on Tuesday was insulting to the many Detroiters who fought against state intervention.
A democracy only works if elected leaders are transparent.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.