State is investigating Mayor Fouts over alleged campaign finance violations

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts

The state is investigating Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and a key appointee after city officials used public resources to raise money for a political action committee.

The city sent out an invitation on water bills to Fouts’ annual State of the City address, an event that raised money for the Macomb Business United PAC, which is run by the mayor’s Deputy Public Service Director Gust Ghanam.

It’s unlawful to use taxpayer resources to raise money for politicians or political action committees.

The Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections also announced today that it fined Ghanam $500 for accepting an illegal contribution from a corporation, NTH Consultants.

Now the state wants to know what role Fouts and Richard Sabaugh, the city’s public services director, played in promoting the event on water bills.

“Because Mayor Fouts appeared and gave his State of the City address during the fundraiser and the fundraiser was advertised on a water bill insert, it appears to the department that you and the city authorized the use of city resources for the fundraiser by attending or speaking at the fundraiser, advertising the fundraiser, and producing materials for the fundraiser,” the state’s letter to Fouts and Sabaugh said.

Fouts and Sabaugh have until Feb. 9 to answer questions from the state.

Numerous politicians, residents and civil rights groups have called on Fouts to resign after Motor City Muckraker revealed recordings in which the mayor called black people “chimps” and women “dried-up cunts.”

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Steve Neavling

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.