Warren Mayor Jim Fouts is sounding a lot more like Donald Trump every day.
First, Fouts denied he was the voice in audio recordings in which he was heard calling disabled people “animals,” black people “chimps” and women “c**ts.” A voice expert recently said the initial recordings were unaltered and authentic.
Now Fouts is making absurd, libelous claims that city Treasurer Lorie Barnwell hacked his Facebook account, which has prompted threats against the elected treasurer. Apparently the mayor doesn’t know how Facebook works.
Barnwell merely friended people who followed Fouts on Facebook.
“This is completely childish and unprofessional behavior,” Barnwell said. “That we are having a debate about Facebook in Michigan’s third-largest city is embarrassing. I will continue to focus on delivering top-notch and professional services to our residents and moving our community forward. I call on the Mayor to apologize to me for his false accusations and that we resume the work of far more important city business. We are here to serve the public, not ourselves.”
After refusing to talk to reporters, Fouts finally walked back his claims in an interview with Fox2.
“I think the term (hacking) was loosely used and the reason I used that was because I had a number of my supporters, friends on my private Facebook who called me up on Saturday night and were upset that Lorie Barnwell was trying to get in and demanding they friend her,” Fouts said, still seemingly confused by how Facebook works.
Barnwell, who has one child, filed a complaint with the Warren Police Department over threats she received.
Fouts has refused to apologize.
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.