The recently divorced wife of state Treasurer Andy Dillon is seeking a personal protection order against her ex-husband, saying he rummaged through her Redford home, tried to break into her car and assaulted her in a furious search for racially charged text messages that he had sent from his state-issued phone.
Copies of those text messages, obtained by Motor City Muckraker, show that Dillon even hinted at releasing nude photos of his wife, Carol Dillon, on the day she tried to notify Gov. Rick Snyder of the incriminating text messages last month.
“Photos of you in sex scenes at coke settings???” he texted.
Carol Dillon responded: “I really don’t think u wanna start lying. This won’t end well.”
At 5:30 the next evening, on July 13, Carol Dillon said she returned home to discover her ex-husband had rifled through her house searching for copies she made of the messages, some of which referred derogatorily to her boyfriend, who is black. Outside, she said, she found her husband, drunk and angry.
But that wasn’t the end of it. While filing a complaint at the local police station, Carol Dillon said she was confronted by three state cops in search of her husband’s state-issued cell phone, which she had taken in hopes of proving he was stalking her.
“It was very strange,” she told me. “I didn’t even get a chance to file the police report, and they were asking me about his phone.”
Dillon’s office declined to comment on the story, saying it’s “a personal and legal matter, being handled by the treasurer’s attorney through the legal system. Further comment, from a treasury perspective, would be inappropriate.”
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But his office insisted in a statement today that the treasurer has not sent racially charged texts: “Mr. Dillon does not use, or condone the use of, racially-insensitive language.”
News of the text messages are certain to roil critics of the state’s controversial emergency manager law, Public Act 46, which has disproportionately affected African Americans. State-appointed EMs currently run Detroit and five other cities, along with three school districts. Half of the state’s black residents live in those cities, which represent just 9% of the state’s population.
Under the law, Dillon has the responsibility of identifying financially distressed cities and schools that he believes would benefit from the appointment of an emergency manager, who has the sole authority to cut services, wipe out union contracts and sell city property.
With suspicions of outsiders already high in Detroit, where the emergency manager filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history last month, news of Dillon’s text messages will be met with harsh criticism.
When told about the texts, Rev. Charles Williams, head of the Detroit chapter of the National Action Network, told me he plans to call for Dillon’s resignation.
“His bias and rants against African Americans obviously show the kind of discrimination we continue to endure in Detroit,” Williams, senior pastor at Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, said. “There’s no room for this. He needs to resign.”
In the petition for a personal protection order, Dillon’s 17-year-old daughter wrote that she feels “scared and helpless” when her father becomes abusive. She cited a Thanksgiving party last year when he allegedly pushed her mom to the ground during a drunken rage.
“One night my dad came into my room and told me I would have a new black dad,” she wrote to the Wayne County judge handling the complaint. “From there things escalated and my mom and I left out of fear.”
Carol Dillon wrote in her PPO request that the treasurer abuses alcohol and painkillers and often acts erratically. In January, the treasurer checked into a rehab center for about a week.
During this time, Dillon was supposed to be playing a key role in Detroit’s future as he and an appointed team were charged with scouring the city’s finances to determine whether an emergency manager was needed.
Dillon, who makes $174,000 a year handling billions of tax dollars, serves at the pleasure of the Republican governor, whose office has not responded to requests for an interview.
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.