Feud between Macomb County elected officials turns ugly after newly released recording

Alleged audio of Warren Mayor Jim Fouts given to Mark Hackel by former employee

WARREN, Mich. - Macomb County's executive is not mincing words when it comes to Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and allegations he's made over environmental issues at Freedom Hill.

A tape of what sounds like Fouts savaging the cognitively impaired was given to Mark Hackel apparently by a former Fouts employee, and Hackel has made it public.

Fouts said he's not the one on the tape. Local 4 News' Mara MacDonald spoke with the employee who made the tape, who confirmed he recorded Fouts in his office several years ago. He said he was disgusted by how Fouts was treating Hackel and wanted the public to hear what he said goes on allegedly behind closed doors.

"Fridays past, I would be going to meet some women. Tonight I'm going to meet a group of retards." That's how the discussion starts out on a tape that has been given to Hackel.

It's a tape that edits the employee who recorded it out of it. Local 4's MacDonald heard the unedited tape the employee recorded and can provide some context.

What was heard is, according to the former employee, Fouts lamenting he has to go to a Special Olympics event.

"Tonight?" the employee responds to the Friday night comment.

"Tonight is retard night," Fouts allegedly said.

The employee asked, "Where's it going to be?"

"Over at GM. I want no part of this (expletive) thing," Fouts allegedly said.

"What type of people are involved?" the employee asked.

"It's a prelude to the Special Olympics for the retards in the area," Fouts allegedly said.

"Who invited you?" the employee asked.

"Some retard group in Warren or Macomb County who called all week to make sure I'd come," Fouts allegedly said.

The tape is about seven minutes in length, and through it the now-former employee asked limited questions and laughed uncomfortably at what he said is Fouts railing against the developmentally disabled.

"I have no compassion for retarded kids," Fouts allegedly said in the tape.

It goes on in a similar vein for several more minutes.

"You see these people like, I don't know, what good are they? They're dysfunctional human beings. They're not even human beings and I don't want to be around them. I wish them well in a cage," Fouts allegedly said.

Fouts was on social media and on the phone with Local 4 News. He declined an on-camera interview, saying this is not him.

"Mark Hackel will do anything and everything to discourage me. The recording was not me," Fouts said. "He has the expertise available to him to electronically engineer it. This is a phony tape with more to come."

Local 4 News caught up with the county executive Thursday night, who said he has no doubts about the former Warren employee who provided the tape.

"Mr. Fouts is going to try and be elusive, but the reality is what was on that tape is absolutely disturbing, so there's going to be somebody who is getting this information shortly to deal with directly what Mr. Fouts is trying to allege this being doctored," Hackel said.

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