Warren Mayor Jim Fouts faces heat for audio scandal, methods for raising campaign money

Officials investigate if Fouts used public tax dollars for campaign flier

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Derick Hutchinson

WARREN, Mich. - Warren Mayor Jim Fouts remains defiant that he isn't stepping down from his position, but officials are continuing to turn up the heat against him.

There's a call for Fouts to make himself available to learn whether it's his voice in audio recordings in which a man can be heard insulting people with special needs, black people and women.

But now, the secretary of state is also asking tough questions about how Fouts raised money for his most recent campaign.

An expert often hired to determine the authenticity of the audio recordings in court can't say for sure whether it's Fouts' voice making the most recent disparaging comments.

"I'd like to get the other original recordings that came out about a month ago with the other derogatory remarks and comments and cooperation from Mayor Fouts to be able to create an exemplar, which is an example of his voice," audio expert Ed Primeau, of Primeau Forensics, said.

He's looking for enough sound that his computer software would make a scientific comparison. It's known as the aural spectrum method test.

"I think the public deserved to know," Primeau said. "I think the truth needs to come out here, whether it's him or not."

In the meantime, Fouts received a letter from the secretary of state's office, which stems from a public complaint by political activist Leon Drolet.

Drolet claims Fouts' fundraising during his State of the City last year is suspect.

"They put out fliers promoting this fundraiser into every water bill in the city of Warren," Drolet said.

The letter reads, "The Department concludes that the evidence supports a reason to believe that a violation has occurred" and asks the mayor to "provide the amount spent on the design, printing, mailing and any other distribution of the insert, and who paid the amount."

"This is about him taking tax dollars intended for public purpose and using it for his political purposes," Drolet said.

Fouts is asked another dozen such probing questions. The original complaint was filed against Gust Ghanam, a Fouts appointee. But most of the charges were dropped against him. He will pay a $500 fine and his attorney will be filing a complaint against Drolet for wasting the secretary of state's time.

Copyright 2017 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.