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Published: Monday, 4/14/2008

Detroit City Council refuses to hear from Kilpatrick on budget


DETROIT The City Council rebuffed embattled Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's attempts to propose a budget on Monday, the latest sign of increasingly frosty relations between the mayor and city leaders.

Kilpatrick, who is fighting criminal charges, walked in to the Council chambers, sat down and prepared to speak. Council President Ken Cockrel then informed him that he had talked over the matter with other members over the weekend, and they agreed not to hear from the mayor.

"This could have been done in my office," Kilpatrick told the Council before heading out into the hallway.

The mayor told reporters that Council members were playing a political game.

"It's horrible that politics is being ingrained in this," he said. "That's bad leadership."

Cockrel defended the Council's action.

"A number of the Council members who feel very strongly that what we're dealing with at this point (is) the equivalent of the CEO of a corporation that's facing eight felony counts that we as the board of directors of that corporation, the City of Detroit, shouldn't hear from him."

The relationship between Kilpatrick and the council have been going downhill for months. The panel voted 7-1 in March to ask Kilpatrick to resign.

And Council hearings last week looked into a confidentiality agreement signed by Kilpatrick that was part of an $8.4 million whistle-blowers' settlement.

That agreement referenced sexually explicit text messages on the pager of Kilpatrick's former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.

Kilpatrick and Beatty are awaiting a June 9 preliminary examination on perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice charges.

They are accused of lying under oath during last summer's whistle-blowers' trial. Kilpatrick and Beatty denied having a romantic relationship in 2002 and 2003. Kilpatrick also is accused of lying under oath about his role in the firing of one of the officers.

Excerpts of the text messages published in January by the Detroit Free Press contradict their testimony. A prosecutor's report issued last month said Kilpatrick and Beatty attempted to keep former Deputy Chief Gary Brown's firing a secret when he went public with the story and Kilpatrick asked members of his staff for help in explaining Brown's departure.

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