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Published: Wednesday, 5/7/2008

Detroit council's attorney offers 3 ways to get mayor out of office

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - The Detroit City Council's efforts to remove Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office may come down to the least strict of three options recommended in a special report by the council's outside attorney, William Goodman.

The report summarizes facts in the text-messaging sex scandal and the $8.4 million payout in a whistle-blowers' lawsuit.

Council members met for several hours yesterday in a closed session to discuss the 35-page document. It suggests the City Council consider forfeiture-of-office proceedings against Mr. Kilpatrick, or request Gov. Jennifer Granholm use state law to remove the mayor for misconduct, or publicly censure the mayor while allowing the criminal charges against the mayor to play out in court.

Council President Ken Cockrel, Jr., said yesterday that censuring Mr. Kilpatrick or asking Ms. Granholm to step in "are probably being looked at more strongly on the part of council."

Forfeiture proceedings could be expensive and time-consuming, he said. "If council were to go that route, it could result in a new trial which could tie up a lot of money and a lot of time for an extended period," he said. "At this point, I don't think any of those options are off the table."

Council could vote as early as Tuesday on what action to take, Mr. Cockrel said.

The report accuses Mr. Kilpatrick of violating provisions of the city charter that prohibit using public office for private gain and settling city civil litigation without the council's consent.

Mr. Kilpatrick and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty face preliminary examinations June 9 in Detroit's 36th District Court on perjury, obstruction of justice, and other charges.

They are accused of lying under oath during trial last summer of a lawsuit, filed by two former Detroit police officers, when they denied being romantically involved. Council members say they were misled in approving the settlement because they were unaware of a Kilpatrick-signed confidentiality agreement that referenced secret text messages.

Ms. Granholm has stated she wants to allow the legal process to play out. Michigan law allows the governor to remove an elected official from office for a number of reasons, including official misconduct, willful neglect of duty, or a felony conviction, according to Ms. Granholm's office.



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