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Published: Tuesday, 1/29/2008

Detroit aide quits over text messages; mayor, chief of staff denied having affair

FROM THE BLADE'S WIRE SERVICES

DETROIT - Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's chief of staff announced her resignation yesterday amid allegations that she and the mayor lied under oath about an affair.

In a letter to Mr. Kilpatrick released by his office, Christine Beatty said she believes she can no longer effectively carry out her duties. Her resignation takes effect Feb. 8.

"I painfully regret the devastation that the recent reports have caused to the citizens of Detroit, to my co-workers, to the mayor's family, and to my family and friends," Ms. Beatty wrote in the letter.

Kilpatrick spokesman James Canning said the mayor's office had no comment.

There was no immediate response to messages seeking comment from Elliott Hall, a lawyer for Ms. Beatty.

Her departure is the first fallout from the scandal that has rocked City Hall since

the Detroit Free Press reported details of steamy text messages between her and Mr. Kilpatrick last week.

The text messages contradict under-oath denials of an affair between the two.

The messages also documented that Ms. Beatty fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown. He had sued for wrongful dismissal, and the mayor and Ms. Beatty had denied he was fired. Settlements with him and two other former officers approached $9 million.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Friday she has opened an investigation into whether Mr. Kilpatrick or Ms. Beatty should be charged with perjury or other crimes.

A conviction of lying under oath can bring up to 15 years' imprisonment.

Ms. Beatty and Mr. Kilpatrick testified in a trial during the summer that they did not have a physical relationship in 2002 and 2003, when the messages were reportedly sent. The 14,000 messages examined by the newspaper reveal the two carried on a flirty, sometimes sexually explicit dialogue about where to meet and how to conceal their numerous trysts.

"I'm madly in love with you," Mr. Kilpatrick wrote on Oct. 3, 2002.

"I hope you feel that way for a long time," Ms. Beatty replied. "In case you haven't noticed, I am madly in love with you too!"

On Oct. 16, 2002, Mr. Kilpatrick wrote Ms. Beatty: "I've been dreaming all day about having you all to myself for 3 days. Relaxing, laughing, talking, sleeping and making love."

Mr. Kilpatrick is married with three children. Ms. Beatty was married at the time of the messages and has two children. She has been the Kilpatrick administration's chief of staff since the mayor took office in 2002.

The two, both 37, have been friends since they attended the same Detroit high school. Mr. Kilpatrick also appointed Ms. Beatty as his chief of staff when he was state House minority leader in 1999. She was his campaign manager during his bids for the state House and the mayor's office.

She wrote in her letter that her six years as chief of staff were the fulfillment of a childhood dream to serve her native Detroit.

"I've served the administration and Detroit citizens with diligence, strength, and perseverance and I hope that my efforts will one day show through above all else," she wrote.

Ms. Beatty and Mr. Kilpatrick testified in a case involving a lawsuit filed by two police officers who alleged they were fired for investigating claims that the mayor used his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs.

The lawsuit ended with the jury awarding $6.5 million to the two officers. The payout grew to more than $8.5 million.

The Free Press said it cross-referenced the messages with the mayor's private calendar and credit card records to verify events in some of the notes.

Mr. Canning, the mayor's spokesman, said he didn't know whether Ms. Beatty would receive a severance package. She is paid about $142,813 a year.



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