Motown just keeps on giving -- to journalists, if not to its citizens, who now are on the hook for $9 million and counting, thanks to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrickâs futile determination
to keep his office affair from going public.
With the scandal still raging
, the city council is clearly on edge. All we know for sure about last Wednesdayâs city pension board meeting is that two of its members had to be restrained. But as for who was assaulting whom... both sides have their witnesses. The Detroit papers have been straining to keep up.According
to Sheila Kneeshaw, a trustee on the board, City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers came late to the meeting and took umbrage at mayoral assistant DeDan Miltonâs refusal to consider an issue that had been discussed before her arrival.
"There was threats made. There was vulgar language," Kneeshaw said. "And it wasn't DeDan Milton's fault. [Conyers] was ranting and raving."
David Clark, chair of Detroit's General Retirement System, agreed
"She ran at him," Clark said. "She told him she would get a gun if she had to and that she has four brothers and they would whup his a-- if she asked them." (Apparently Clark did not recall Conyers's mentioning whether her husband, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), would participate in the ass whuppin'.)
Another witness saw it differently.
Sam Riddle, Conyersâs chief of staff, asserted that Conyers, not Milton, was the victim. She was reacting to Miltonâs profanity.
"Monica is no shrinking violet," Riddle said
. "He starts yelling at her. She responds aggressively and in street lingo. It was on."
Milton filed a police report
the following day in which he charged that Conyers "threatened to shoot [Milton] with her gun" and made "several aggressive movements" toward him "in a threatening manner." The report said that Conyers also threatened to "have my brothers [mess] you up."
It's not clear what the charged crime would be. Apparently the police filed it under "harassing communications
Riddle claims that Conyers never threatened to shoot Milton.
"What she said was: 'I've got a bigger gun than your gun, my husband,'" Riddle said
. "She was talking about a political gun." So apparently the Chairman was
Conyers responded to Milton's report by filing a police report of her own a few hours after he did. In it she accused him of being the aggressor. But she also reported
that the two had made up in a back room before the meeting was over.
âVictim and offender came out from the meeting with their arms around each other with a posture of forgiveness,â the police noted. âThereafter, the meeting continued without incident.â
Since pension board meetings are not recorded on audio or video, police have only the conflicting accounts of eyewitnesses as evidence.
Conyers is notoriously short-tempered. In 2005, she was involved in a bar brawl, and, in a separate incident, a friend charged that Conyers âhad threatened to kill her.â In both cases, prosecutors ruled in Conyersâs favor.
Riddle told The Detroit News that he believes the mayor's aide filed the report as payback:
"They don't like what she is doing on council," Riddle said. "This is another bullying tactic by the Kilpatrick administration.â
He also said that this incident is in keeping with the disrespect the administration has shown toward women. Riddle cited the case of Matt Allen, the mayorâs former press secretary, who pled guilty to domestic violence.
"Matt Allen can slam a woman's head into the wall and he's still on the payroll." Ah, Motown.
Riddle wants Conyers, as the wife of a congressman, to ask the U.S. Marshals Service for protection, since "We don't know who we can trust in the city of Detroit."