Racist Michigan Mayor Jim Fouts caught on recording making racist statements. SMH

A Warren church Sunday called on Mayor James Fouts to apologize and step down from office for “deeply disturbing” recorded comments he allegedly has made about minorities and older women.

Renaissance Unity’s Board of Directors also petitioned the Warren City Council to “restore the dignity of our fine city” by removing Fouts from office and launching an investigation into the matter.

“As one of Warren’s largest churches, we felt a moral responsibility to address an injustice where we see it,” said David Coulter, chairman of the board. “We felt silence may be interpreted as us supporting his comments.”

 Fouts has increasingly come under fire for comments attributed to him — which have become national news — although he denies it’s his voice on the audiotapes. A number of elected officials, along with Democratic Party officials, have called for him to step down.

Fouts on Sunday told The Macomb Daily that he has been speaking to members of the faith community as he fights to clear his name, although Renaissance Unity was not among those he spoke with.

“I appreciate their right to express their opinion, but I feel it’s a little premature,” the embattled mayor said. “In all fairness, I would have hoped they would have contacted me to address them before they took a stand.”

Fouts said he spoke Sunday to members of Tabernacle on 12 Mile Road and previously addressed a group of pastors. He said all of those he has spoken to now support him, but Tabernacle officials could not be reached Sunday evening.

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At issue are a series of secretly-recorded audiotapes in which Fouts — or someone who sounds just like him — is heard making derogatory statements about blacks, older women and the disabled.

In the most recently released tapes, a voice that’s allegedly Fouts is heard comparing black people to chimpanzees and calling older women “hags” and “mean, hateful, dried up.” Although the tapes were made public by the website Motor City Muckraker, the source and date of the tapes are unknown.

Another set of audiotapes released in December by political rival Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel has a voice that allegedly is the mayor makes disparaging remarks about disabled people, calling them “dysfunctional human beings.” The source and date of those tapes are also not known. Fouts was fired from a weekend talk show on WFDF-AM (910) for the comments.

On Sunday, members of Renaissance Unity — a nondenominational, multicultural congregation that has been visited by political figures such as Jennifer Granholm and Butch Holloway as well as celebrities like Steven Tyler and Jewel — discussed the issue.

The church board of trustees said it “rose out of love to address the deeply disturbing comments” attributed to the mayor. The comments “on their own give voice to hate in a way that is reprehensible,” the board said in a statement.

The statement went on to say that if Fouts is truly a victim, “we ask for him to have the courage” to immediately file a complaint with law enforcement. Fouts said last week that he has received death threats over the controversy but declined to have police conduct an investigation,

Board members called on the Warren City Council to officially condemn the remarks and take action to remove Fouts as mayor. However, only the governor can force an elected official to step down, or the electorate through the recall process. They also asked the mayor to “apologize to a community who trusted him to lean with honor.”

They also are encouraging other Warren churches to adopt the petition.

Coulter, who also serves as mayor of Ferndale in Oakland County, said church members discussed the situation with respect to the separation of church and state, but felt they had to address it. He said board members felt the taped comments could “reasonably attributed” to the mayor, despite Fouts’ repeated denials.

“As people of faith we have to stand up to injustices just as Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi and others have done,” Coulter said.

City Council President Cecil St. Pierre on Sunday declined to comment on the petition.

“We’re going to be talking about this Tuesday, so we’ll have something to say at that point,” he said.

Councilman Scott Steven wants Fouts to take a lie detector test and submit a voice analysis to determine whether it is Fouts’ voice on the recordings.

Fouts continued to maintain someone was able to digitally alter his voice through electronic means to make it sound as though he was making the negative comments.

“They are phony tapes,” the mayor said. “I’ve done quite a bit of research on this. If they can get 20 minutes of someone such as myself talking, they can make an exact duplicate and manipulate it to whatever they want.

He went on to say despite the negative portrayal of the mayor, Warren residents continue to back him.

“So far, all of the people I’ve talked to are all in support of me,” Fouts said. “I’m resolved to showing up for work and taking care of city business as I always have done.”




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