DETROIT – Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick continues meeting with Detroit business leaders about his plans to move the city forward despite a text-messaging sex scandal and possible perjury charges that could remove him from office.
A day after meeting with three of the city's most prominent businessmen, Kilpatrick spoke Thursday morning to others at the Detroit Athletic Club.
The 15-minute speech reiterated portions of Tuesday's State of the City address in which Kilpatrick outlined his vision for improving Detroit neighborhoods, police protection, job training and finding employment for residents, mayoral spokeswoman Denise Tolliver said.
But a prosecutor's investigation into whether Kilpatrick will be charged with perjury for testimony during a whistle-blowers' trial and the furor over an agreement settling that lawsuit for $8.4 million has dogged his administration for nearly two months.
Racially charged statements Kilpatrick made during his State of the City also may have muddied the city's business waters.
Jason Vines, a senior vice president at Compuware Corp., says chief executive Peter Karmanos does not want the issue to stop Detroit's momentum.
"We support whomever is sitting in that mayoral chair if that person is moving the city forward," Vines said. "With this distraction and embarrassment for our city, you wonder if it could stop the momentum."
Karmanos attended Tuesday's address as he does for every State of the City, Vines added.
But there now is a "collective saddening" surrounding the current controversy, he said.
"There is no good outcome," he said. "We've made great progress, and much of that you can put in the win column for Mayor Kilpatrick."
Tolliver confirmed that Kilpatrick met Wednesday with Dave Bing, Doug Rothwell and James Nicholson. Bing is chair of the Bing Group. Rothwell is president of Detroit Renaissance, and Nicholson is president and chief executive of PVS Chemicals, Inc.
They discussed policy and development in the city, Tolliver said.
She denied published reports that Kilpatrick was criticized at that meeting for emotional, off-the-script remarks made near the end of Tuesday's address that included use of the "n-word" in describing calls and e-mails he has received since the text-messaging scandal first was reported.
Kilpatrick and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty denied under oath in last summer's whistle-blowers' trial that they had a romantic relationship in 2002 and 2003. But excerpts of sexually explicit text messages left on Beatty's city-issued pager contradict their testimony.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy launched her investigation after the Detroit Free Press reported those text messages in January. Worthy said earlier this week that she expects to have a decision the week of March 24 on whether to charge both with perjury.