DETROIT – A City Council committee passed a resolution on Thursday accusing Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of using his office for personal gain and calling on him to resign or risk being forced from office.
The resolution, which is expected to go before the entire City Council for a vote on Tuesday, accuses Kilpatrick of lying under oath when he denied during a whistle-blower lawsuit that he was involved in a romantic relationship with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty.
If Kilpatrick refuses to resign, the resolution directs special counsel William Goodman to research how the City Council can remove Kilpatrick from office through the forfeiture provision of the City Charter.
Kilpatrick has denied wrongdoing and vowed to stay on as mayor.
"Since I was 9 years old, the only job I ever wanted was to be mayor of the city of Detroit. I'll be here for as long as I can be here," he said.
The resolution came a day after the state's highest court rejected an attempt by Kilpatrick to prevent documents from being made public that detail a city settlement that helped conceal an apparent affair with Beatty.
A prosecutor is expected to decide by mid-March whether to pursue perjury charges against the two.
Their testimony came during a lawsuit by two former police officers who alleged they were fired or forced to resign for investigating claims that Kilpatrick used his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs. A third officer claimed in a separate lawsuit that he was harassed because he knew of alleged affairs.
The city agreed to an out-of-court settlement with the officers for $8.4 million.
Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said a key factor in introducing the resolution was Kilpatrick's concealment of the reasons for his request that the City Council drop its appeal of the lawsuit verdict and agree to the settlement.
City lawyers said it was to save additional legal costs, but it later emerged that the deal also was designed to keep the sexually explicit test messages from Kilpatrick to Beatty's city-issued pager from becoming public.
"We thought we were approving an agreement for one reason, and in fact we were approving it for another reason," Kenyatta told The Associated Press.
The documents released Wednesday include an initial settlement agreement between the city and the former officers that makes reference to the text messages.
They also include a transcript of a Jan. 30 deposition of attorney Michael Stefani, who represented the two former officers in their lawsuit, by lawyers for two newspapers that sued to get the sealed documents, The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News. In the deposition, Stefani said he thought Kilpatrick rejected the initial settlement agreement because the Free Press had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the settlement.
"I'm presuming, but don't know for a fact, that they — that is, Mayor Kilpatrick and perhaps Beatty, did not ... want the reference to the text messages in the settlement agreement," Stefani said.
After the mayor rejected that agreement, a separate confidentiality agreement detailing how the text messages would be kept secret was reached Nov. 1 between all parties.
The Free Press first reported last month about the text messages, but has not said how it obtained the messages.
Kilpatrick insisted Thursday he did not try to cover up the documents.