DETROIT, Mich. – A female officer who is dating Detroit's recently fired police chief was previously romantically involved with the married and current acting chief, and she has the text messages to prove it.
David Robinson, a lawyer for Lt. Monique Patterson, said Wednesday that he has more than 100 text messages sent to her in 2009 and 2010 from her boss, acting Police Chief Ralph Godbee, including messages that show the two had romantic "rendezvous."
He said Patterson ended her relationship with Godbee when she started dating Warren Evans last year.
Godbee, in a statement released by Mayor Dave Bing's office, referred to the texts as of a "personal nature" sent to a "colleague."
"This is a personal challenge that I must work through with my family and myself," Godbee said. "I ask the media and public to respect my family and the effort to resolve this privately."
Last month, Mayor Dave Bing unexpectedly fired Evans after little more than a year on the job. Among the reasons he cited was Evans' romantic relationship with a subordinate, Patterson, and the alleged preferential treatment Evans gave her.
Bing said in a strongly worded statement Wednesday that he wasn't considering firing Godbee for having an affair with a subordinate, and that Godbee will still be among those considered to run the department on a permanent basis.
Evans' lawyer, Mark Zausmer, said Wednesday that he approached Deputy Mayor Saul Green "a couple of weeks ago" to disclose the existence of the text messages in the hopes that Bing might "repair the damage done with a hasty termination based on bad information."
"We proposed a solution that we thought was a good one for everybody," Zausmer said. "The solution was to find a spot for Evans within the city to help the city and serve the city.
"What struck us as puzzling is that Warren was terminated, in part, because he had a fully disclosed relationship with somebody. Protocols were in place. She was outside his command and he never did anything to advance her career. Yet, Chief Godbee doesn't disclose the relationship and appears to have made promises in his professional capacity to help her career."
Bing, in his statement, shot down Evans' attempt to be rehired.
"Appointees, all of whom serve at the pleasure of the mayor, are retained or released based on their uncompromised ability to lead," Bing said. "Failed attempts of personal gain at the expense of the police department and city at-large are unfortunate, and should not be tolerated."
Dan Lijana, a spokesman for the mayor, said Bing and Godbee would make no further statements about the matter.
It was little more than two years ago that another text messaging scandal led Detroit's last mayor to resign from office in disgrace and to his imprisonment.
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and resigned as mayor in September 2008 after admitting he lied during a whistleblowers' lawsuit trial about his relationship with one of his top aides. Text messages between their city-issued pagers were his undoing.
After beating a field of candidates that included Evans in a special primary election following Kilpatrick's resignation, Bing was elected last May to complete Kilpatrick's term and hired Evans, who was Wayne County sheriff, to be police chief.
Bing was elected to a four-year term as mayor last November.
Godbee had served as assistant chief under Evans, and was in that position when he met Patterson.
"The only thing that he knew about Ms. Patterson was how she looked," Robinson said. "He told her to get on his staff to advance her career. Whatever his purpose originally was, it became a personal purpose to have a relationship with her."