Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, right, isn't expected today to address text messages on city-issued pagers that indicate he had an affair with Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, left. (Ricardo Thomas / The Detroit News)
DETROIT -- Christine Beatty announced this morning that she will resign her position as Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's chief of staff.
The mayor's office received the letter today and made it public.
In the letter, Beatty said it is "clear that I can no longer effectively carry out the duties of chief of staff.
"Therefore, this letter serves as my resignation effective Feb. 8, 2008 to allow for an orderly transition of my duties with the new chief of staff," she said.
"I painfully regret the devastation that the recent reports have caused to the citizens of Detroit, to my co-workers to the mayor's family and to my family and friends."
Beatty, Kilpatrick's chief of staff and an old friend from high school, has been the center of a sexual scandal involving her and the mayor. Both Kilpatrick and Beatty swore under oath in an earlier trial that they have never been involved in an affair. However, scores of text messages between Beatty and Kilpatrick -- dating back to 2002 -- seem to contradict their denials.
Mayoral spokesman James Canning was terse and tight lipped when he appeared at Detroit City Hall this morning, deflecting questions from reporters who wanted to know if Kilpatrick would appear at work today.
"The mayor doesn't have a public schedule today," said Canning. Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams, who has been officially running the city during Kilpatrick's absence, would not respond to the same question.
Sam Riddle, a political consultant and chief of staff to Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers, said he has recommended to the councilwoman that she draft a resolution, which could be introduced as soon as Tuesday, to officially launch an investigation into whether the mayor cut a side deal to keep scandalous information private.
The council had already been informally looking into whether the mayor would be forced to repay the city the $8.4 million in settlements paid to ex-cops who claim they were retaliated against for looking into allegations that may have uncovered the mayor's affair with Beatty.
Sharon McPhail, Kilpatrick's general counsel, confirmed that she hadn't had a chance to read the text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty, but said she thought the mayor would survive the ongoing scandal and "won't face any criminal charges."
"I'd be awfully surprised if there are any criminal charges from what I'm hearing," McPhail said.
"When the facts are known, this is going to be a blip on the screen of all the wonderful things that he's done for the city."
McPhail said she had spoken with the mayor several days after news of the affair broke.
"He was all about business," said McPhail, who said Kilpatrick urged her to "just get the job done."
McPhail said Kilpatrick indicated he had talked with his staff and was "very regretful" about the current situation.