Warren Mayor Jim Fouts is calling a video that shows him holding hands with his secretary during a 2012 Chicago trip “mean-spirited and scurrilous.”
The video shows Fouts, 71, and a young woman checking into the Drake Hotel, having dinner and shopping. It also shows them holding hands at one point.
It also is time-stamped Nov. 16, 2012, and reportedly was recorded by a private investigator. Websites don’t identify the investigator or who hired him.
Captions on the video identify the woman as Fouts’ secretary, Amanda Mika, 28. Both are single, according to public records.
Fouts has said on the record that he likes younger women, the video’s captions say. A 2011 lawsuit filed against the city of Warren seeking to get clarification of Fouts’ age referenced a May 27, 2009, Washington Post article in which the mayor stated he doesn’t give out his age, “because he tends to date younger women.”
The video’s captions also criticize the mayor for giving Mika a substantial pay raise at a time when other city employees have been forced to take cuts to their pay and benefits.
Fouts issued a statement Friday defending the trip and Mika’s pay hike. He said the trip was paid out of his own pocket and not by taxpayer money.
“...The $5,000 pay raise given to the mayor’s office executive assistant was given in December 2013, a full year after any trip I took,” Fouts said in a statement. “To accuse me of giving a raise to any city employee because of a trip we took smacks of dirty politics and personal political mud-slinging at its lowest.”
Mika earned about $50,000 a year before the raise, according to city documents.
Fouts also said his assistant was given the raise along with another mayoral appointee because they had to take on additional responsibilities after the city’s economic development director took a sick leave.
“The trips in the video had nothing whatsoever to do with pay raises given to the executive assistant,” Fouts said. “To accuse me of this is a total misrepresentation of the facts in the matter.”
For Mika’s part, she only said the mayor’s statement speaks for itself.
The mayor also said he will not provide any further comment on the matter “ because it will only distract me from my full-time job responsibilities as mayor of Michigan’s third largest city.”
He also added: “There was no connection between any pay raise given to any employee and personal trips ... and any media reports to the contrary could have legal consequences.”