February 27, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Warren treasurer says city's mayor 'lunged' at her during heated conversation

Fouts (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)

The Warren city treasurer is calling for Mayor Jim Fouts to receive anger management counseling after “a frightening experience” during a meeting at which she said Fouts launched “a verbal tirade” and lunged at her.

In the letter sent to Human Resources Director Phil Easter and the Mayor’s Office onThursday, Treasurer Carolyn Moceri said Fouts and Richard Sabaugh, Warren’s public service director, asked her to stay after a Feb. 21 budget meeting. Moceri said that’s when Fouts expressed his anger at her over public comments she made last year, Moceri said.

“Mayor Fouts became so enraged and out of control that he lunged across the conference table at me, and I feared for my safety,” Moceri wrote in the letter. “I thought he was going to strike me.”

Fouts denied bullying Moceri or making threats toward her at that meeting in a statement Thursday.

Fouts was under investigation in April by Michigan State Police for allegedly threatening someone during a telephone conversation that was recorded by his appointee without his knowledge. The Macomb County prosecutor later decided Fouts would not face any charges. Moceri has referred to Fouts’ comments about her in that recorded conversation as “gross and disgusting.”

Moceri claimed Fouts also threatened to cut the Treasury Department budget during the conversation after the budget meeting.

“There was no reason ‘to fear for her safety,’ and she left the meeting on a friendly note,” Fouts said Thursday.

He said the meeting was to quash disagreements between his office and the Treasurer’s Department and to establish a better relationship.

“Curiously, she did not allow Mr. Easter enough time to respond to this letter. Her releasing the letter to the media was premature and clearly meant to embarrass me politically,” Fouts said in a statement Thursday. “I do feel very passionate about my job as I hope Treasurer Moceri does as well. That passion sometimes is expressed in heated arguments that do not require any anger management help.”

Moceri suggested Fouts be treated at an agency contracted to provide counseling services to city employees. She demanded a written response to her complaint by Monday, or she said she will “reserve the right to seek other remedies to this problem.”

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