Conyers’ expensive travel plan ‘last straw’ for 910 AM

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Monica Conyers’ attempt to book a stay at a luxury Chicago hotel on the company’s dime led to her departure from her radio hosting gig, according to a company memo sent Thursday and a staffer familiar with the details.

While the memo from Kevin Adell, founder and CEO of the Southfield-based WFDF-AM (910), The Word Network and WADL-TV, lists seven grievances against Conyers — including such issues as “being obnoxious in the hallways of The Word Network and partying down like (it’s) 1999!” and bothering Adell when he was on vacation with his family — it was Conyers’ attempt to book a stay at the Peninsula hotel that was the “last straw,” said John Mattiello, director of marketing at The Word Network.

Conyers wanted to travel to Chicago to attend the Saturday funeral of Carolyn Rush. Rush, the late wife of Congressman Bobby Rush, died at 67 earlier this month and, Mattiello said, was “a big fan” of The Word.

According to Mattiello, Conyers called him and said Adell had approved the company paying for the trip.

Mattiello said Adell thought she was driving, not flying, but Adell told Mattiello to book the flight anyway. Mattiello also asked what hotel she would be staying at. Conyers said she didn’t know and would get back in touch. She reached out an hour later, he said, and asked “what about the Peninsula?”

Conyers said she had a federal ID number she could use. Mattiello asked Adell, who said: “What? The Peninsula?”

That request, Mattiello said, “was kind of the last straw.”

Conyers reached Mattiello again on Tuesday night and told him she’d found something cheaper, “but at that point, (Adell) said ‘cancel everything.’”

On Wednesday, the relationship was officially severed, according to a memo from the station and from Conyers’ consulting firm.

Adell’s memo on Thursday referenced the now-canceled Chicago trip. It accuses Conyers of attempting to use husband U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ federal ID to get a discount on her hotel stay.

“She has a federal ID number, but it isn’t the federal ID number that people want,” the memo reads, a reference to Conyers’ 37-month prison stint for taking bribes to vote in favor of a $1 billion sludge-hauling contract when she was Detroit City Council president. Conyers has been off probation since August 2014.

“Monica Conyers is still the same old-same old, she hasn’t been rehabilitated,” Adell’s memo reads. “Monica Conyers is the same person you saw in City Council with her sense of entitlement.”

On Wednesday, radio station spokesman Mort Meisner distributed a much shorter memo to the Detroit media, announcing Conyers’ termination.

“Effective immediately, Monica Conyers will no longer represent The Word Network in any capacity,” the memo said. “(Her) services as a vendor have been terminated for violation of corporate policy. Her position as radio host on 910AM Superstation has been terminated. Her pass and privileges have been revoked. Please note, if you have interacted with her in the past or if she contacts you, please refer to this memo.”

Conyers, through attorney Daniel Findling, disputed the idea that she had been fired on Wednesday, saying she left her Sunday 1-2 p.m. hosting gig on 910 AM Superstation, which started in September, due to burnout.

“She’s taxed. She’s being stretched in too many other places and can’t devote the time she wants to for this on-air business,” Findling said. “She flat-out said ‘Listen, it’s time for me to move on. I’ve got to focus my energies where I’m making money.’ Sometimes people are sensitive to that.”

In a Tuesday letter to Adell, sent the next day by Conyers to 910 AM hosts and staffers, Conyers — by way of Conyers Consulting Group — said the contract “will terminate” at the close of business Wednesday, that the group would “no longer represent (Adell’s interests with Comcast) in a lobbying capacity.”

“Please refrain from using any contacts created by this company,” the letter read. “We will have all of your business that this company is presently working on concluded by then.”

A call to Conyers Consulting Group was not immediately returned Thursday. Asked what lobbying work Conyers’ firm was doing for Adell’s companies, Meisner said he didn’t know and would have to check.

That lobbying work was also referenced in the memo Adell sent out Thursday.

Conyers, the memo said, “didn’t properly register as a lobbyist. She wanted to be included as a lobbying firm, but we discovered later that she never did register properly.”