Fouts tops Colegio to win 4th term in Warren

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News

Warren — Mayor James Fouts won a fourth term Tuesday over Councilwoman Kelly Colegio.

According to final unofficial results, Fouts received 57.5% of the vote to 42.5% for Colegio.

Colegio, 51, who once worked in Fouts’ office, raised morality and the image of the city as issues in the race, after Fouts was allegedly captured on recordings disparaging women and minority groups.

She also said he had moved too slowly redeveloping the downtown area, that some kinds of crime were rising and he had failed to conceptualize the proper sewage improvement to prevent the release of pollution during storms.

"We ran a good race and I would like to thank all of the voters that came out to support me," Colegio said early Wednesday after the final results were posted.

Warren Mayor James R. Fouts

Fouts, who has served as mayor since 2007, directly after 26 years on the city council, was endorsed by most of the municipal workers’ unions.

Fouts, 77, said he taught Colegio much about running the city, when she managed his office and performed community outreach.

Colegio said it was time for Fouts to go.

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Fouts’ tenure has grown stormy.

Carson Sherer, 11, of Warren shows Kelly Colegio some poll results coming in while Colegio eats with her granddaughter, Leila Schaefer, 1, left, of Roseville at the election night event for mayoral candidate Kelly Colegio at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church in Warren.

Secretly recorded conversations appeared to depict him insulting women, the mentally disabled and African Americans, and using a gay slur.

Fouts asserts the recordings, which began surfacing nearly three years ago, are the phony product of political opponents. During a deposition last year in federal court, he declined to answer questions about the tapes.

Voters expressed a variety of views Tuesday toward Fouts and his opponent.

“I voted because I think Warren is making good progress,” said Greg Donahue, 48, a federal employee. “So I voted for Mayor Fouts. I think he’s done an excellent job. I think he’ll continue to do so.”

Despite some financial hurdles in the first 20 years of the century, Donahue said, he is paying about he same amount of taxes as he did when he moved to the city in 2001.

“That the administration has been able to keep services good, despite that, I think is good,” he said.

“And he’s really involved. Whenever I’ve need to talk to him, he’s called me back. He’s even called me on a Sunday.”

Mayoral candidate Kelly Colegio feeds her granddaughter, Leila Schaefer, 1, some pizza with her daughter, Rebecca Schaefer, left, of Roseville at the election night event for mayoral candidate Kelly Colegio at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church in Warren.

Heather Franklin, 53, said she believes Fouts’ image has harmed the city, and some of his public statements have hurt people.

“It’s the way he talks about people,” Franklin said. “I think Mayor Fouts needs to go. So I voted for Kelly; I think she’s a way better candidate than Mayor Fouts. “He has said some awful things. I do not like him.”

 Fouts said being mayor is about more than saying no to his proposals about downtown development, sewage and public safety.

“I should be mayor because I have some very important projects I’m working on that I think will help the city move forward,” he said.

Colegio called him “a buffoon” and said his reputation makes it difficult to conduct business and run the municipal government.

“I feel that our city is at a moral crossroads,” she said.

Fouts has dismissed concerns that his actions have damaged the city's image and said he's better suited to lead than Colegio.

“No, as a matter of fact, I question her qualifications,” he said, asserting that Colegio’s lack of a college degree and executive experience are poor preparation for Warren's highest office.