News Hits got a really good laugh when we read Laura Berman's column in the Detroit News last Saturday morning. Too bad no video cameras were rolling, because we happened to be sipping coffee at the time and did a certified spit-take as we scanned the piece, which began this way:
A woman in a mink coat.
A woman in a short dress.
A back room at a barbershop.
An interval of 20 or 25 minutes.
And then Berman, who's paid to provide the sort of knowledgeable insight that might not make it into a straight-ahead news story, explained to her readers: "These are the lurid ingredients of a Detroit mayoral scandal, the backroom whispers that have now graduated to senior status: sworn testimony in open court."
That's when the coffee spritzed. We're not sure what galaxy Laura was visiting in the late spring of 2004, but she surely wasn't spending time here on planet Detroit, or even bothering to check the Intergalactic Web for updates.
As far as we can tell from reading the funny papers, the trial surrounding a Whistleblower Protection Act civil suit filed by two former cops has, so far at least, brought no new revelations regarding the extramarital exploits allegedly committed by the Kwamster. In fact, what we've seen has been a rehashing of allegations that made headlines and led TV newscasts way back in May of 2004!
News Hits is fairly certain of that because this rag was the first media outlet to reveal the allegations after we got our hot little hands on sworn depositions provided as part of the lawsuit brought by Harold Nelthrope, a former member of Kilpatrick's executive protection unit, and Gary Brown, who led the Detroit Police Department's internal affairs unit until Kilpatrick had him removed from that job.
Now, we can forgive a journalist of Berman's high caliber for not deigning to sully herself by picking up this rag, but after we broke the story her own paper reraked the same muck under the headline "Unsealed testimony: Bodyguards set up trysts with women."
So much for backroom whispers.
When we broke the story, we also reported on a memo then-Councilwoman Sharon McPhail wrote to the city's Law Department saying: "Word has reached me that these cases have been to mediation and that the mediation amounts proposed by the panel for these two cases totals over 2 million dollars."
The old allegations may be as salacious as ever, but any extracurricular boinking the mayor might have been doing isn't the issue. Here's what the bush leaguers at News Hits think is important: Did Kilpatrick wreck the careers of two good cops in an attempt to cover his alleged dirty tracks, and has he spent more than three years and uncounted city dollars defending the indefensible?
Those are the real questions, and we're looking forward to finally having a jury answer them.News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com