Our ears pricked last Friday as News Hits caught the tail end of Mildred Gaddis’ radio talk show on WCHB (1200 on your AM dial). We tuned in just as co-host Greg Bowens, one-time spokesman for former Mayor Dennis Archer, finished describing a bizarre encounter he claims occurred with Archer’s replacement, Kwame Kilpatrick.
Bowens says he was seated at a table in a Cobo Center hallway taking part in a remote broadcast. Under way in the room next door was a breakfast featuring Minister Louis Farrakhan and other religious leaders; the gathering kicked off Freedom Weekend, an annual event sponsored by the Detroit NAACP’s Freedom Institute.
Now, as anyone who listens to Mildred’s show will attest, Bowens, an erstwhile newsman turned PR honcho, is a dogged critic of the Kilpatrick administration. Recently he’s been hounding the mayor over everything from the city’s looming $333 million budget shortfall to Detroit’s unemployment rate to the number of homicides occurring under Kilpatrick’s watch.
According to Bowens, as the mayor and a small entourage passed by, Kilpatrick made eye contact with him, then reached over a bodyguard, pointed a beefy finger and warned, “I’m going to get you.”
Bowens, who contends there was nothing to indicate Mayor Hip-Hop was joking, says he finds the incident both confusing and disturbing.
“I don’t know how to take it,” Bowens tells News Hits. “But I shouldn’t have to take it at all. I’m a resident of this city. I shouldn’t have to worry about the mayor getting me.”
Mayoral spokesman Howard Hughey says he doesn’t have a “clue” as to what Bowens is referring to.
“I was there when the mayor walked in, and I saw and heard nothing like that,” says Hughey. “I don’t know what he [Bowens] is talking about. The mayor doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Isiah Randle, however, says he knows exactly what Bowens is talking about. A volunteer for Neighborhood Service Organization, a Detroit nonprofit that assists the city’s homeless, Randle was keeping tabs on a few vanloads of “clients” his organization had ferried to the event last Thursday. He says he was in the hallway when Kilpatrick arrived.
“I’d never seen the mayor in person before and stopped to take a look at him,” recalls Randle. “That’s when I saw the mayor reach over one of his bodyguards, point his finger and say, ‘I’m going to get you. Wait and see, I’m going to get you.’”
According to Randle, who says he has heard Bowens on the radio but had never met him, the broadcaster looked as if “he’d seen a ghost” when the Kwamster hurled his alleged threat.
“I was flabbergasted,” says Randle, 47, who phoned in to Gaddis’ show the following day to provide his account of the incident. Randle tells News Hits there was nothing playful about the mayor’s demeanor.
“If he had said that to me, I’d be taking it seriously,” says Randle. “I’d be watching my back.”Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com