As Mayor of Ypsilanti, it is my job to consider viable opportunities for economic growth and sustainability, such as through our city delegation’s recent trip to China. This kind of travel is common practice to objectively consider a potentially valuable project for our city. Our Council has launched an investigation into the trip’s funding, and I am fully participating and cooperating. My understanding since before departing was that our trip was funded through a scholarship the City delegation received from the Wayne State University Chinese Student & Scholars Association, and that those funds originated from the Chinese consulate. If the investigation uncovers that not to be the case, I, too, have very serious concerns. I remain accessible and transparent so Ypsilanti residents know that I have and will continue to act with integrity and in the best interest of our community.
Our task on this trip was to understand the people, culture, design, and intentions behind this project, since it has such major implications for Ypsilanti. I learned a tremendous amount about Chinese culture, development strategy, urban design, transportation, and sustainability. I also had the chance to meet many partners involved with the project and gain insight as to their motivations, backgrounds, and approaches.
I returned late Monday from China. At the beginning of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, I made a public statement that I was and still am happy to cooperate with any investigation and had already. Later in that meeting, the city council chose to lead the investigation going forward; the Mayor Pro Tem and I recused ourselves from that decision.
Everyone is welcome to either support or oppose this or any development project, but they should not do so at the expense of those—elected leaders and residents, alike— who are diligently working to consider carefully whether a given project will provide a collective benefit to our city and region. It is my honor to serve the citizens of Ypsilanti and I continue to make my best effort to move our city forward.
I am releasing this statement now since I have learned that doing so still complies with the integrity of the investigation. I want residents to hear from me that in no way did I knowingly participate in any inappropriate behavior.
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