DETROIT (WWJ) – A former executive assistant to Dave Bing is speaking out about her whistle-blower lawsuit, that accuses the Detroit Mayor of plotting to steal power from the Detroit Public Schools board and City Council.
Rochelle Collins said she saw emails detailing the secret deal involving Bing, Governor Rick Snyder and others in Lansing.
Speaking to reporters, Thursday, Collins said she was often singled out by the mayor for being a valuable and competent employee. She blames her firing on Bing’s communications director, Karen Dumas, who Collins says has more power than you’d expect for someone in that position.
“For one, working in the office was hard, because, if you didn’t agree with Karen you had an issue, you know. It got to the point where Karen was involved in everything in the office, from the budget, to what recreation departments were going to be closed, to economic proposals that were brought into the city,” said Collins.
Collins, who is suing Bing, the city and Dumas for wrongful dismissal, says Dumas is responsible for most of the turnover in Bing’s administration. She said it was stressful working with Dumas.
“If you got on her bad side, then she was gonna get you. That’s just the bottom line … as long as you agreed with her and went along with her program, you were fine. If you didn’t agree with her, then you became the target of Karen Dumas,” said Collins.
The suit, which seeks damages in excess of $25,000, alleges breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of the whistle-blowers’ protection act.
The lawsuit says Collins “Worked with stakeholders to ensure that Public Act 4 contained all necessary provisions to accomplish the goals of the strategy, which included Defendant Mayor Bing being named Emergency Manager for the City of Detroit and DPS, and dissolving both the Detroit City Council and the DPS School Board.”
Meantime, Bing is vehemently denying that he was working on a back-room power-grab, saying Collins’ claims are “self-serving.”
Speaking to business leaders in southwest Detroit, Bing said he’s not nervous about this latest challenge.
“I came into this job a couple of years ago to help bring this city back, and that’s what I’m focused on right now. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s circling around that’s nebulous in my opinion,” Bing said.
Bing said he will not allow the lawsuit be a distraction from the job at hand, leaving it in the hands of legal professionals.
As far as the question of Dumas’ future in his administration, Bing said he planned to speak with her soon. Former Channel 4 news anchor, and current Detroit Medical Center communications director, Emery King is reportedly in line for the job.
Dumas also spoke with reporters on Wednesday. Read that part of the story, here.