Michigan Matters Exclusive: ‘Big Four’ Sound Off On Fouts & Trump

It was another sold out Detroit Economic Club “Big Four” luncheon as Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson – took to the NAIAS stage at Cobo Center and discussed issues.

There was talk of infrastructure woes, mass transit efforts being stuck in glue and the economy.

A few members of the standing room only Detroit Economic Club "Big Four" audience at Cobo Center also asked a few questions as shown. The event was moderated by CBS 62's Carol Cain. (credit: Alexis Tesner/CBS Detroit)

A few members of the standing room only Detroit Economic Club “Big Four” audience at Cobo Center also asked a few questions as shown. The event was moderated by CBS 62’s Carol Cain. (credit: Alexis Tesner/CBS Detroit)

But what inspired the wrath of the foursome?

Disgust over an audio tape released Monday with a voice sounding like Warren Mayor Jim Fouts – saying incredibly derogatory things about African Americans and Women.

Rod Alberts, Carol Cain, Warren Evans, Mark Hackel, L. Brooks Patterson, Mike Duggan, Brian Watsno and Beth Chappell at the Detroit Economic Club's annual "Big Four" luncheon held Tuesday at Cobo Center during the NAIAS. DEC holds the annual luncheon in concert with the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and CBS 62. (credit: Alexis Tesner/CBS Detroit)

Rod Alberts, Carol Cain, Warren Evans, Mark Hackel, L. Brooks Patterson, Mike Duggan, Brian Watsno and Beth Chappell at the Detroit Economic Club’s annual “Big Four” luncheon held Tuesday at Cobo Center during the NAIAS. DEC holds the annual luncheon in concert with the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and CBS 62. (credit: Alexis Tesner/CBS Detroit)

Fouts has denied he made the comments and says he won’t resign over it.

“If what Fouts is saying is true, and somebody faked his voice and put out a tape, somebody committed a felony,” Duggan said.

“He needs to go to the state police today and file a report,” Duggan added. “It’s a very easy thing to do if he’s telling the truth. And if he doesn’t go and file a criminal charge, he needs to resign immediately because it means he’s lying.”

Hackel told Carol Cain, Senior Producer/Host of “Michigan Matters who moderated the riveting luncheon conversation, that the recorded comments were “absolutely unacceptable.”

Hackel called for a federal investigation.

The DEC luncheon was sponsored in tandem with the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which puts on NAIAS, and CBS 62. The annual luncheon is a highlight as nearly 1,000 people gathered at Cobo.

On other issues, the mega-sinkhole in Fraser got the group talking too as the region is facing challenges and will continue to do so with aging infrastructure.

“It’s a multi-billion dollar challenge before us,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “That one sinkhole is going to cost that community about $100 million. And that’s going to happen all over southeast Michigan.”

With businessman Donald Trump taking over as president on Friday, the four leaders all hoped to have a good working relationship with the incoming administration.

Evans said one priority for him this year will be to finish construction of a new Wayne County jail.

When pressed by Cain, he added that he was still waiting to hear from businessmen Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores about their prospective plan to build a Major League Soccer stadium at the same site.

Construction was halted as costs there exceeded its $300 million budget by $90 million.

Duggan also talked about the Pistons pending move to Detroit and its economic impact.

And he teased his re-election plans by mentioning an announcement being held Feb. 4 in Detroit. The first term mayor is up for election this year.

You can hear highlights of the Big Four conversation by watching “Michigan Matters” 11:30 Sunday on CBS 62.

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