Professor mayor

By Joel Thurtell

Butch Hollowell, Mike Duggan’s mouthpiece, claims there was nothing to hide in his private emails to minions of Matty Moroun last spring as city officials cut the land swap deal involving Detroit’s Riverside Park.

If there was nothing secret about the deal, why did Mayor Duggan’s staff lie to Wayne State University journalism students who asked to see the written deal?

Class reporters Alexander Franzen and Timothy Carroll asked for the document on May 12 and again on May 14. The students were taking a Wayne State University investigative reporting class taught by me. The week-long assignment for eight students was to dig into the land deal between Mike and Matty.

Duggan staffers told the students the swap was only “an idea” and did not exist as a record.

After the WSU reporters’ departure from Duggan’s office on May 14, staff from the mayor’s office sent the agreement to City Council. The following day, a friend outside government sent me a copy of the agreement that came from a council member.

Something more than a mere “idea,” the multi-page document is dated April 29 and was notarized on May 4. It was a paper record, not just an “idea.”

The students were bamboozled by Duggan’s henchmen, presumably following Mike’s orders.

What does that make Mike?

A superb teacher.

I wanted my students to learn I.F. Stone’s maxim that reporters should assume officials are prima facie liars until they prove otherwise.

Thanks for the lesson, Mike!


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