L. Brooks Patterson blasts 'New Yorker' magazine article - KMSP-TV

L. Brooks Patterson blasts 'New Yorker' magazine article

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Paige Williams, Letter from Michigan, “Drop Dead, Detroit!,” The New Yorker, January 27, 2014, p. 32 Paige Williams, Letter from Michigan, “Drop Dead, Detroit!,” The New Yorker, January 27, 2014, p. 32

(WJBK) -- Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says he's "furious" about a magazine article that attributes quotes to him that are critical of Detroit.

Under the headline "Drop Dead, Detroit!" published online Monday by The New Yorker, Patterson is quoted as recommending people don't stop for gas in the city due to the potential for carjacking. He's also quoted as saying Detroit is an "Indian reservation."

The article describes the white Republican as selling the merits of Oakland County while bashing neighboring Detroit, which is more than 80 percent black. Last year, Detroit became largest U.S. city to enter bankruptcy.

Also see: Patterson criticized over Detroit comments in 'The New Yorker'

In an interview with WWJ-AM, Patterson says the article "was a giant betrayal" and he's "furious about it."

Patterson called the story "an absolute hatchet job."

On Tuesday, he released the following statement:

"I regret that something I said 30 years ago is causing such consternation today. I have worked hard to build good relationships with some of the past mayors of Detroit. I do not intend for The New Yorker article to damage my relationship with Mayor Duggan and I look forward to working with him over the next four years.

"I want to remind Mayor Duggan of what I said at the Big 4 Luncheon at the Auto Show last week and these are my true feelings: That I want to work with him, and I want to make sure that any project that he has that I can be supportive of, to give me a call.

"The reporter, Paige Williams, told us she wanted to compare and contrast Detroit and Oakland County: why Oakland County is well managed and why on our southern border a great American city is in bankruptcy. For several days, my staff and I spoke with her about our office management style, the ways we have assisted Detroit, regional success stories such as the Cobo Authority, and the county's major programs that are having a positive impact on the region. We are beyond disappointed that none of those in-depth discussions made it into the article for balance."

Article author Paige Williams tells the Detroit Free Press the piece is a "balanced portrait."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Council President Brenda Jones released the following statement:

"Brooks Patterson's statements were not what you would expect from a regional partner with a vested interest in a strong and healthy Detroit.  We hope he apologizes for this promptly.  The Mayor and Council remain focused on our unified efforts to improve the quality of life in Detroit and we are not going to be distracted by negative comments from anyone."

Civil rights group National Action Network is calling for a meeting with Patterson for a formal apology.

Rev. Charles E. Williams II, president of the National Action Network, says: "We take your words and your context for what it was. And it doesn't matter if you thought the reporter wouldn't report it, or she wouldn't say it or repeat it, the reality is, is you said it and you said it on the record. And you need to apologize on the record - publicly."

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report

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