I remember several months ago hearing something about a Detroit school board member who was found out to be functionally illiterate. Apparently this member wrote an email to someone and the email was filled with all sorts of grammatical errors. After that email became public the school board member, Otis Mathis, admitted that he was functionally illiterate.
Oh and did I mention that Otis Mathis was not just a school board member but the president of the school board for Detroit Public Schools!
Well apparently in Detroit being functionally illiterate does not preclude one from being the president of the school board because he kept his job.
A fellow Detroit school board member, LaMar Lemmons Jr., when talking about Mr. Mathis' emails is quoted as saying, "I told him just last week that he should have his e-mails read by somebody before he sends them out."
All of this happened early this past spring.
So you might think that after it was revealed that he was illiterate Mr. Mathis might have considered himself very lucky to have his job and would mind his P's and Q's, right? Wrong.
Fast forward to this past June 16th. Mr. Mathis was in a private meeting with the then Detroit Schools Superintendent Teresa Gueyser and according to a complaint she filed, Mr. Mathis, "Fondled himself" during the meeting.
From Ms. Gueyser's complaint:
"On this day, President Mathis continued to fondle his genital area for approximately 20 minutes, or the entire time I was talking. He then unzipped his pants and pulled a handkerchief from his left pocket, put the handkerchief in his right hand and put his right hand with the handkerchief in the zipper area of his pants appearing to wipe himself. He then re-zipped and unzipped his pants again; again placing the hand with the handkerchief inside the zipper area; this time moving his hand as if to be masturbating in front of me."
So this guy, Mr. Mathis, is not only illiterate but he's a perv as well.
And according to Teresa Gueyser this was not the first time he had done something like this. This apparently was the straw that broke the camel's back though because she filed the complaint right after this meeting.
But that's not the end of the story.
After Ms. Gueyser filed this complaint, Mr. Mathis resigned from his job. Only to then rescind his resignation after getting support from some school board members. One member, Reverend David Murray, seemed not only supportive but willing to make an excuse for Mr. Mathis.
Reverend Murray said, "He’s a young man; maybe he didn’t know it was offensive to her. It’s not something I would do. He’s a young man. That’s just the way it is."
By the way, Mr. Mathis was 56 years-old at the time of the incident.
Fortunately Mr. Mathis was not allowed to withdraw his resignation and had to step down from his position as president of the school board.
On August 12 Mr. Mathis was arraigned in Detroit on felony and misdemeanor charges of misconduct in office and obscene conduct charges. He faces up to five years in prison.
And if you think the foolishness of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick or the story I've outlined above is the end of the sad Detroit story, it's not. There is another text messaging scandal in Detroit. This time it's the former police chief and a very pretty police lieutenant.
I really hope someone somewhere is writing a soap opera about Detroit politicians.
Correction: Regarding the latest text-message scandal; apparently it's the acting chief of police in Detroit who is mixed up in the latest text scandal, not former chief Warren Evans above. Evans however is involved because he exposed the text messages between his replacement Ralph Godbee and Detroit police Lt. Monique Patterson, above. But it appears that at some point Lt. Patterson may have dated Evans as well. I'm scratching my head. Sorry about the error but it's really difficult to keep up with all the scandals in Detroit.