Never one to hold his tongue or back down from a bold statement, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson doubled down on a fire-breathing letter he wrote to the Oakland County Chamber of Commerce leaders regarding a new business group with a regional focus.
The informal alliance of CEOs has been discussing economic development opportunities in southeast Michigan. In a letter to the Oakland chamber, LBP says it seems like an effort to locate more business in Detroit, rather than Oakland County.
As The Detroit News and multiple other news sources report today:
Patterson met with members of Oakland County's chamber of commerce Thursday at county offices, then spoke with reporters afterward. He was asked if he would consider joining the regional CEOs group.
He replied: "Oh, hell no. I'd rather join the Klan."
Alrighty then! He later walked back the comment, apologizing for "a poor choice of words." (Full statement is below.)
Patterson has a history of off-the-cuff statements that others consider insensitve, rude or worse. In 2006, a public spat with then-Detroit City Councilwoman Barbara-Rose Collins led her to state: "Blacks aren't owned by white folks anymore." Patterson shot back: "I'd rather own a 1947 Buick than own Barbara-Rose Collins."
Dozens of similar comments exist, part of what made Patterson a go-to source for many Metro Detroit journalists. Tellingly, he made this latest statement in front of a bouquet of microphones, and then acknowledges he can't resist an inclination to "purposely engage in hyperbole."