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Mich. governor, Detroit mayor have strained past
In this July 21, 2003 file photo, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, left, listens as Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm addresses a news conference in Detroit. Michigan's governor and Detroit's embattled mayor have had a strained relationship for years and the tension is bound to escalate when she holds a hearing next week to decide whether to remove him from office for misconduct. - photo by Associated Press
    DETROIT — Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick come from the same powerful Democratic political machine, yet they have had a strained relationship for years.
    And the tension is bound to escalate when she holds a hearing next week to decide whether to remove him from office for misconduct.
    Granholm’s office confirmed Tuesday that the governor would employ a little-used provision in the Michigan Constitution to determine whether Kilpatrick duped the Detroit City Council into endorsing a settlement with three fired police officers for private gain.
    In public, Granholm and Kilpatrick have been cordial toward one another. When the Red Wings, Pistons and Shock won their sport’s championships, the two Democrats typically shared the podium at victory celebrations.
    But Granholm was noticeably absent during a June parade and rally to celebrate the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup win. Kilpatrick, facing criminal charges related to a text-messaging sex scandal, was showered with boos.
    Even though Granholm worked with Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard, during the late Ed McNamara’s years as Wayne County executive, friction has existed between the governor and younger Kilpatrick, their supporters say.
    Kwame Kilpatrick and Granholm have shared handshakes and promises of moving Detroit and Michigan forward, but their relationship has ‘‘never been great,’’ said Adolph Mongo, a Detroit political commentator and Kilpatrick supporter.
    ‘‘She never liked the mayor, and the mayor was lukewarm toward her,’’ he said.
    Some of the tension began in 2002, when Granholm’s camp expected an endorsement in the Democratic gubernatorial primary from the new mayor. He endorsed no one.
    Then, during the general election campaign, Republican opponent Dick Posthumus released a memo written by Kilpatrick proposing that, in return for his help getting votes in November, Granholm should hire Detroit residents to lead powerful state departments and ensure that new buildings were built in the city. Kilpatrick acknowledged writing the memo but said he never sent it.
    Kilpatrick won re-election in 2005 amid a perception that Granholm preferred his opponent, Freman Hendrix. During Granholm’s successful re-election bid, Kilpatrick endorsed her and promised to rev up city voters.
    Granholm has vetoed Republican efforts to restructure the city’s water department. The duo also worked together to establish a regional mass transit system, though courts later invalidated the plan.
    Now, Granholm is facing the prospect of removing the leader of the country’s 11th-largest city and alienating his supporters forever.
    The city council voted in May to ask Granholm to use her executive powers to force Kilpatrick from office for misconduct. Council members claim he misled them into approving the $8.4 million police whistle-blowers’ settlement by not revealing a confidentiality agreement that referenced excerpts of steamy text messages with his then-Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.
    Granholm’s order for the hearing, scheduled to begin Sept. 3, was signed Monday. She declined to answer questions Tuesday in Denver, where she is attending the Democratic National Convention.
    It will be the first time since 1982 that a Michigan governor has considered the removal of an elected official. The target then was a township official who drank too much.
    ‘‘We’re delighted the governor has seen the situation as we do, and as needing to be resolved by a public hearing,’’ said William Goodman, attorney for the council.
    Kilpatrick’s attorney, Sharon McPhail, said she was disappointed with Granholm’s decision.
    ‘‘We intend to present evidence that proves the mayor did not misuse public funds for personal gain and that there was no failure to appropriately inform City Council about the facts of the court-ordered settlement,’’ McPhail said.
    If Granholm decides against removing Kilpatrick, the mayor still would be removed from office if convicted of any of the 10 felony charges against him.
    Kilpatrick and Beatty are charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and other counts as a result of their testimony in the civil trial in 2007.
    The mayor’s legal troubles worsened in July. When two investigators in the perjury case tried to deliver a subpoena to a friend, Kilpatrick confronted them on the porch of his sister’s home.
    Detective Brian White says the mayor shoved him into his partner and uttered a string of expletives. Kilpatrick was charged with assault. His legal team claims it was a setup.
    Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, a Democrat who has worked closely with Granholm and Kilpatrick, said their relationship had tensions early on in their first terms.
    ‘‘Then they seem to have come together to work together,’’ said Ficano, who has called for the mayor to step down. ‘‘The relationship was professional. They both wanted to be able to obtain certain things for the success of both the city and the state.’’
    Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, a Republican who has worked with Kilpatrick and Granholm on regional issues, characterized the duo’s relationship as ‘‘cordial and not overly warm.’’
    ‘‘The mayor has defended his city. The governor has defended the state,’’ he said.
    David Eggert reported from Lansing, Mich. Associated Press writer Kathy Barks Hoffman in Denver also contributed to this report.

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