Warren Mayor Jim Fouts prides himself on being an honest guy, so why did FOX 2 catch him trying to sneak into a Secretary of State branch before the office even opened?
We've all spent too much time waiting in long lines at the Secretary of State. Apparently if you're the mayor of Warren and you still haven't taken care of that expired license from four months ago, you can go to the head of the line or, better yet, you can go around back and get in before the place even opens.
"You have enough respect for the mayor of Warren to open up for him at 10:00 a.m. All these people in line with me would love to get in at 10:00 a.m. to handle their business, as well," said Carin Poole.
She was waiting for the Secretary of State office to open. Wednesday hours at the branch of Van Dyke in Sterling Heights say 11:00 a.m.
However, FOX 2 got a tip that Warren Mayor Jim Fouts would be coming by around 10:00 a.m. to take care of his expired license -- a license that expired back in August.
That wouldn't seem like a big deal, but Mayor Fouts is a standup guy and he was alarmed to hear he had been driving on an expired license when FOX 2 talked to him back in August.
"It's an embarrassing situation. It's never happened to me before and I'm not happy about it," Fouts told FOX 2's Bill Gallagher back then. "It's an embarrassing situation that will have to be taken care of as soon as possible."
There was some discrepancy with state records that showed his age to be 67 and federal records that had a different date of birth, so the mayor was told to get his birth certificate to renew his license.
Wednesday morning, the mayor showed up bright and early to take care of it 50 minutes before the office actually opened. The passenger in a black Charger, his driver took him straight to the back door. However, when we showed up as well, they took off leaving us shaking our heads and wondering why he couldn't just stand in line like everybody else.
Over at City Hall, we were told he was in a meeting, so maybe that's why he needed to get into the branch while everybody else had to wait.
"He should be able to wait in line like everyone else, I believe," said Mike Williams, who was waiting in line.
"We need to stop with all this preferential treatment for all these elected officials. Enough is enough," Poole said.
"Personally, I think he's a pretty good guy, but I don't believe he should be using the back door to take care of his license. Come in the front door like the rest of the general public. But other than that he's a hell of a guy," said John Gorniak, who was also waiting in line.
We contacted the Secretary of State to see if it's common for public officials to get preferential treatment. They say they don't discuss their interactions with individual customers.
We're still waiting on a response from Mayor Fouts.