Updated at 2:42 p.m.
Less than a day after Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s office confirmed he would form a legal defense fund, the fund has its first controversy.
Television personality Greg Mathis, a former Detroit 36th District Court judge who is the star of the “Judge Mathis” reality court show, announced that – contrary to the mayor’s claims – Mathis is not helping to run the fund.
It had been reported that Mathis would be one of the committee’s leaders.
Mathis today sent the Free Press a fax that said: “I was contacted Wednesday afternoon (March 26, 2008) by Mayor Kilpatrick. He asked if I could serve on his legal defense committee. I informed him I support due process, but I could not support him.
“This is the same type of deceit that has plunged our city into a deep crisis,” Mathis’s statement continued. “Not only do I not support him, but I recommend he resign so the city can heal and move forward.”
The Rev. Horace Sheffield III, pastor, New Galilee Baptist Church, said he is a part of the committee and he is unsure what happened with Mathis.
“I think that it was rather disrespectful,” Sheffield said today. I think he could have politely set the record straight and not been so scathing in his scolding.”
Sheffield said he is friends with Mathis and may call him to ask him why he came out so strong against the mayor.
Kilpatrick was charged this week with eight felony counts related to the dismissal of Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown and lies he told on the witness stand during Brown’s whistle-blower suit against Kilpatrick and the city.
In 2001, Mathis was an active supporter of Gil Hill, whom Kilpatrick defeated in the general election to win his first term as mayor.
Contact M.L. ELRICK at 313-222-6582 or email@example.com. Staff writer Ben Schmitt contributed to this report.