Bing and Dumas: Shop until the other shoe drops

Rumors have been floating around for a while now about the influence wielded by Karen Dumas, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s director of communications. The talk has been that Dumas is a divisive presence in an administration that’s seen an unusually high amount of turnover during Bing’s first two years in office.

Well, the scuttlebutt hit the fan today when Rochelle D. Collins, a former executive assistant to Bing, and her husband Oreese Collins Jr. filed a lawsuit against Dumas, Bing and the city, claiming that Rochelle Collins was retaliated against for being a whistleblower.

The administration had launched a pre-emptive strike yesterday before the lawsuit was filed, with Bing saying that, before filing the court action, the Collinses tried to squeeze $750,000 from the city or else “salacious details” would be publicly exposed.

So far, most of the news coverage we’ve seen has focused on big issues, such as the allegation that Bing was conniving with Gov. Rick Snyder to get himself named Detroit’s emergency financial manager.

What is particularly ironic about all this is that Bing, supposedly a guy above reproach, was elected as the anti-Kwame by an electorate suffering from scandal fatigue after enduring through seven years of scoundrel Kilpatrick at the helm.

Now we’re seeing a bit of that history being repeated. You will recall that it was a whistleblower suit filed by cops Gary Brown and Harold Nelthrope that eventually led to Kilpatrick’s downfall after it was proved that he lied on the witness stand.

As is the case now, Kilpatrick’s first response was to characterize the whistleblowers as moneygrubbers out to fleece the city.

But anyone looking to find allegations of Kwame-style scandal in this suit will be disappointed. There’s no mention of any late-night trysts with women wearing fur coats with nothing on underneath or liaisons with hot Jamaican chicks in the back of barbershops.

Instead, we’re offered a picture of a cowed Dave Bing who is securely under the thumb of harpy Dumas.

Aside form the really important stuff, which is sure to be the highlight of every local newscast tonight, there are a few interesting details. Keep in mind, everything in the lawsuit is merely an allegation at this point, but we think now might be a good time to get a pool going, with people laying down money to pick the day Karen Dumas submits a letter of resignation citing “personal reasons.”

And what might those reasons be? Well, if what Collins alleges is indeed true, Dumas could always claim that she’s quitting to enter a rehab program for shopaholics.

We say that because the lawsuit claims that, on an official trip earlier this year to Washington, D.C., Dumas — who had no “legitimate” reason to be on the trip, according to the lawsuit — had the driver of Bing’s car stop so that she could go shopping at a T.J. Maxx store while the mayor, Collins and the driver, a member of Bing’s executive protection unit, cooled their heels in the car.

Later that same day, while on their way to meet with one of Michigan’s U.S. senators, Dumas decided it was instead more important for her to do a bit more shopping, this time at a Burberry store. The meeting with the senator was allegedly canceled, Dumas shopped, and the mayor, Collins and the cop driving them sat and waited again.

No mention was made about what the trio did while they sat there. Played the radio, maybe. Sounds to us like a station featuring uneasy listening would have been entirely appropriate.

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