Flashy Florida Attorney Defends Former Detroit Mayor

Stuart-based attorney Willie Gary (pictured above with his wife) is not shy. On his website, he boasts of his three "posh waterfront offices" and his 32-passenger custom-designed Boeing 737, "appropriately named 'Wings of Justice II.'"  When he posed for a Miami Herald photo, Gary flashed a giant diamond ring. And when embattled former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick retained him, Gary was sure to issue a press release.

Kilpatrick resigned from office late last year after it was revealed that he'd had an affair with his female chief of staff -- and lied about it under oath in a civil lawsuit brought by two city police officers.  The affair was proven when salacious text messages, sent to and from the mayor's city-issued pager, were made public in the course of the lawsuit.  The messages even hint at sexual talk with additional women: "My (expletive) need to be (expletive)!" he wrote in one message released this week. Both Kilpatrick and his mistress served time in jail for obstruction of justice.    

Now Kilpatrick -- with Willie Gary's help -- is blaming his misfortune on Skytel, the pager company, for releasing the messages in the first place.

In a complaint filed yesterday in Mississippi, lawyers wrote, "The City of Detroit provides pagers to certain employees for their use both in pursuit of business for the city and for their personal use."  C.K. Hoffler, a partner in Gary's firm, told the Juice the lawsuit is based on the Stored Communiations Act. "[The Act] is pretty clear on what privacy is expected. And there is no way Mr. Kilpatrick would have released those messages without his consent."   Skytel maintains they were ordered to release the records by the court -- which is a valid reason under the Act.

Willie Gary (who, by the way, has has his share of federal tax liens and pays $28,000 a month in child support from an affair of his own) told teh Herald that he takes most of his cases  on a contingency basis, getting paid only when his clients win in court.  But if he prevails -- on the argument that Skytel owes his client $100 million -- his attorney's fees should be enough for at least one more Bentley.

I left a message with Detroit's city attorney earlier this week to learn about the city's policy was on personal use of pagers. I will update this post if/when the office calls back.

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