Councilman Michael Brooks resigns amid allegations of workplace - KCTV5

Councilman Michael Brooks resigns amid allegations of workplace violence

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Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks has resigned from the City Council amid allegations of workplace violence. Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks has resigned from the City Council amid allegations of workplace violence.
The councilman told KCTV5's Eric Chaloux his resignation is effective Jan. 2, 2015. (Eric Chalous/KCTV5 News) The councilman told KCTV5's Eric Chaloux his resignation is effective Jan. 2, 2015. (Eric Chalous/KCTV5 News)

Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks said Wednesday that he is resigning from the City Council.

His resignation comes amid allegations of workplace violence. The councilman said the resignation is effective Jan. 2. Brooks has repeatedly denied the allegations.

"Due to the ongoing media circus, and out of concern for my family, loved ones, colleagues, church members and citizens of Kansas City, as well as myself, I believe it is in everyone's best interest to take this action at this time," he said in his resignation letter. "Sometime ago, I made the decision to not to run for reelection, and based on all that has occurred, I feel it is not prudent for me to continue my duties at this time."

City Attorney Bill Geary on Tuesday had recommended that the council undertake a public hearing about the allegations and consider disciplining Brooks. Geary had wanted the council to vote on Thursday to set a hearing, possibly as soon as next month.

Brooks' aide alleged that Brooks repeatedly initiated "unwanted touching" that escalated into punching and choking her.

Picerno said his client wanted to avoid "the public spectacle of a trial before the City Council and potentially somewhere else."

It wasn't immediately clear Wednesday how Brooks' resignation could affect the police investigation. A special prosecutor is expected to be appointed to consider the case.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said Wednesday afternoon that he and Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo favor the council appointing a candidate to fill Brooks' term that won't run for the open seat next year. James said appointing a candidate for the seat would give that person an unfair advantage.

James declined comment on Brooks' resignation, saying it wasn't his place to make judgement on "who is right or wrong."

In an afternoon news conference, Brooks' defense attorney, John Picerno, said the ongoing publicity has made it difficult to perform his duties as councilman. Brooks sat beside Picerno but declined to comment.

In November, Brooks' aide contacted city officials including City Manager Troy Schulte to report that her boss had choked and assaulted her. The aide contacted Schulte within hours of the alleged attack, according to documents obtained by KCTV5.

The email from the aide to Schulte immediately prompted actions by top city administrators including reassigning the aide and hiring an outside agency to investigate the issue. The Kansas City Police Department is also investigating.

In emails to his colleagues, Brooks denied the allegations, calling it "a big misunderstanding."

KCTV5 filed Sunshine Law requests for the documents after learning last week that the aide had accused Brooks of attacking her in his office about 4:50 p.m. on Election Day. KCTV5 continues to review those documents, including travel records. Brooks has come under fire for attending conferences but not staying at the convention hotel where costs are lower and some have said they didn't see him at conference sessions.

The 45-year-old aide, who KCTV5 is not identifying because she hasn't come forward to publicly discuss the issue, went to police on Nov. 9, saying that Brooks had choked her with his hands and her own belt.

Brooks said there are a few projects with the Health Commission, Violence Free KC Committee, and Head Start Advisory Board that he would like to complete and pass on to other leadership.

"There are personnel issues I need to speak with the Director of HR about. I will clear out my office over the holidays. If that is not desirable on your part please just let me know," he said.

The Baptist minister and father of four became embroiled in a sexting scandal earlier in his tenure that allegedly led to him being blackmailed to get city tax dollars for a community event that never occurred.

In 2013, Brooks told reporters he went to the FBI to report a blackmail attempt by the woman he had a salacious online relationship with.He said he had spoken to FBI agents about her attempt to blackmail him, and would not comment in detail. He said the woman he was involved with tried to extort $60,000 from him. He said they both exchanged lurid pictures.

"The involvement with the lady was a mistake. I've apologized to my family. I've apologized to my church. I've apologized to the council people, and I'll apologize to the public now on camera," he said.

But Brooks insisted that relationship and her blackmail effort had nothing to do with the city funding issued to bring boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. to Kansas City to speak to at-risk youth. That event fell apart, and Mayweather never came and a substitute speaker was not found.

"I want to apologize for the horrible lack of judgement concerning my involvement with this lady. It was a terrible mistake and totally out of line," Brooks wrote at the time.

KCTV5's Eric Chaloux contributed to this report.

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