Former Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon, appointed by Governor Rick Snyder as the state Treasurer, has resigned from his office to deal with messy divorce that was becoming more and more public as time went on. Dillon, who has also had problems with substance abuse, was recently accused by his ex-wife Carol Owens-Dillon of assault after he tried to take a cell phone from her that she alleges had incriminating texts on it.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce I have tendered my resignation to Governor Snyder,” Dillon said in a statement.
“It has become clear to me — as it likely is to most — that it is unfair to my family and the residents of Michigan, to allow issues related to my recent divorce and the unfortunate acrimony associated with it to be a continued source of media attention and scrutiny.
“My family deserves privacy and our residents deserve to know their State Treasurer is not distracted by such issues and events. For these personal and professional reasons, I have determined it is in the best interests of all that I resign.
The story of their divorce is nearly as sordid as you could imagine, perhaps more so. I have, in fact, declined to write about because it was so tabloidesque. However, with him stepping down, I’m allowing myself this one and only post about it.
According to Owens-Dillon, the incriminating texts resulting in the alleged assault were racist slurs about Owens-Dillon’s African American boyfriend, Detroit News reporter Leonard Fleming. Owens-Dillon had taken a personal protection order out against Fleming though friends say the issue boiled down to Owens-Dillon being jealous of another girlfriend of his. She eventually dropped the suit.
Owens-Dillon also took out a PPO against her ex-husband after the alleged assault and this part is particularly sordid:
Wayne County judge garnished Dillon’s paycheck as Treasurer for failure to pay child support. According to court documents, Dillon owed his ex-wife, Carol Owens-Dillon nearly $5000 for three months of child support. […]
Then last week, the Motor City Muckraker reported that Carol Owens-Dillon filed personal protection order against Dillon claiming, “he rummaged through her Redford home, tried to break into her car and assaulted her in a furious search for racially charged text messages that he had sent from his state-issued phone”.
Dillon also allegedly texted Owens-Dillon’s cell phone threatening to release nude pictures of her engaging in inter-racial sex while doing cocaine. […]
Owens-Dillon alleges in the complaint, that she came home the next day on July 13 to find a drunk Dillon rummaging through her house looking for the copies of the text messages some of which contained racially charged derogatory comments about her African-American boyfriend. Owens-Dillon then claimed the confrontation the got physical, “He lunged at me from a bush and started grabbing and twisting my arms,” she told me. “I called 911, and he left.”
Dillon then used his power as a state official to try to silence his ex-wife. As she went to the Redford police station to file a report, she was confronted by two Michigan State Police Officers who demanded she turn over her ex-husband’s state issued cell phone and then bullied her into not filing a police report.
Dillon’s 17 year-old daughter, Teagan has also filed a personal protection order say that she feels “scared and helpless”. She cited an incident last Thanksgiving when Dillon pushed her mother to the ground in a drunken rage.
Finally, Owens-Dillon posted to her Facebook page the Dillon was having an affair with his administrative assistant, Amy Hichez, who subsequently sued Owens-Dillon.
Did I happen to mention that this is the guy who was in charge of overseeing the cadre of Emergency Managers around the state of Michigan?
Yeah, so, there’s that.
It’s obviously a good thing Dillon is no longer in that position of authority. It does, however, call into question the hiring practices of the Rick Snyder who portrays himself as the consumate businessman. If these are the sorts of decisions he’s made, that is a characterization that I would file under “extremely questionable”.
[CC photo credit: Michigan Municipal League (MML) | Flickr]