Inglewood Mayor James Butts is facing growing scrutiny this week as his former executive assistant Melanie McDade is alleging that he harassed and stalked her during the last year.
In November McDade was told that she would be fired for reasons ranging from contacting city employees after being suspended last July to having others run city errands for her.
In response, McDade revealed that she and Mayor Butts had had a romantic relationship since the beginning of the decade. After she broke off the affair in 2018, McDade alleges that he retaliated. She contends that he started to work to get her fired from city hall and that he constantly stalked and threatened her. In addition to texting harassment and threats, Butts supposedly kept trying to confront her, including by entering her house through the garage on numerous occasions.
“The things that they say Ms. McDade has done, we say Mayor Butts has done more or even worse,” said her attorney Carl Douglas.
The City of Inglewood has denied these allegations, claiming that they are “pursuing ulterior motives.”
The allegations come at a time when Mayor Butts is poised to be in the national and international spotlight. SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, which has been expected to be the catalyst for Inglewood’s revival, is scheduled to open in 2020 as the home to the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. Butts would also be mayor during LA’s first Super Bowl in almost three decades in 2022. Renovations to the Forum and a new arena planned to be built in Inglewood for the Los Angeles Clippers were expected to cement his legacy in turning around the Los Angeles suburb.
Now it’s all up in the air.
“This was supposed to be James Butts’ legacy,” said Patricia Hatcher, a developer’s assistant in Southern California. “Many companies have been going after these projects, and that’s the feeling we got. I mean, we get that from every mayor because most want to stick their name on something or at least use a big project as a way to get reelected or move up. But for all the stadiums and developments, this was his thing. He was going to be the mayor to bring in the new stadium.”
“I can’t speak to if these allegations are true. But what I can say is, that if they are, in this world where people now remember you more for the wrongs, especially anything sexual, he’s sealed his fate. Firms I’ve worked for have had people who had parks named after them stripped of their name because of improprieties. And no matter what, if true, it will always overshadow what he would do, and that includes ‘hosting’ the Super Bowl.”
“He’s going to fight this and I don’t blame him. He’s fighting for his legacy now.”
McDade’s firing decision by the city of Inglewood is expected this week. If she is indeed fired, she has promised a lawsuit to keep her job, as well as make the city hall “free of pervasive harassment.”
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