City of Flint Communications Director Marjory Raymer sent multiple text messages to East Village Magazine (EVM) since Tuesday night’s publication of a story on Mayor Sheldon Neeley’s allegations that an “electronic surveillance device” was found in the mayor’s office at Flint City Hall.
Neeley defeated incumbent Mayor Karen Weaver Nov. 5 by 205 votes and was sworn in Nov. 11.
At 9:27 p.m. last night, EVM received the following text from Raymer:
“To clarify. That is not a press release that I am sending but I got a copy to send you because you asked.”
Raymer is referring to an image of a document that she texted to EVM yesterday afternoon that stated “press release” on Flint Police Department letterhead. The document was not dated and contained no contact information. It stated:
“The City of Flint Police Department can confirm that one electronic surveillance device was found in an administrative office located within the Mayor’s Office on the first floor of Flint City Hall. The incident remains under investigation and no additional information is being released.”
Along with the photo of the document with “press release” written in its header, Raymer also texted, “Hey pd issued a press release.”
At 10:52 a.m. Wednesday morning, Raymer again texted EVM stating, “Have you updated the article to indicate that the Press Release was issued by the Flint Police Department, but is not one being sent out by the communications department – but was sent to you at your request.”
When asked to call EVM to clarify, Raymer texted at 11:05 a.m., “You included a text message intended only for you and without proper context that the police department issued the press release.”
The story of the device was broken by MLive reporter Zahra Ahmad a half hour before EVM published its story. MLive’s story referred to a “city-issued” press release but did not publish it. Raymer previously worked for the Flint Journal and MLive for more than 15 years.
EVM has requested and is awaiting a return call for further clarification from Flint Police Chief Phil Hart. EVM has not received any documents from the Flint Police Department on the matter.
EVM Contributing Writer Melodee Mabbitt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.