For now, cooler heads prevail in city attorney matter

It’s understandable that people are upset with City Attorney James Allen.
Even James Allen is upset with James Allen.
There are some who say the city should fire Allen for the language he used in emails to a man who was paralyzed in a drive-by shooting.
That person, Charles Blackwell, is a government watchdog who has been filing Freedom of Information Act requests with various municipalities and has become an irritant for some city officials.
Blackwell is suing Allen and the City of Hamtramck. If we were betting folks, we’d say there is a good chance that the lawsuit will be tossed out.
But that’s a different matter.
What residents and city officials need to do is take a step back, and look at the repercussions of firing Allen and his law firm — which was, in fact, a proposal that didn’t get any support among a majority of the city council.
There is no way one can excuse the language Allen used in his emails to Blackwell. Vile and reprehensible are two words that come to mind.
Allen needs to take a break and look deep inside himself. He says he was goaded by Blackwell, who made some inappropriate comments to him.
The thing is, attorneys are held to a higher standard. Allen admits he reached a breaking point, and then used poor judgment. Allen is a good attorney, and he has been in the forefront of a lot of civil rights issues and progressive politics.
What Allen wrote is egregious but, in the long history of attorneys acting badly, we’ve seen worse – which is no excuse, certainly. We know there are some who say there can be no forgiveness in this matter.
They may indeed be right about this. We can’t entirely disagree.
But given time, the wounds Allen caused will heal.
Posted Oct. 22, 2021

4 Responses to For now, cooler heads prevail in city attorney matter

  1. Fatema Hossain

    October 23, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    Jim Allen has been a Godsend for the City of Hamtramck in a number of ways, including his work free of charge in saving the Yemeni mural on Joseph Campau Ave.

    Jim Allen has enjoyed the support of City Council for his directing of the city’s legal affairs and his personal skillful direction in negotiating labor agreements with the public service unions representing city workers.

    He is a Lebanese-American and one of the few city department heads who have ever served in Hamtramck. The Arab-American community in Hamtramck has given him unwavering support throughout this ordeal – this controversy is being paraded around by those who previously had some axe to grind with him.

    Allen has apologized and it is time for the city to move past this and reinstate a valuable provider of professional services to this city.

  2. Nasr Hussain

    October 24, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    “…. including his work free of charge in saving the Yemeni mural on Joseph Campau Ave.”

    I am pretty sure he charged for it as it was listed in the register of invoices posted by the city in the council agenda.

  3. Mark M. Koroi

    October 24, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Several observations regarding poor judgment by City Attorney James P Allen, Sr.:

    (A) Mr. Allen apparently did not seek a personal protection order from any court despite feeling the communications from Mr. Blackwell were harassing in nature;

    (B) Mr. Allen injudiciously made admittedly disparaging and crass reply communications to Mr. Blackwell;

    (C) Mr. Allen further created an electronic “paper trial of these injudicious statements when he delivered them via e-mail to Mr. Blackwell.

    One question is what is the City Manager doing to end the “leave” status that Allen is currently in? Is Allen under current city investigation in an attempt to come up with findings and a report and final disposition whether he will continue. The City of Hamtramck needs the guidance of an experienced chief legal officer.

    There is nothing on the City Council agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting that addresses Mr. Allen’s status and no law firm has filed an appearance in federal court in the Blackwell civil rights case to defend the city – although the Collins Einhorn & Farrell law firm in Southfield has appeared in that action in defense of Mr. Allen.

  4. Mark M. Koroi

    October 28, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    Marc Deldin filed an appearance yesterday as the defense counsel for the City of Hamtramck in the Blackwell action in federal court.

    He, Mr. Deldin, does not appear to be a part of the Allen Bros, PLLC law firm.

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