FLINT, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — An official at an agency that manages the sale, rehabilitation and demolition of tax foreclosed homes in Genesee County has resigned after an audio recording of him using a racial slur to describe black people was posted online.
Environmental activist Chelsea Lyons tells NBC affiliate WEYI she set up camp in Flint with other activists a few weeks ago. She also works with a group called “Truth Against the Machine,” which posted the recordings online.
“Flint has the same problems as Detroit, (expletive) don’t pay their bills, believe me, I deal with them,” a male voice says in the recording. Lyons says that voice belongs to then-Genesee County employee Phil Stair, who is white.
Lyons said she met Stair at a Flint restaurant.
“He knows me from no one and within an hour he was just talking and saying the most horrendous things. I never at any point expected to hear the things I heard,” Lyons told WEYI.
“He called them derelicts among several other names, so to me it seems he cares nothing for the people who live here,” she added.
Philip Stair apologized for his comments in his resignation letter to the Genesee County Land Bank dated Monday.
“I feel that I cannot carry out nor be effective in my position at the Land Bank with the social media recorded of my private opinion on the Flint Water crisis and the insensitive language used. I am deeply sorry for what I said and those I offended. I do not know how I can face my friends and co-workers,” Stair wrote in the letter obtained by WEYI.
“He was very open about the fact that they were trying to push minority groups, people of color, poor people out of particular neighborhoods,” said Lyon.
But the executive director for the land bank is skeptical.
“I don’t think that that’s the case,” said Michele Wildman of the Genesee County Land Bank. “But we’re going to have conversations about it.”
A home telephone number for Stair is disconnected.