California police investigators are seeking felony charges against Detroit television reporter Steve Wilson for obtaining Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s personal hotel and billing records by impersonating the mayor, reports the Detroit News. Carlsbad, Ca., police, said employees at the luxury La Costa Hotel and Spa said a person identifying himself as Kilpatrick asked them this month for a copy of Kilpatrick’s hotel bill and of a check used to pay for a visit there last summer.
Investigators traced the fax and telephone numbers to Wilson. He used the information as the basis for a series of reports that described how a nonprofit created by the mayor paid the resort $8,605.03 for two rooms used by Kilpatrick and his family. Wilson said, “I have done nothing illegal or unethical,” suggesting perhaps the hotel staff simply assumed they were talking to the mayor. Steve Raphael, president of the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, said it was “very unusual” for criminal charges to be considered against a reporter. He said that ordinarily, newsrooms do not condone reporters impersonating people to obtain information.