Don Williamson

Last updated
Don Williamson
91st Mayor of Flint, Michigan
In office
2003 February 15, 2009
Preceded by James W. Rutherford [1]
Succeeded by Michael Brown (temporary)
Personal details
Born(1934-02-02)February 2, 1934
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
DiedApril 2, 2019(2019-04-02) (aged 85)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Patsy Lou Williamson

Donald J. Williamson (February 2, 1934 – April 2, 2019) was an American businessman and politician who served as the mayor of Flint, Michigan from 2003 to 2009. He was married to Patsy Lou Williamson, who owns several car dealerships in the Flint area. He was chairman of The Colonel's International, Inc., which manages two raceways.

Flint, Michigan City in Michigan, United States

Flint is the largest city and seat of Genesee County, Michigan, United States. Located along the Flint River, 66 miles (106 km) northwest of Detroit, it is a principal city within the region known as Mid Michigan. According to the 2010 census, Flint has a population of 102,434, making it the seventh largest city in Michigan. The Flint metropolitan area is located entirely within Genesee County. It is the fourth largest metropolitan area in Michigan with a population of 425,790 in 2010. The city was incorporated in 1855.



Williamson was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. He married Patsy Lou, and together they managed a growing number of car dealerships.

In 1962, Williamson was convicted for several business scams. He served three years in prison before being paroled. He bought cars with bad checks and purchased other items without paying for them. [2]

Parole is the early release of a prisoner who agrees to abide by certain conditions, originating from the French parole. The term became associated during the Middle Ages with the release of prisoners who gave their word.

Non-sufficient funds (NSF) is a term used in the banking industry to indicate that a cheque cannot be honored because insufficient funds are available in the account on which the instrument was drawn. An NSF check is often referred to as a bad check, dishonored check, bounced check, cold check, rubber check, returned item, or hot check. In England and Wales and Australia, such checks are typically returned marked "Refer to Drawer", an instruction to contact the person issuing the check for an explanation as to why the check was not honored.

Williamson owned Brainerd International Raceway and Colonel's. He merged them into The Colonel's International, Inc. [3]

Brainerd International Raceway

Brainerd International Raceway is a road course, and dragstrip racing complex northwest of the city of Brainerd, Minnesota. The complex has a 0.25-mile (0.402 km) dragstrip, and overlapping 2.5-mile (4.023 km) and 3.1-mile (4.989 km) road courses. The complex also includes a kart track. The raceway hosts the National Hot Rod Association's Lucas Oil Nationals. It is a popular racetrack for the Trans Am Series. The spectator seating capacity of the circuit is 20,000.

Political life

In 1999 Don Williamson challenged incumbent Mayor Woodrow Stanley and lost. After Stanley was recalled, Williamson was elected to his first full term in 2002, defeating former State Representative Floyd Clack. Willamson faced off against Flint Club founder and former president, Dayne Walling, in 2007, when he won reelection. [4]

Woodrow Stanley, a Democratic Party politician, is a former member of the Michigan House of Representatives from the 34th District. He was a former mayor of Flint, until he was recalled from office in 2002.

Floyd Clack is a Michigan educator and politician who currently serves as a member of the Eastern Michigan University (EMU)board of regents. Among other offices he has served as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives.

Dayne Walling American politician

Dayne Walling is an American politician who was the mayor of Flint, Michigan from 2009 to 2015. Walling is a member of the Democratic Party.

Election controversy

During his 2007 mayoral campaign, Williamson was accused of bribing citizens for votes by handing out more than $20,000 at the car dealership that his wife owns as part of a "Customer Appreciation Day." Each person who received money also was given his campaign literature. [5]

During the 2007 campaign, Williamson claimed that the city had an $8.9 million surplus. But, after the mayoral elections, he revealed that the city had a $4 million deficit. Williamson had to fire 60 city employees: he proposed firing 60 police officers and 9 firefighters, and closing the city jail.[ citation needed ]

In both elections, Williamson, a Democrat, was opposed by the state Democratic party for a variety of reasons. They disapproved of him and his wife having made substantial campaign donations to the presidential campaigns of Republican George W. Bush. They contributed the maximum amount. [5]


The Williamson administration had reported a balanced budget for fiscal year 2005, 2006 and delivered a balanced budget for fiscal year 2007. The City of Flint received a national budget award for 2006.[ citation needed ] After he replaced the Budget Director, and the city began a downward spiral of "emergency spending", leading to the city finishing the 2007-08 fiscal year with an $8.3 million deficit, and likely staring at another multimillion-dollar deficit in 2009. [6] In March 2009, projections were for the deficit to exceed 14 million dollars. [7]

Williamson appointed Darryl Buchanan, a city councilman, as the City Administrator after his second term election. [8] At present, the city is in a $9 million deficit, much of it due to the various lawsuits against Don Williamson.

In February 2008, Williamson sued Flint city clerk Inez Brown for not convening a panel to investigate "her profane and threatening" language with an employee. [9] During the Flint mayoral election, Williamson said that paving of hundreds of miles of roads was one of his proudest achievements as mayor. [2]

Time magazine ranked Flint the "most dangerous city in America" in a 2007 issue. The 14th Annual CQ press publication of "Most Dangerous Cities in America" ranked Flint as third. [10] Residents and officials disputed this study. [11]

Recall campaign

On October 2008, petitions were submitted in the city clerk's office to recall Williamson as mayor. There were enough valid signatures to proceed. Williamson's legal challenges were unsuccessful, and a recall election was scheduled for February 24, 2009. [12]


Williamson began making major changes in department heads. He replaced the City Administrator, Darryl Buchanan, with Michael Brown, and appointed Buchanan to the nonexistent position of deputy mayor. [13] On February 8, 2009, Williamson announced his resignation as mayor effective Saturday, February 14, stating health reasons. [14]

Because he resigned, under Michigan law, the scheduled recall election was canceled. On February 16, 2009, city administrator Michael Brown succeeded as temporary mayor. [15]

Williamson ran for governor of Michigan in 2010. [16]


Williamson died on April 2, 2019 at the age of 85 due to complications from a respiratory illness. [17]

Related Research Articles

Swartz Creek, Michigan City in Michigan, United States

Swartz Creek is a city in Genesee County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,758 at the 2010 census. The city is a suburb of Flint and has incorporated land formerly within Flint Charter Township, Gaines Township, and Clayton Township, but is administratively autonomous from all three.

Booth Newspapers, or Booth Michigan, was a media company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Booth owned eight newspapers in the state of Michigan. Founded by George Gough Booth with his two brothers, Booth Newspapers was sold to Advance Publications, which purchased it in 1976 for $305 million, a record at the time.

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Darnell Earley is an American public administrator and municipal manager. Formerly the city manager of Saginaw, Michigan and emergency manager of Flint, Michigan, Earley served as temporary mayor of Flint after the recall of Woodrow Stanley. Earley was appointed emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools system in January 2015. He resigned that position in February 2016.

James W. Rutherford was a mayor of the City of Flint, Michigan serving as the first "strong" mayor elected under Flint's 1974 charter. Rutherford served for two terms. Rutherford was elected as a caretaker mayor after the recall of Mayor Stanley was recalled and an Emergency Financial Manager, Ed Kurtz, was appointed by the state.

The City of Flint has operated under at least four charters. The City is currently run under its 1974 charter that gives the city a Strong Mayor form of government. It is also instituted the appointed independent office of Ombudsman, while the city clerk is solely appointed by the City Council. The City Council is composed of members elected from the city's nine wards.

Michael Brown is the former city administrator and former emergency manager of Flint, Michigan, US. He also served as temporary mayor and city administrator of Flint after the resignation of Don Williamson.

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On June 21, 2017, airport police Lt. Jeff Neville was stabbed in the neck at Bishop International Airport in the city of Flint, Michigan, in the United States. The man, Amor Ftouhi, reportedly yelled "Allahu akbar" during the attack and was travelling on a Canadian passport. Bomb sniffing dogs searched the evacuated airport, finding nothing. He was charged with violence at an international airport and interfering with airport security. He was later charged with committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries. Found guilty of all three charges in November 2018, he was sentenced to life in prison in April 2019.


  1. PRIMARY ELECTION Archived 2013-11-01 at the Wayback Machine GENESEE COUNTY, MICHIGAN TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2002
  2. 1 2 Mary Ann Chick Whiteside (May 2007). "Don Williamson |". (Flint Journal. Retrieved 2012-04-26.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  3. . he sold Brainerd International Raceway to Jed & Kristi Copham in 2006."Brainerd Int'l Raceway Hosts Memorial Day Carnival and Drag Races"
  4. Raymer, Marjory (2007-08-09). "Two white candidates make history". Flint Journal . Flint, Michigan: Booth Newspapers . Retrieved 2009-01-06.
  5. 1 2 Marjory Raymer (November 2007). "Walling, Williamson start final push". Flint Journal. Retrieved 2012-04-26.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. "New Flint administration announces deficit", Flint Journal, February 2009 [ permanent dead link ]
  7. "Flint's budget deficit is $14.3 million", Flint Journal , March 2009, [ permanent dead link ]
  8. "Flint Mayor Don Wiliamson appoints longtime community leader Mike Brown as new city administrator to replace Darryl Buchanan". Flint Journal. April 19, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2009.
  9. Flint Journal photo (February 2008). "Flint Mayor Don Williamson sues Flint City Clerk Inez Brown". Flint Journal. Retrieved 2012-04-26.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. CNN Archived from the original on April 17, 2008.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. Julie Morrison. "Residents, officials dispute study that labels Flint third most dangerous city |". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  12. Archived January 27, 2009, at
  13. "Mayor of Flint, Michigan resigns for health reasons". Wikinews. WikiMedia Foundation. February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  14. "Flint Mayor Don Williamson resigns". Flint Journal . Flint, Michigan: Booth Newspapers. February 9, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  15. of Flint, Michigan resigns for health reasons%5d%5d "Mayor of Flint, Michigan resigns for health reasons" Check |url= value (help). Wikinews . Wikimedia Foundation. February 11, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2009.[ dead link ]
  16. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2016.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. "Former Flint Mayor Don Williamson passes away". WJRT-TV. April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
Political offices
Preceded by
James W. Rutherford
Mayor of Flint, Michigan
Succeeded by
Michael Brown, Temporary
(City Administrator)