Kelly said racist terms used during conversation about being a better Davenport alderman

Tim Kelly said a fellow alderman used the n-word when discussing how to be a better alderman and represent the Black community in Davenport.
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:33 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Ald. Tim Kelly has accused another councilman of using the n-word after a city meeting in August.

Now more than a month later, Kelly says he’s coming forward because nothing is being done.

Kelly said fellow alderman, Robbie Ortiz, made the comments during an informal chat in council chambers after a meeting in August.

Here’s how Kelly says it happened:

“We were actually having a discussion on being better aldermen, how to come and do our jobs and enjoy doing our jobs. And I said you guys are racially insensitive to things that go on for me and my community, and I need you to pay more attention to these things. I said the days of Archie Bunker, honky and negro are over. And Ald. Ortiz just unleashed: That’s hard for me because I say what’s up n—, hey n—, that’s my n—. I looked at my surroundings, they kind of looked at me, and then I thought I’m done.”

When asked if anyone defended him, Kelly said it was crickets.

Ortiz didn’t respond to an email sent Tuesday morning.

It’s all part of a larger problem at City Hall, Kelly said, where some aldermen are in-the-know about city issues, while others aren’t getting information from the staffers.

This comes as the council removed Ald. Derek Cornette Sept. 7 after he was accused of sexually harassing city staffers.

Kelly said he doesn’t excuse Cornette’s behavior, but he does wonder why sexual harassment warrants removal from office, but saying the n-word isn’t being investigated.

On Monday Mayor Mike Matson told KWQC that that he’d offered to address the matter with Kelly, but that Kelly declined.

On Tuesday, Kelly said he did talk to the mayor after the council meeting but didn’t feel comfortable with how the city might handle it.

Kelly says there’s more to the story. He said he also reached out to the city administrator and the council’s attorney.

Meanwhile, Cornette is looking for a temporary injunction that would prevent city leaders from removing him from office.