Former Mayor Drinnon Responds

Under normal circumstances I wouldn't take the time or effort to respond to criticism or accusations regarding my personal character, however, due to the recent article published by the local newspaper in regards to my recent resignation from the Mayor's office, I felt that I should offer some kind of response since Detective Patrick Upton felt that it was proper and professional to cast my integrity in a negative light. Now, the bottom line is, that, people that KNOW me will pay no attention to Detective Upton's malicious statements. However, people that aren't aware of my personal character will be led to assume that I am a crook based on Upton's remarks to the press.

Here's the real story. I discovered some missing checks from the City of Philadelphia's check book. I went directly to Detective Upton with the information I had at the time. I willing provided both Upton and the State Comptroller unrestricted access to the City's banking information. As the investigation proceeded some earlier checks were identified as forgeries. The culprit of these forgeries was determined to be one of my closest friends, Rustin Key. Rustin spoke with Detective Upton and confessed to acquiring the checks from my residence without my knowledge. He confessed to forging at least two of the checks and using his cousins ID to cash the checks. He also indicated to Mr. Upton that the other checks in his possession were taken from him without his knowledge and forged by his brother Robert Key and Robert's two roommate's, Rodney Vite and Alessandra Gates (neither of whom I know). Rustin advised Officer Upton that he would turn himself into the Sheriffs office to be charged, but has failed to do so up to this point.

From the very beginning of this ordeal the Sheriff's department has been aware of my relationship with Rustin. I advised LT. Upton that I had been close friends with the family for many years. I made sure that he knew that Rustin had lived in my home until the first of August but was asked to leave because of a developed addiction to painkillers which had led him to become untrustworthy in our home. However, Upton insisted that I somehow had some role in this crime, when the truth is, that the culprit of the stolen checks is Rustin Key.

Detective Upton visited my home while I was away in Florida with the kids from my church to harass my Wife and another young man from my church who currently stays in our home, insisting that he had information that Rustin was coming and going from my house at night. The truth is, the only valid information about Rustin's whereabouts has been provided to him by myself and my wife. It appears to me that Detective Upton only investigates the people who are easy to locate. How about the people who are selling their prescriptions out of their kitchen door. Would it not make since to search for an opiate addict in those locations. But of course that would require some effort. So, instead, why not just make misleading personal accusations to the media in an attempt to assassinate the character of someone who has given his life to love the unlovable, help the helpless and provide hope to the hopeless.

As I read the article in the News Herald I noticed several misleading statements. The statement that the forged checks were signed by myself and Angel. Not true. Apparently, if they had been sign by myself and Angel they would NOT have been considered forged, since that is the duty of the Mayor and City Recorder as prescribed by the City Charter. I know Angel's signature and handwriting, and I certainly know my own, and I, nor her wrote or signed those checks. They may have our name on them but not our signature.

The newspaper article was also somewhat misleading when it quoted me as saying that the people responsible for this incident are near and dear to my heart, and then noting that Vite and Gates have been charged in the crime. It is true that Vite and Gates have been charged but I DO NOT know them. The reference I was making in my resignation was to my relationship to Rustin Key and his brother Robbie.

It was also stated that Rustin was Angel's boyfriend at the time of this incident. It is certainly true that Angel and Rustin were seeing each other for over a year prior to this incident, however they had not been together since late winter. For a matter of fact, Angel has been seeing a fine young man from Athens since early spring. This young man has a stable job and has became an active participant in my church over the past few months.

It was also stated that I had not appeared at several City Council Meetings. Once again, not true. I missed the October meeting. But, that absence was pre-planned to take our church kids on an annual outing to Florida. And, since I tendered my resignation prior to the November meeting, I did not feel that my presence at that meeting would be beneficial in any way.

The article in the News Herald concluded with Upton saying that I was not above suspicion. Well, I would contend that Detective Upton is not above suspicion either. I think that it is very suspicious that the authorities were told that Rustin was suffering from an opiate addiction. This information was provided to them by myself, my wife, members of Rustinís family, his friends, and ultimately by Rustin himself. Then why has Upton continued to search for Rustin at my home, at my church, and in my vehicle instead of turning his attention to the countless number of known pill pushers in the area where Rustin is known to hang out? Why is he harassing a man like myself, that goes through his day in a very predictable fashion? Iím not hiding from anyone. They know my phone number. They know my work schedule and patterns. They know the location of my home and my church. And, it is quite apparent that they can find their way to those places to look for an opiate addict. Then why canít Detective Upton find his way to the places where opiate addicts obtain their pills? Why canít he find the spots where the ďpill headsĒ hang out? Would it not seem logical that, that is where someone with an addiction to painkillers would be? Maybe thatís why we have such an epidemic of prescription pain pill abuse in our area. And, that is the reason for this whole situation. That is very suspicious to me.

During the course of over twenty years of ministry me and my family have opened the doors of my home to people with all sorts of problems and given them love and acceptance like we are commanded to do by Christ. Jesus said, ďwhen I was a criminal in jail, you didnít visit me. When I was naked you failed to provide me with clothes and shelter. When I was hungry, you didnít feed me.Ē He concluded by say, ď when you have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me. I have given my life to that purpose. My whole family is very hurt by the actions of someone who love. However, we still love Rustin and will continue to provide him with care and support should he ever seek our help in the future.

As I stated in my written resignation, I love the City of Philadelphia, but my purpose and calling in life is not to be a political figure, but rather, to be the hands of Christ, touching the lives of those whom no one else wants to deal with. I have learned through this situation that the office of Mayor and the calling to be a Pastor are not compatible. It was due to that realization that I chose to leave the Mayorís office and once again devote my entire life and resources to doing the thing that I was born to do.

My prayer, and the prayer of my family is that Rustin will surrender himself to the authorities. That he will take responsibility for his actions. And most of all that he will seek the heart of God once again and receive the help and divine deliverance that can only come from the hand of Christ.

John D. Drinnon