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Don Williamson
91st Mayor of Flint
In office
2003 – February 15, 2009
Preceded by James W. Rutherford
Succeeded by Michael Brown (temporary)
Personal details
Born (1934-02-02)February 2, 1934
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Died April 2, 2019(2019-04-02) (aged 85)
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse 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.


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.

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

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.


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. 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. In March 2009, projections were for the deficit to exceed 14 million dollars.

Williamson appointed Darryl Buchanan, a city councilman, as the City Administrator after his second term election. 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. During the Flint mayoral election, Williamson said that paving of hundreds of miles of roads was one of his proudest achievements as mayor.

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. Residents and officials disputed this study.

Recall campaign

In 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.


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. On February 8, 2009, Williamson announced his resignation as mayor effective Saturday, February 14, stating health reasons.

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

Williamson ran for governor of Michigan in 2010.


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

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