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Comedian Skewers Plan To Turn Belle Isle Into Tax-Free Utopia

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) No stranger to skewering Detroit and its sometimes unusual politics, Comedy Central once again put the city in the crosshairs.

This time, on "The Colbert Report," host Stephen Colbert took aim at a proposal by Rodney Lockwood, a Bingham Farms developer, who created a website supporting his plan to sell Belle Isle to developers for $1 billion. These developers, per the website, "believe in individual freedom, liberty and free markets."

"There might soon be a community where high earners are safe and it's in the last place you'd think -- Detroit," Colbert says, adding, "Sure, we all know the Motor City has seen better days, like during the Ice Age."

Colbert goes on to explain "Belle" means beautiful" and "Isle," means "not connected to Detroit." Lockwood's plan includes turning the island into a "remarkable new nation" of 35,000 people with their own government, currency and tax system.

There would be no personal or corporate income tax in this business-friendly utopia.

"Finally, a consequence free paradise for rich Americans, other than the rest of America," Colbert said.

Watch the video below and note the Belle Isle bit begins at the 4:45 mark.

Lockwood, though, doesn't appear to be joking.

"Big changes take big ideas, power arising from noble intent, and leaders of great vision and courage," Lockwood's website says. "It happened before with the birth of America.  It can happen again."

Colbert sums it up this way: "Greatly help Detroit, yes, yes -- because what that city needs is a pristine private island they can see from the bars of their post-industrial hellscape."

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