Greenleaf Township supervisor faces recall after property purchase

By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald

The Greenleaf Township supervisor is facing a recall after a resident alleged he moved forward with purchasing a new township hall without board approval.

The recall language filed against Kirk Winter was approved by the Sanilac County Election Commission in late December.

Township resident Ronald Brzuchowski filed the language that states Winter entered the township into a real estate purchase agreement worth $230,000 without board consent.

Winter said he didn’t do anything wrong.

In September, the board started talking about buying about six acres of property and an 86- by 120-foot building at 6345 Bay City-Forestville Road in September.

Winter said the township hall on Gilbert Road has no computer hookups and has reached its electricity capacity. Township employees work out of their homes.

The board approved purchasing the property with a 4-1 vote, Clerk Lori Mazure the lone vote against it, at its Nov. 20 meeting. Mazure did not want to comment about her vote.

Documents show Winter signed a $230,000 real estate purchase agreement Oct. 29. The township checkbook register showed a $50,000 check was written on Oct. 28 and cashed on Nov. 3.

“The prior meeting I brought it to the board and that it was for sale,” Winter said. “I got an OK from the board to pursue, but I made a note that the party involved would like to keep it quiet.”

The township board held a special meeting Sept. 27 at the Bay City Forestville Road property, with Winter and Treasurer Louis Laming absent. Representatives from All Star Services Inc., which owned the property, were present.

“It came on the market and was a deal that had to be taken care of fast because there were two other parties interested in it,” Winter said.

Catherine Mullhaupt, director of Member Information Services for the Michigan Township Association, said a supervisor can sign legal documents on behalf of the board, but not instead of the board.

“When a township wants to purchase property, the township board is the body that makes that decision,” she said. “The supervisor is able to sign on behalf of the board, but it has to be something the board voted on in open session.”

Winter said he does not plan on appealing the recall language.

Sanilac County Clerk Denise McGuire said 25 percent, or about 50 signatures, are needed to bring the recall to the ballot. All signatures must be collected within 180 days of when efforts to get them begin. The recall could be placed on the May or November ballots, depending on when signatures are collected, McGuire said.

The township now owns the property, but has not moved into the building.

“The existing company is renting it from us on a month-to-month basis because their new building isn’t complete,” Winter said. “We will discuss the fact that I am being recalled and the basis for why I’m being recalled in the next meeting.”

The board meets at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

Ken Brown has been a trustee on the board for two years and said the township was planning to build a new township hall for years.

“Kirk went ahead with that deal thinking he had the authority to make it,” Brown said. “He had enough support on the board to make the deal. I told Kirk right up front, no matter how you handle this, you are going to get flack for it. Had he not gone for it, we probably would have lost it.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 9, 2015)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s