I would not put this beyond the underhanded dealings of the city manager et alii.
When I filed my first FOIA lawsuit against the City of Ludington in 2011, the law firm employed by the city as their City Attorney came forth and immediately launched a nuisance countersuit demanding nearly $5000 in 'unpaid' FOIA requests. While the counter lawsuit had no real merit, the fact that Judge Richard I Cooper's son Craig Richard Cooper was on the City's legal team gave it quite a bit of weight, even after the Dishonorable Judge Cooper finally admitted the impropriety four months later. Four months later. I disgustedly disqualified him as a fair jurist, and his actions from then until his retirement only spotlighted his poor judgment.
The Lake County tag team of Prosecutor Craig Cooper and Less than Honorable Judge Mark "of the Beast" Wickens finished the circus court fiasco and found I owed the City of Ludington $700 for records I never received or ordered up, and have still never received. He also declared I did not prevail even though my lawsuit was instrumental in getting the records I sued for, and City Manager Shay lied in a sworn affidavit that he produced all the records, when other records pointed clearly to there being over two dozen other records. Judge Wickens never saw a problem with any of the shenanigans, but he did have a problem with me recognizing some of it in the record.
Charging 100 times beyond what is legally allowed is not only appalling, but can only be deemed criminal fraud and public extortion of the worst type.
The City's release does note that the fee issue was dismissed without prejudice, pending a resubmittal of the FOIA. To the layman, this means that if there was still an issue with the defendant's application of fees regarding the amended request, I could once again apply to the court for relief.
I would daresay that the mayor and city clerk may get visited by an ally of open government at a future meeting to reopen the elements of the fee issue, and seek proper relief afforded by the FOIA statute. Tonight, tomorrow, two weeks from now? We'll see.
Some of the links and pictures were lost over the years, but appearance of impropriety and its links sums up the first FOIA lawsuit up to Judge Cooper's recusal, John Shay's perjury issue is here, and the part of Mark Wickens and beyond in we won our FOIA lawsuit pt. 1, and part 2, which is linked. Here's the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling where it explained we prevailed in the lawsuit, and were entitled to all court costs.
In many ways it was a Pyrrhic victory, in that we paid out about a $1000 more than we won, the wickedly unfair Mark Wickens never allowed us to claim MI COA court costs in the remand, but the City paid tens of thousands of dollars to their own city attorneys in defending their unlawful non-disclosure of Tykoski-COL business records. That's very sad when you enumerate all the illegal and/or unethical things they did on the way. If more people were actually paying attention to all the facts and properly upset with them, rather than consuming their information from the news release/propaganda that were given and reprinted by a local media, Shay and his Manistee/GR lawyers would be just a sour footnote in the history of Ludington.
Looks like the secrecy issue with government holding back public records is getting worse nationwide now, and of course in Ludington where it's a well known habit and Shyster tactic that must always prevail, no matter the cost to taxpayers, shameful.
You hit the nail on the head there Verdad, well said and oh so true.
Shay received some serious dressing down today during the second period of public comment by a couple of individuals-- neither of them were me. My only point was to seek to have the city management reevaluate their policies on wind fences.
I would have liked to applaud either party, but I will definitely applaud them in the safety and comfort of my living room when I see the video of the meeting.
Don't forget that the City Manager is an extension of the City Council and he serves at their leisure. We all understand how Shay has acted in an unethical way but that's only because he is allowed to do so. Any and all blame for his actions rests squarely on the Councils shoulders. And who put the Counselors in a position of power? It certainly wasn't the fudgies.
Yes X, and your idea for the newer improved fencing is worthy of consideration, if they were smart at all. What was the dressing down for, can you give us a preview please? Subject matter and/or commenters?