BREAKING NEWS: ( I am not an attorney, so I hope I am representing this correctly)
According to court explorer website for circuit court: Judge Dan O'Brien granted class action certification on the water and sewer case today.
The water and sewer lawsuit filed by Kickham Hanley, PLLC law firm for one person has been accepted as a CLASS ACTION lawsuit against Bloomfield Township, MI.
The monetary amount could be over $11 million. Accepting the filing as a class action lawsuit, the court is basically saying that if the claims in the lawsuit could be/ or are proven true, that there are numerous people that were/are impacted and therefore have standing in this lawsuit.
Kickham Hanley, PLLC law firm in Royal Oak (248-544-1500) had filed a lawsuit asking for it to be as a Class Action lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court (Case No. 2016-152613-CZ Judge Grant) against Bloomfield Township. Below is just page 1 of 18 in that PDF :
That same law firm won a $2 million settlement from the City of Birmingham in a dispute over water and sewer billing practices.
While waiting for the courts to take action, two citizens kept water and sewer issues in front of the Board of Trustees trying to bring about doing/voting for the right outcome and to try to get an audit of the water and sewer department. Not all of the citizens' water and sewer issues may be included in the lawsuit, but the actions of this administration are still a major concern and a problem.
Bill McMaster, State Chairman (Volunteer) of TAXPAYERS UNITED MICHIGAN FOUNDATION was insisting at many township board meetings that the actions being taken by the township were in violation of the Headlee Act. You can contact him at:
One of McMaster's issues with the W & S was the Upper Long Lake Estates $1.6 million Detroit Sewer project that was constructed without establishing an S.A.D. for the less than 50 properties benefiting and without a majority voted approval of the 102 families of that subdivision. The project was paid with money from the W&S funds. This was done via no bid contract. Included in the deal was a repaved road.
Other water and sewer issues that may or may not be in the lawsuit, but of concern to citizens:
- The RTS fees (Ready to Serve)
- The transfer of @$ 2.7 million into a Retired Employee Health Trust
- Perhaps how many and which employees are actually assigned to this department as it is an "Enterprise fund" and those employees get wages/benefits/pensions paid from your water bills not your property taxes
- Another issue could be the exemption of some businesses (restaurants) to not pay a special cost / grease/ etc.
- Perhaps an issue is the charges of depreciation for both water and sewer
- others? most likely
Supervisor Savoie and township attorney Bill Hampton and others continued to insist prior to the election that the Water and Sewer department was fine and that this lawsuit would go nowhere. They even used time at Board of Trustees meetings (listed as an agenda item) to present their opinions and to try to discredit the claims of Thomas and others about this filed lawsuit. Thomas and others were trying to inform the public about the W & S issues through their campaign literature. Many in the township wanted the W&S audit... and perhaps now the fact finding and discovery that will come with the pending lawsuit may give the citizens some answers.
I recommend a review of the budget for the township... all debt listed on page 8 and budget for water and sewer on pages 97-99.
See my archived blogs found in the right side column... listed by year and month.... for more on water and sewer and other issues.