Friday, November 11, 2016

Post Election/ More of same: Family, Friends, Favors and NO BID contracts

Hi All,

It is no secret that I did not support Leo Savoie for re-election.  I do not approve of the "family, friends, favors" way of running this municipality nor do I approve of the appearance of (if not actual)  "pay to play"  and/or  NO BID contract way of doing business.   I still believe there needs to be forensic audits of the many "funds"  that are not reviewed independently by the auditors.  Safety paths, cable, senior services,  planning/building/ordinances,  etc.   The water and sewer class action lawsuit against the township has merit.

My reason for blogging is to be able to present my opinions on topics while giving the reader all the facts on the issue that I can find.   While you always HOPE  that your government leaders and the people they hire are working for the good of the community,  I have found that there are occasions where the truth is not completely revealed and that attaining justice or the best outcome is not always delivered.  Bloomfield Township is not that much different from communities you read about in the news... and the problems are here, too.  One day, the investigation may/should reach our community doorstep.  Don't be surprised.

Image result for us flag images
It's Veteran's Day... and a salute to all the men and women that served and are currently serving our country !   Thank you.

Also... this is the last week for Treasurer Dan Devine and Trustee Corinne Khederian.  
Thank you both for your years of service to Bloomfield Township.

The election results have new Trustees being sworn in on November 21: 
Dani Walsh and Michael Schostak and returning Trustees David Buckley and Neal Barnett.

The election results have current Trustee Brian Kepes  becoming the new Treasurer being sworn in on November 21.   Not sure of the time... perhaps noon?  or earlier?

*********Meetings at the Township  *********  
for each meeting the above link will work:     choose  "board packet"  for the details of the  agenda items

Monday  November 14 
 Board of Trustees meet in a study session @ 2pm and regular board meeting @ 7 pm   More details later in this blog.

Tuesday November 15  
Zoning Board of Appeals:  ZBA @ 7 pm   Are any variance requests in your residential area and/or  the township commercial areas?   Take time to check out this agenda.

Wednesday November 16 
The Joint Development meeting previously scheduled for this day is CANCELLED

Wednesday November 16 
The Design Review Board... @ 2 pm   has no agenda posted.... need to wait until 18 hours before meeting to find posting (not good policy for citizens)

Monday November 21
The swearing in/ oath of office for all 7 Board members    I don't know time ...for sure.

Monday November 21 
The Planning Commission is scheduled... no agenda posted until late on the Thursday before meeting.

COMMENTS about MONDAY's meetings.... 

see  Board of Trustees AGENDA at end of this blog....

2 pm   a Study Session....   with 100 pages of BOARD PACKET...   with the intended goal to AMEND a Development Agreement for the Villages at Bloomfield
           MANY Problems as I see it... MY OPINIONS presented below

1.  The Trustees may not  know what the Development Agreement currently says.  Therefore not prepared or qualified to make legally binding amendments to the Agreement.
2.  There is also a 425 Agreement which should have some changes made BEFORE any thought of suggesting changes to the Development Agreement.  Again, do the Trustees have the knowledge to make legally binding changes/amendments?
3.   Savoie should NOT be our Representative at the Joint Development Council... too much conflict of interest.  It is time to appoint someone else.
4.   Dennis Cowen should NOT be the neutral representative at the Joint Development Council....    he is not neutral... too much conflict of interest.  He should be removed and another "neutral" person appointed.
5.  Redico has been stalling this entire project for most of 2016 along with Bl. Twp. and  the City of Pontiac  and if really interested would have demolished the site long ago.
6.  Oakland County should not direct or interfere with this process.

7 pm   the Board of Trustees meeting  with 142 pages of BOARD PACKET....  so much to review...  and MANY ITEMS should NOT BE APPROVED... my opinion.

item #4  is about the company that bought RIZZO  now called GFL  for Green for Life.    Dennis Cowen, the neutral member of the Joint Development Council ( old Bloomfield Park area now called Villages at Bloomfield)  is/was/still is?   the attorney for RIZZO when the township  did the negotiations in 2015 for that 8 year NO BID extended contract that started in June of 2016.

item # 5 involves 3 companies... long term Twp.  NO BID vendors... Fifth Third Bank, Dickinson Wright and Bendzinski & Co.      and this issue dealing with over $20 million in refunding bonds...  3 different bond deals :  water, sewer and "campus" construction bonds all originally from the 2007/8  time frame.   with conflict of interest with some of our trustees and the 3 no bid vendors: 

item # 6 involves 1 company... NO BID vendor ...Gregory Schwartz & Co.  has been doing investments for the township for years....  with a contract presented to sign this night . 
Why the rush?  ... new board members will be sworn in on November 21.  Where is the concept of going out for BIDS?   Does the Financial Sustainability committee  agree with contract?

item # 7  is basically a lie by stating the word "update".... This is NO UPDATE.
  FACT:   At the Wed. Planning Commission meeting under the agenda item "items not on the agenda"... Planning Director Patti Voelker handed out to the PC board members a 3 page document stating that  ".... a recent development application submitted to Bloomfield Township proposes to redevelop a 10.75 acre site in the northeast portion of the township with approximately sixty multiple-family residential units (townhouse style) ..... "

Well... upon inquiry at the township Planning dept. on Thursday.... there is NO application submitted according to Andrea Bibby.  There have been telephone inquiries about the land and development.
Upon further research by me:   Problem here is that there are at least 2 properties making up that 10.75 acre site and that the smaller parcel of  property is owned by either family members of Trustee Brian Kepes (soon to be Treasurer Kepes)  or owned by Fifth Third Bank.  

The other larger lot/ parcel had a strip mall demolished and the land left vacant.   Taxes on that now vacant 9 acres  was last collected at the township in the year 2009 at $106,500 for the year.
The years 2010 through 2014 the taxes were NOT paid at the township and I have not had time to see if they were paid at the County or not at all.  That's more than $435,300 .  Beginning in 2015,  the taxes have been paid at the township.  However, 2015 only $27,000 for the entire year.  For 2016... summer taxes of $6,969.63 paid... Winter 2016 not yet paid.. but total for year estimated at $14,000.

Why the huge drop in value since Savoie took office?  That land is currently owned by Manchester Squirrel, LLC.   Who are they?  How can you own 9 acres of vacant commercial land on the corner of South Boulevard and Squirrel Road and pay taxes less than many home owners ?    Why? 

Well, think about it:
1.    over $120,000 in campaign donations to Savoie.
2.    almost $80,000 in campaign donations to KEPES.
What is happening to our residential community since Savoie took over in 2011?  
Many  developers and vendors of this township and (since both men work their "other full time jobs"  in the real estate/appraiser/investment businesses)... many of those business/developer/builder/ contacts also donated to their campaigns.  
To see the actual campaign finance reports:      follow directions on that link for ALL the candidates.   

AS I have suggested many times... family, friends, favors...  a pay to play community.... in my opinion.  Wish the Fed's would investigate Bl. Twp.

MORE on the AGENDA ITEM:   The 3 page document handed out to the PC board members as a surprise agenda item  is about an unauthorized (Savoie and/or Voelker?  did not bring this "project" to the full board for discussion and approval)    hiring of a company to do a study investigating and perhaps AMENDING  the Master Land Use Plan ... to permit residential uses on this corner commercially zoned property... and to use this study information for FUTURE land uses in other places in the township, perhaps ie:  Telegraph Rd.  

In my opinion, this unauthorized study seems more like a favor to the many developers/builders/ investors/etc. that donated to many of the candidates for the Township Board.

items # 8 and # 9   can be lumped together... for my objection purposes.....  Both items involve the township long term NO BID vendor... the township attorney and the legal firm of Secrest Wardle...     Lately, attorney Mark Roberts has been the attorney doing much of the work and attending board meetings.   I personally am not impressed with him.   The other agenda is presenting a NO BID contract award to Bill Hampton... who is also the attorney for other municipalities that the Twp.  often deals with.   Hampton is most likely ready to retire.  WHAT is the RUSH?   We have new board members coming November 21.   Need to investigate and put out request for BIDS.....    Attorney Hampton did make a contribution to the re-election campaign.  

# 10   Payroll and Vouchers  ...... MUST look at all the entries and ask yourself.... do the TRUSTEES  REALLY KNOW.... how and where and to whom are our tax dollars spent?    

As usual.... I want OPEN and TRANSPARENT  government.  We don't have that.  I'm trying to inform you with FACTS.... and ALSO  giving you MY OPINION.   Thanks and please share this blog with others in the township.

1 comment:

  1. I'm disappointed that very negative information I provided on this blog in my comments about Fifth Third wasn't brought up at the last board meeting and Fifth Third was selected by the trustees. Marsha, Bill McMaster and only a few other residents are doing a really good job for our Township by speaking at the meetings but they really need help from other residents so that we can have some important changes make in how our township is now being operated.The Trustees are just "tuning" these residents out and doing as they please. Even if other residents only show up for an occasional meeting this can really help us.