Thursday, July 12, 2018

Bl. Twp. Water/Sewer Lawsuit: Judge read into the RECORD !

Hi All,
This is my account of today's event:

July 12, 2018
Reading by Judge DANIEL P. O'BRIEN into the record:  was to begin at 1:30 pm  at the Oakland County Circuit Courthouse,  but apparently began earlier around 12:30 pm.   The reading continued until approximately  4: 17 pm.  with just one small break.

Gregory D. Hanley, Attorney for the Plaintiff was present in the courtroom along with  Jamila Youmans (also class action suit) in the audience.   Others in attendance:  Bill McMaster, ( ), a vocal voice at township meetings about water and sewer issues and how the township was/was not dealing with issues;   David Thomas, former candidate in Nov. 2016 election for Supervisor (lost by less than 500 votes to current Supervisor Leo Savoie) and the lead person with a petition for a forensic audit of the water and sewer department that was quickly ignored by the township leadership; and me, Marcia Robovitsky,  self appointed watchdog of Bloomfield Township issues and the author of the many articles in this blog and archived blogs some concerning water and sewer issues.

A surprise visitor sitting quietly during the almost 4 hours of reading into the record turned out to be none other than the Judge's mother.  This was a very complicated and difficult case,  and she has every right to be proud of the detail and attention and legal standards that her son, Judge D.P. O'Brien gave to this case.

Also in the Courtroom were the attorneys for Bloomfield Township:
William P. Hampton,   retired from Secrest Wardle, now independent $100,000/year contracted attorney for the township;   and  Mark S. Roberts,  Secrest Wardle law firm.   For a few hours, current Treasurer Brian Kepes was in attendance, but left early.

So, you want me to get to the point?  WHAT HAPPENED? 
Well, I'll just tell you this:
Bill Hampton and Mark Roberts left the courtroom quickly.
From what I heard and understood,  (and I arrived late because of the earlier start than scheduled)  - Bloomfield Township took a BIG HIT..... the Plaintiff prevailed to some degree in many of the various issues the Judge ruled on.   Can you say millions?   The parties still need to return to the court.  I believe the judge is giving the township time to "reflect"  and to settle with the plaintiff attorney some more case-related sections as to appropriate damages.

The Township's lack of transparency and methodology among other damning comments were scattered throughout the 4 hour reading.  The Township and how they managed this department, how the budget was shown , rate formulas, fees, etc. and the way some employees perhaps kept information from being transparent were basically the reasons they lost  ( that's how I understood the 4 hours).  I will write more when the transcript is available and publicly correct in my next blog any mis-spoken/ printed information here today, if any.

Whatever the cost,  I am ordering a transcript of this decision.  All township residents should read this decision !

All Bloomfield Township residents should heed one of the many comments made by the judge:   my paraphrasing:   the courts can't decide everything....but the CITIZENS  should go the the BALLOT  BOX  when election time comes.  Each citizen should know about each candidate and how he/she will run the municipality and then vote your preference. 

The 2016  Bloomfield Township election was decided at the PRIMARY in August 2, 2016.    There were no Democratic candidates in November.     There were CHOICES  for the first time for ALL seven of the Bloomfield Township positions.   Only 2 candidates that I supported won.  However,  the voting was VERY close (scroll down in link for local results).  Unfortunately,  those two  (Buckley and Walsh) are constantly outvoted on many issues by the other five.  Change needs to happen in Bloomfield Township.   Next chance:  August Primary in 2020.

Please,  pay attention to ALL elections.

Fair warning:   August 7, 2018....... there are some Bloomfield Township ballot issues on the PRIMARY BALLOT.   READ!     Public Transportation and Safety Path Millage 

Proposal Language for the August 7, 2018 Primary Election

  Proposal List

and of course,   CHOOSING  the candidates you want to represent YOU in Michigan in the NOVEMBER 2018  election.   Candidates that do NOT win in August will NOT have their name on the November ballot.   Choose wisely.   Here is a link for Bloomfield Township residents to see THEIR sample ballot for THEIR specific precinct.   Not all ballots are the same as Bloomfield Township has different boundary lines for some district representatives.

Bloomfield Township Offices:

4200 Telegraph Road
P.O. Box 489
Bloomfield Township, MI 48303-0489
Phone: 248-433-7700
Fax: 248-433-7714

Supervisor:  Leo Savoie

Attorneys for the Plaintiff:

Kickham Hanley PLLC
32121 Woodward Avenue
Suite 300
Royal Oak, Michigan 48073
Main:   (248) 544-1500


  1. Marcia,
    As usual, you have done an excellent job of reporting very important information to our residents. Hopefully, more of them will get involved so these necessary changes will be made. Thank you.


  2. What are the details of this "BIG HIT" the township is taking? Will any of the previously paid fees be paid back to the residents? Will the exorbitant fees still be charged in the future?
    How much longer until everything is hashed out between the township and the Plaintiff?

    I have been anxiously waiting for this end of this case!

  3. I like to deal in facts. The approx. "four hour reading into the record" by Judge O'Brien will be available in print form.
    I have not seen that yet. Since I did sit through most of that time, I did hear, judgment for the plaintiff many times. I am waiting to get a printed copy to get the facts in front of me vs from memory of the reading.
    I did not hear the judge say any dollar figures, though I missed the first 40 minutes as they started one hour earlier than reported.
    I also heard the judge tell the two parties that they had to meet and settle some of the issues (that were awarded to the plaintiff) and bring back to the court w & s figures and/or monetary settlement agreements on those specific issues.
    Why the township and the plaintiff's attorneys and quite frankly the media are not reporting anything may be because the conclusion has not been reached.
    I look at this as just another TRANSPARENCY ISSUE with the Township leadership as to keeping facts and information from the citizens. For the last three years, the township has (intentionally) removed the Water and Sewer Budget from the annual budget review.
    The township does raise rates effective April 1 at the beginning of the township fiscal year...even though the rates they PAY and BUY from the Water and Sewer authorities don't change the rates until July 1 of each year.
    2018-19 W & S rate details found in Board of Trustees /Board packet / March 26, 2018 / pp 88-107 out of 141 pages in pdf/