Letter to the Editor: Lawsuit follow-up

City FOIA lawsuit settled for $8,974” in the July 12 Clarkston News leaves out important aspects of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit sought to unearth records about the city’s crusade to put the Millpond Inn Bed & Breakfast out of business.
The city quietly settled it without telling the public the details.
Here is what we learned:
– The city failed in two lawsuits in the Michigan Court of Appeals to bar a bed and breakfast.
– The Zoning Board of Appeals never applied the standards the courts said should be applied.
– Although city officials frequently referred to an agreement with the owners governing the Millpond Inn, there wasn’t one.
– Although city officials referred to a “court-ordered variance,” there was none.
– The city admits zoning ordinance provisions for operation of a bed and breakfast in the village commercial district don’t apply to the Millpond Inn.
– The violation notices the city issued to the Millpond Inn had no factual or legal basis.
– The city now admits the Millpond Inn is properly operating and, in fact, “is an asset to our community.”
One must wonder why the city spent so much time, effort, and taxpayer dollars on trying to put the Millpond Inn out of business when there was absolutely no basis for this.
And the FOIA lawsuit was completely preventable.
The city had a last chance to produce the requested records before the lawsuit was filed and the city attorney advised the city not to produce anything. The city attorney, not the taxpayers, should be paying the $8,974.
Ask your council members (particularly those running for reelection this November) why they aren’t demanding that he reimburse the city.
Richard Bisio

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