Trustee Elect Thalmann sets up “Ambush” for Blossom Ridge

Trustee Elect Thalmann withheld information from the Previous Board of Oakland Township in order to thwart the Blossom Ridge Development.

In an email sent by Trustee Maureen Thallmann on November 22, 2012 to Supervisor Gonser, she states:

“I have found a loop hole in how the last Board of Oakland Township had handled the rezoning and researched it through Brooks Patterson’s office.  Marty (McQuade) asked me not to tell anyone about my find so as not to give the last Board of Oakland Township, and the developer, a chance to act.  It will be interesting to see how Moceri responds.”

Here are the events that lead up to Trustee Thalmann’s statement:

  • On August 14, 2012, the previous Board approved the rezoning for the Blossom Ridge Development.
  • On August 21, 2012 Robin Buxar, who ran for Trustee, signed the intent for the voter referendum to potentially invalidate the Previous Board’s approval.
  • On September 18, 2012, Trustee Elect Thalmann discovers that the previous Board failed to have the County Coordinated Zoning Committee provide input on the Blossom Ridge Project prior to the Township Board’s approval, since it borders Rochester Hills.
  • Trustee Elect Thalmann shares this information with Robin Buxar, Marty McQuade (another resident of Oakland Township opposed to Blossom Ridge), and Attorney Gregory Need.
  • Between September 18th and when the new Board took office on November 20th, the four of them did not communicate Trustee Elect Thalmann’s “discovery” stating:

“We need to continue to keep the information confidential so as not to allow Moceri to learn of the issue until the Board is ready to take action” – Marty McQuade – November 21, 2012

“We still need to keep it between ourselves.” – Robin Buxar – November 21, 2012

“Marty (McQuade) asked me not to tell anyone about my find so as not to give the last Board of Oakland Township, and the developer, a chance to act.  It will be interesting to see how Moceri responds.” – Trustee Thalmann – November 22, 2012

  • At the November 27, 2012 Board meeting, Attorney Need shares the issue with the public after having sent a letter to Supervisor Gonser on November 20th.
  • From November 27th until the referendum on August 6, 2013, the Board took actions that delayed the referendum in the hopes of obtaining a decision from the State Attorney General on the procedural issue described above. (Please read post under “Ethics” that describes attempts by Board to get Attorney General Opinion)
  • On February 26th, Attorney Need’s company was one of a few legal firms interviewed as possible Legal Counsel for the Township at the request of Supervisor Gonser.

Here is the supporting documentation on this subject:

Thalmann’s “Ambush”

As stated on another entry on this website, since the Blossom Ridge Development borders Rochester Hills, the approval process was to have included a review by the Oakland County Coordinating Zoning Committee prior to the Township Board approving the rezoning.  The review did take place in early 2013, and they unanimously approved the plan. This is the step that Trustee Thalmann “found” had not taken place in the proper sequence.

However, Trustee Thalmann’s actions in withholding her findings were not in the best interests of the Township.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  We expect integrity in our elected officials.  An elected official, that was about to take office, withholding information that would have allowed the Township to deal with an issue in a timely manner, may ultimately result in higher fines being placed on Oakland Township if the Department of Justice determines that Oakland Township has discriminatory zoning practices.

Do you think Trustee Thalmann’s withholding information was the right thing to do?

Do you think it was appropriate to include Attorney Need’s firm in the “short list” of possible firms to represent Oakland Township?

Do you agree with “the end justifies the means” approach our leadership has – and is – taking on issues?

Richard Michalski

8 thoughts on “Trustee Elect Thalmann sets up “Ambush” for Blossom Ridge

  1. Jerry Carlin

    Richard, Please keep me informed of developments in Oakland Township and sign me up to your blog. Thanks, Jerry Carlin

  2. B. Kiel

    I firmly believe ANY elected official should be held to a high standard of ethics, honesty and integrity..personal beliefs should be set aside for the good of the community. I am very concerned about this new board’s action and will be following your blog. I am not interested in a ‘witch hunt however.The reporting needs to be factual and complete for residents/voters to make informed I hold your reporting to the same standard of ethics and honesty.

    I would like to know HOW you discovered this information? Are you using FOIA to get copies of all correspondence etc? My request at this point is to include your sources of information so we may decide if WE feel they are credible as well. This is important to represent any issues honestly. Thank You

    1. richardjmichalski Post author

      Thank you for your interest and comments. I fully understand, appreciate and agree with your desire to know the source of the information.

      All of the information included on this website is from documents obtained using the FOIA process. It also includes video segments of Township meetings obtained directly from the Township’s website. I also obtained an audio file from the Township via the FOIA process for the March 18th Township Budget review meeting. Some of the information is from presentation material shown at Township meetings.

      I was on the Oakland Township Planning Commission for 26 years, and understand what honesty and credibility mean. Jim Foulkod, the other major contributor on this website was also a Planning Commissioner, Zoning Board of Appeals member and an Oakland Township Trustee. Our purpose it to enlighten the interested citizens of Oakland Township so they understand what is occurring in our Township under the new leadership. The issues are complex, and we will attempt to make them as simple as possible. THEY WILL ALWAYS BE BASED ON DOCUMENTED FACTS!

      Thanks again!
      RIchard Michalski

  3. foulkrj

    I agree with Dick that all of our content will be based on facts although I will sometimes include facts obtained in conversations and interviews with knowledgeable individuals which are not otherwise documented. I have also included my own opinions drawn from documented facts that I have presented on this site. Please see my post “What Has Agenda 21 To Do w Oakland Twp.” and then, to see the documented facts, please look at my page “UN Global Conspiracy” under the topic “Supervisor’s Views” where I conclude ” Oakland Township will not benefit from far right wing reaction to an imaginary global conspiracy.”.

    Supervisor Gonser has never been open with Township residents or voters about his concern with UN Agenda 21 but he signed his email on the topic to State Representatives McMillan and Jacobsen as Supervisor of Oakland Township as though his views represent ours.

    I would like to hear from readers as to whether you think that my presenting of my conclusions is helpful or not as you try to understand our township’s new leadership.

    Jim Foulkrod

  4. richardjmichalski Post author

    At the September 10, 2013 Oakland Township Board meeting, a citizen stated that the November 22, 2012 email from Trustee Thalmann was denied as part of the FOIA request at the May 20, 2013 Oakland Township Board meeting. However, the minutes of the May 20 Board meeting do not indicate that a document, with that date, was to be denied. The dates for documents that were denied are included in the minutes.

    At the June 11, 2013 Oakland Township Board meeting, as part of the consent agenda, the minutes for the May 20, 2013 meeting were unanimously approved after a motion made by Trustee Thalmann.

  5. Rich Bosler

    With respect to Mrs. Thalmann’s discovery before she was even a Board Member, why is it that we have two individuals who have decades of experience on the Oakland Township’s Planning and Zoning Commission who had months to bring this procedural issue before the prior Board of Trustees? And, why did the prior Board of Trustees fail to have a checklist in place to make sure all the procedural issues were followed? Seems to me the prior Board of Trustees should have been working as a Team with their Commissions and those retired or not could have added their input with so many years of experience.

    Personally, from my viewpoint, the prior Board of Trustees did not seem to want the voice of the Oakland Township residents. It turns out through their error, that having all of the Oakland Township residents vote on this issue was the right path to follow and have it as the record.

    1. richardjmichalski Post author

      Responding to Rich Bosler’s comment, let me begin by complementing and commending Mrs. Thalmann for the research that she had done. I will let others make their own judgement on what they think her motivations were for doing that work. However, in my mind, her not sharing her ‘discovery’ at the time of discovery was not in the best interest of the Township. I believe that whether she had been a regular citizen, a Trustee-elect, or a Trustee.

      Regarding your comment asking why neither I nor Jim Foulkrod did not “bring this procedure issue before the Board of Trustee”, I can only comment that you appear be missing the whole point of the issue raised by this entire ‘post’ on this webpage.

      Regarding questions you raise about the Board not having ‘check lists’ in place, that is a valid question, and one that I cannot answer.

  6. Pingback: Township Board appoints Robin Buxar to fill Judy Keyes’ seat | Oakland Township Watchers

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