Monthly Archives: March 2014

Trustee Sharon McKay announced she is resigning from the Oakland Townhip Board

At the March 25, 2014 Oakland Township Board meeting, Trustee Sharon McKay announced she will resign her position after the April 8th Board meeting.  She has plans to move to Florida.  

Sometime in the near future, the Board will be voting on a replacement that Supervisor Gonser will nominate. This is identical to the process that was used when Trustee Keyes resigned and was replaced by Trustee Buxar.  

It is not clear if  Sharon McKay’s replacement will also be subject to the primary election taking place this summer and the general election this fall.   The duration of Trustee Buxar’s seat (through fall of 2016) may be contested in the upcoming elections if any other candidates file the necessary paperwork to run for that position.  This process may also be needed for Trustee McKay’s appointed replacement.

Here is a video of Sharon McKay’s announcement:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  First and foremost, we need to thank Trustee McKay for the years of service she has given to our Township.  We wish her the best for Sharon and her husband.

Looking forward, Board members are the citizen’s ‘voice’ in local government.  The selection of the person that Supervisor Gonser recommends as Sharon’s replacement must be someone who truly represents the majority of citizens in our Township.  We do not need someone who believe in the ‘Agenda 21’ conspiracy theory that is a cornerstone of the Tea Party.  As reported previously, Supervisor Gonser believes this conspiracy has infiltrated our Township Ordinances. The other Board members need to make sure that a balanced candidate is nominated, and approved, by the entire Board. Interested candidates should submit their names to Supervisor Gonser and the other Board members.

Richard Michalski

Township Board members’ testimony to Oakland County Sheriff investigator are not consistent with Treasurer Langlois’ recorded message

During the investigation into the alleged Open Meeting Act violations by our Township Board, Detective Sergeant Cole, from the Oakland County Sheriff’s office, interviewed Trustee Bailey, Trustee McKay, Supervisor Gonser and Treasurer Langlois. One of the alleged violations pertained to how the Board arrived at the 18 month duration for the concessionaire’s agreement at the Paint Creek Cider mill.  Those interviews were documented in a case file that was then forwarded to the Prosecutor’s office for their consideration.

On the morning of April 15, 2013, Treasurer Langlois left a voice message on then Trustee Keyes’ answering machine informing her of the subcommittee’s recommendation they would be making at that evening’s Board meeting regarding the concessionaire’s agreement.  Treasurer Langlois’ voice message not only is inconsistent with what she and Trustee Bailey told the investigator as part of their official testimony,  but also reveals the motive for why they wanted an 18 month duration on the agreement – to enable their preferred concessionaire candidate to take over the facility in the future.

Here is a copy of Trustee Bailey’s April 18th email that indicated a decision had been made by a quorum of the Board outside an open meeting.

Mike Bailey’s April 18th email

Here is a statement Trustee Bailey made to Detective Sergeant Cole on October 11, 2013 as recorded in the case file:

  • Bailey stated he misspoke in his email when he said it was the belief of the subcommittee (along with Supervisor Gonser) to change the contract from 24 to 18 months.  Bailey intended to say it was only his desire to alter the contract duration.

Here are statements Supervisor Gonser made to Detective Sergeant Cole on October 4, 2013 as recorded in the case file:

  • Gonser said the Board realized they did not want the contract to end in the high season so they took action to change it.
  • Gonser said that the contract was going to be either 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 years in length, and the Board opted for the former because they could cancel it at any time.  Gonser said the subcommittee had nothing to do with the end date of the contract and if they did, he was not aware of it.

Note: Gonser’s above references to Board “actions” never took place in an open public forum.

Here are statements Treasurer Langlois made to Detective Sergeant Cole on October 17, 2013 as recorded in the case file:

  • She (Langlois) said the term of the concessionaire’s contract was discussed in the subcommittee, however she said the subcommittee agreed that the length of the contract was outside the “purview” of the subcommittee.
  • Langlois said that she was not in favor of changing the concessionaire’s contract from 24 to 18 months and the  subcommittee agreed that this  was not an issue the that the subcommittee should address.
  • She stated the subcommittee never agreed to address the issue of duration of the contract.
  • Langlois was asked if she was aware when she saw the email from Mike if she knew it was an Open Meeting Act violation and she said yes.
  • Langlois said she called Mike and informed him that his email was not correct and to confront him with the fact that the subcommittee reached an agreement.

HOWEVER:  On April 10, 2013 Treasurer Langlois sent an email to two other subcommittee Board members suggesting that they determine if the previous owner of the Cider Mill was still interested in pursuing his offer, since he would not immediately be able to use all the floor space he wanted. She also suggested that if a shutdown for a new concessionaire was to occur due to building modifications, “do we want to make sure that only happens in the winter months?”

April 10th emails

The above statements are what the Board members told the investigator in their investigation.  However, on the morning of April 15, 2013, the day the Board was going to take action on the concessionaire’s agreement, Treasurer Langlois left a message on Trustee Keyes’ answering machine. The following is a transcription of a portion of the message:

“We talked extensively over the weekend and met last night (April 14th) …..

We are going to conclude that based on the fact that the two timing issues of required shut down in the summer, which Jerry ( Jerry Mancour was one of the concessionaires who applied for the using the facility), as well as time for implementation which he (Jerry) would also need, which we can’t even address since we don’t have the community center space set up and running, and we don’t have final plans to get water in the millrace (which Jerry was going to use in his proposal).  So based on that, Ed Granchi’s proposal scored higher than Jerry’s.

Our recommendation is going to be Mr. Granchi’s proposal be renewed in a similar fashion to the existing concessionaire’s agreement which is actually an 18 month lease (NOT TRUE) with various and differently worded options for renewal.”

As reported in Detective Sergeant Cole’s report, when Trustee Keyes (while still in office) and Trustee McKay forced our Township Attorney Dan Kelly to listen to the message in his office, our Township attorney’s response was:

“The phone message will not help the situation!” (The alleged OMA violation)

In subsequent conversations the author of this post had with John Slevin from the Prosecutor’s Office, John stated that the verbal testimony given by the Board members outweighed Mike Bailey’s April 18th, 2013 email where he stated that the subcommittee and Supervisor Gonser agreed to have the concessionaire’s agreement specify an 18 month duration.  He stated that is why formal charges were not being issued to the Board members.

Here are copies of the entire case file:

Detective Sergeant Cole’s case file report on OMA investigation

Here is the entire audio recording of Treasurer Langlois’ message:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  We expect our officials to be truthful.  The discrepancies between what the Board members told the investigator and what Treasurer Langlois stated in her message to then Trustee Keyes indicate that our Board members are not meeting that ethical standard or adhering to the Open Meetings Act.

Treasurer Langlois’ message clearly documents how the Board uses their power to implement their objectives outside the public eye. Here are the Motive, Means and Methods that they used:

  •  Motive – Make it possible for the other potential concessionaire to takeover the Cider Mill space as soon as practical.
  • Means – Concessionaire’s agreement duration
  • Method – Change the duration of the agreement to 18 months so their preferred candidate could have access to the facility.

All of this accomplished while ‘covering their tracks’ by making inaccurate statements to the investigator!

Is this the type of honest and ‘transparent’ governance our Township residents expect?  If not, please get involved in watching our Township leaders by either coming to meetings, watching cable Channel 17 or by continuing to monitor this site.


Open Meeting Act violation regarding Paint Creek CIder Mill Concessionaire’s agreement

Another Potential OMA violation being investigated 

Supervisor Gonser denies any wrongdoing

Richard Michalski

Gonser and the law

Have you ever been stopped by a traffic cop, talked your way out of a ticket and been told “This time I’ll let you off with a warning.”?  What did you say then, “Sorry officer but I think the way you’ve done your job today has been a frivolous pursuit of minutia”?   Fess up Gonser, you were busted.

In the self congratulatory innocent act that he put on about the reprimand he received from the Prosecutor, our Township Supervisor is telling the citizens and taxpayers that:

  • his ignorance of a law is a valid excuse;
  • if he finds a law inconvenient he feels privileged to disregard it;
  • if law enforcement sends him a stern warning it’s none of our business.

The legal actions that Gonser has brought on the Township are liable to cost us, the taxpayers, millions of dollars.  The judgment in Mr. Edwards FOIA and OMA complaints have been appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals with strong arguments.  The Federal Justice Department HUD investigation proceeds and an expensive fine is not unlikely. The developers want their $millions of water fees back.  I trust that money is safely held and properly accounted for.

More to come…

Jim Foulkrod

UPDATE: Oakland Township sued for over $4 (now $5) million in Water Tap Fees

It was previously reported on this website that Oakland Township was being sued by two developers for fees they paid Oakland Township to connect with the Detroit Water System in the future.  Since the Township Board has decided to stop any future efforts to connect to the Detroit Water System, the developers are requesting that their fees be refunded (see previous post).  Recently the Pulte Company has also filed a similar lawsuit against the Township.


Why is this important to the residents of Oakland Township? The significant amount of money that may have to be refunded to the developers and some homeowners will have to be decided in court, contributing to the already historically high legal expenses incurred by our Township.

Richard Michalski

Supervisor Gonser denies any wrongdoing regarding Open Meeting Act allegations – Prosecutor’s letter tells another story

As previously reported on this website, there was an Oakland County Prosecutor’s investigation into possible violations of the Open Meetings Act by our Township Board.  On February 27, 2014, a letter was written to our Board regarding the results of their investigation.  At the March 11 BOT meeting, Supervisor Gonser stated that no charges were going to be issued, and no reprimand was made by the prosecutors office.  However, the details of the letter from the Prosecutor’s office paint a slightly different picture.

The author of this post filed allegations that the Board had committed Open Meeting Act violations regarding the Paint Creek Cider Mill Concessionaire’s contract, as well as with Supervisor Gonser’s April 1, 2013 authorized memo regarding the takeover of the Land Preservation Fund.  Former Trustee, Judy Keyes, also filed allegations that an Open Meetings Act violation occurred when the Board had inappropriate discussions during a Closed Session Meeting.

Over the past many months, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office performed an investigation into these allegations. Both Judy and I told the investigator that our intent was not to have any Board member fined or arrested.  Our intent was to have the Board change their behavior so it was consistent with the Open Meeting Act requirements.

On February 27, John Slevin from the Prosecutor’s office sent a letter to the entire Township Board and the Township Attorney with the results of the investigation.  Supervisor Gonser announced at the March 11 Board meeting that “no charges were going to be filed” and that “there was no reprimand in the letter.”

However, here is some of the content of the letter sent to the Township Board by John Slevin:

“Most of the allegations were not violations of the Open Meetings Act.  However, two of the matters may have been violations and therefore I am bringing them to your attention.”

“In the contract, the term length of the agreement was changed from what was contained in prior contracts.  Some citizens wanted to be heard on that issue.  After the contract was drafted, it was signed without additional approval by the Board at an open meeting.  This amounts to the delegation of decision-making by the Board which circumvents the intend of the Open Meetings Act.  The better procedure would have been to require that the proposed contract be submitted to the Board for final approval at an open meeting prior to execution.”


“Closed sessions are restricted to very limited purposes under the Open Meetings Act.  The intended subjects for the closed session appear to be appropriate. – – – The subject matter was then changed to areas of discussion that may not have been allowed under the OMA.  When this occurred, and if the subject matter was questionable for a closed session, the better course of action would have been to cancel the closed session and proceed in an open meeting.”

“Neither of the aforementioned OMA issues was found to be intentional. There will be no action taken by this office concerning these matters.  However, you should know that of these OMA concerns so as to avoid future actions that may lead to complaints by citizens.

Here is a copy of the Prosecutor’s memo:

February 27, 2014 memo from Prosecutor’s office

The underlined wording in the attached document is as I received it from the Township Office.  Their emphasis on the underlined wording, as well as Supervisor Gonser’s comments at the March 11th BOT meeting, indicate that they feel that nothing wrong was done and they do not intend to change their behavior in the future.

Webster defines a “reprimand” as ” an expression of disapproval”.  Since Gonser appears to think nothing wrong was done, ironically the Prosecutor’s letter may only have served to embolden him.

In a previous meeting, Supervisor Gonser referred to the allegations as ‘frivolous pursuit of minutia!”  If having important decisions that affect our Township take place outside an open meeting, and inappropriate topics being discussed in Closed Sessions are considered ‘frivolous’ by our Supervisor, the future of our Township is in peril.  This from a person that ran on a platform of transparency!

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? It is clear that our current Supervisor does not recognize that inappropriate actions had been taken by the Board in the past.  As a result we should not expect behaviors to change without the intense scrutiny of our citizens.  In order to prevent inappropriate actions in the future, please get involved in watching our Township leadership.

Richard Michalski

Township Board finally agrees with Oakland Township citizens’ desires

Over the past year, some members of the Township Board have wanted to take over the responsibility for managing the Land Preservation Fund.  This fund has been managed by the Parks Commission since the creation of the Fund.  At the March 11 Board Meeting, the Board finally agreed to have the Parks Commission continue to manage this fund.  It was not a unanimous vote.  Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann wanted to have the Township Board take over the management of the Fund.  Treasurer Langlois, Trustees Bailey and Buxar supported having the Fund managed by the Parks Commission.

Some additional background on this issue has been previously reported on this website.  On April 1 of 2013, Supervisor Gonser had authorized a memo to be written by then Superintendent Creech to have the Land Preservation Fund taken over by the Board.  During the course of this past year, the facts came out that this was a unilateral decision by Supervisor Gonser, and not one that the Board had approved.  Fortunately due to the persistence of many citizens who have supported our Parks programs, the Board finally resolved this issue with the vote on March 11th.

At the March 11th meeting, one of our citizens gave a very clear and direct explanation why the Parks Commission should continue to manage this fund.  Here are her comments and the vote on this issue.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Due to the multitude of citizens that supported the Parks Commission on this issue, we were able to get enough Board members to recognize that the many initiatives  the Parks Commission has undertaken over the years is not part of what Terry Gonser considers a global United Nations conspiracy called ‘Agenda 21’.  Continued citizen involvement is critical to preventing our Township from being taken over by a group of radical ‘Tea Party’ individuals.

For additional background information see:

Supervisor Gonser’s REAL views on trails, pathways, bike paths and environmental protection 

Trustees seize Land Preservation Assets

RIchard Michalski