Two recall petitions targeting West Bloomfield Township Trustee Larry Brown were approved by the Oakland County Elections Commission at a hearing held today, Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m.
The petitions were submitted by township resident Betty Hyman on Jan. 5.
“She now has the legal authority to collect signatures,” said Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr.
Hyman is asking for a recall, citing in both petitions Brown’s decision in 2009 to have his $125 meeting stipend diverted to a township Water and Sewer Benevolent Fund for needy families, claiming that he has not paid taxes on his 2009 earnings as a trustee.
In the second petition, Hyman added that Brown voted in November 2009 in favor of a sanitary sewer lining project contract with Liquiforce Services (USA), which has an office located in Romulus but is based in Kingsville, Ontario, Canada, stating in her recall petition that the contract would have been subsidized with federal stimulus funds.
Hyman also cited in the second petition Brown’s lawsuit last year against the West Bloomfield Police Department regarding a prior Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information on an investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office into one of Brown’s business relationships.
Hyman will now have 180 days to circulate recall petitions and collect 6,654 registered voters’ signatures, or 25 percent of the township votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, in order to seek Brown’s recall on a township ballot.
Bullard added that if Hyman collects enough signatures, there will then be a process conducted to verify that they are the signatures of registered voters.
When reached for comment, Brown said that the petitions have nothing to do with whether Hyman’s accusations are true, but whether the wording in the petitions is clear.
He also said that he helped Hyman, who reportedly is elderly and in a wheelchair due to an ankle injury, explain the petition language in front of the commission today so she wouldn’t have to return to court to refile the language.
Brown added that the West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees previously approved allowing him to have his meeting stipends allocated to the benevolent fund through the township budget and maintains that he never received any of that money.
Hyman was not immediately available for comment.
The stipend issue was also brought to the table in a declaratory judgment suit filed last fall in Oakland County Circuit Court by Township Supervisor Michelle Economou Ureste and Trustee Steve Kaplan and it is awaiting a final order.
A recall petition was also filed against Brown last June by Township resident Ray Jarjis Kasmikhia, but it was rejected by county officials because the recall petition language wasn’t clear.