Articles on this Page
- 07/16/18--11:30: _8th District Now Co...
- 07/16/18--23:25: _Suspect in Armed Ro...
- 07/17/18--00:51: _Search To Continue ...
- 07/17/18--01:22: _Liquor License Gets...
- 07/17/18--02:24: _Gunman Who Shot At ...
- 07/17/18--02:39: _Mike Rogers Calls T...
- 07/17/18--06:33: _Grand Opening Set S...
- 07/17/18--07:37: _Sheriff Warns Polit...
- 07/17/18--08:41: _Brighton Vigil Plan...
- 07/17/18--09:54: _Brighton Twp. Revok...
- 07/17/18--12:56: _Divers Recover Body...
- 07/18/18--00:19: _Brighton Officials ...
- 07/18/18--01:08: _Tyrone Township Ren...
- 07/18/18--01:11: _School Lake Aquatic...
- 07/18/18--02:05: _Levin Endorses Slot...
- 07/18/18--06:39: _Virtual 5K To Raise...
- 07/18/18--07:03: _Grant Will Complete...
- 07/18/18--07:04: _Howell Twp. Seeks R...
- 07/18/18--07:34: _Bishop Discusses Ru...
- 07/19/18--02:11: _MSP Conducts Second...
The chances for a Democrat to unseat Republican Congressman Mike Bishop in November have been upgraded by a nonpartisan political forecaster.
On Friday, the Cook Political Report changed the designation of the 8th Congressional District from "leans Republican" to âtoss up.â Two Democrats are vying to replace Bishop; Elissa Slotkin of Holly and Chris Smith of East Lansing. The district consists of all of Ingham and Livingston counties and the northern tier of Oakland County. Cook's House editor, David Wasserman, writes that while Bishop won re-election by 17 points in 2016, this year, âDemocrats will finally have the resources to litigate Bishop's record, and multiple private surveys depict Bishop in weak shape.â Wasserman noted Slotkin's fundraising success, with more than $2.2 million in the bank, and her national security background. Slotkin served three tours in Iraq as a CIA analyst before serving in various Pentagon posts during the Bush and Obama administrations. Slotkin said "Cook's rating change echoes what we already know here in the district -- we have significant momentum; people are tired of the vitriol in Congress and are ready for a change. I'm proud that we're running a grassroots-powered campaign. We've raised more than Rep. Bishop without taking corporate PAC contributions, and we've got over 1,000 volunteers signed up -- many of whom have never been involved in politics before."
However, Bishopâs campaign consultant Stu Sandler points to The Detroit News endorsement of Smith over Slotkin in the August 7th Democratic primary. "Mike Bishop is in a strong position to win the district that he serves and where he has been a lifelong resident. Being that Elissa Slotkin just moved to the district, doesn't own a home and hasn't voted there yet, it's not a surprise that Elissa Slotkin finds herself in a tough primary against a Democrat opponent which the Detroit News finds to have 'more depth'. Coastal elites from New York, Massachusetts, and California are funding DC insider Elissa Slotkinâs campaign with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Voters in the eighth districts are smart enough not to let coastal elites and DC insiders buy this seat.â
Thatâs a point the Cook Political Report noted, saying that the label of her being a âcarbetbagging elitistâ is âSlotkin's most glaring vulnerability,â noting that she hadn't been registered to vote in Michigan since she left for college. But despite that, it said, âher cash advantage means she'll likely get to define the terms of debate just as much as Bishopâ and that, âIn this environment, it's a Toss Up.â (JK)
A man suspected of robbing a gas station in Highland Township is still being sought by police.
Deputies with the Oakland County Sheriffâs Office Highland Township Substation responded to the Mobil gas station on the 2000 block of East Highland Road just after 1:15am Monday on the report of an armed robbery. The suspect is said to have entered the business and approached the store clerk, handing him a white plastic bag. He demanded the clerk empty the register and put the money inside of the plastic bag, all the while brandishing a black semi-automatic pistol during the robbery. The clerk put approximately $310 in cash into the bag.
The suspect exited the door on the north side of the business and fled the area on foot. An OCSO K-9 Unit responded to the scene and established a track. The K-9 tracked the suspect in a northwestern direction for approximately one mile, then to a residential area in the 1000 block of Highland Park Drive. Deputies reportedly could hear a vehicle with a loud exhaust start up and quickly flee the area. The K-9 led Deputies to the location where the car had been parked, but the K-9 search was terminated.
There was no description of the vehicle used to flee the scene. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 30-years-old and 5â8â tall. The suspect was wearing a green jacket with the hood covering his head and black jeans, with his face obscured by a medical mask. Detectives are continuing to follow up.
Search operations are expected to resume today as authorities hope to find the body of a local man thought to have drowned in White Lake Sunday.
Divers from the Oakland County Sheriffâs dive team searched most of the day Monday White Lake for the unidentified 55-year-old Hartland man. Deputies and the Highland Township Fire Department responded just before 3:30pm Sunday to the Highland Township portion of White Lake near the residential area of Seven Harbors on the report of a possible drowning victim.
The victim had been seen swimming around and beneath a pontoon boat. The manâs wife said her husband went underneath the boat but did not resurface. The Oakland County Sheriffâs marine unit and members of the dive team were activated and responded to the scene to begin rescue operations. The dive team searched the water in the area the victim was last seen without success until after 11:00pm, when the search was temporarily halted due to the darkness. It resumed at 7am Monday, but no progress was reported.
A Department of Natural Resources boat launch area off of Duck Lake Road is being used as the searchâs staging area. (JK)
Plans continue to move forward for a local business owner looking to re-open a Mexican restaurant in Howell.
On May 6th, 2017, Mexicali Allies owner Sandra Blake had to shut down her Mexican restaurant of 23 years due to a dispute with her landlord. Just over one year after shutting down her business, Blake took another successful step in getting her business up and running once again.
Blake is working towards opening a new Mexican restaurant that will be located in Howellâs New Town Center on Grand River. Monday night she was overjoyed with Genoa Charter Township approving her request for a Class C Liquor license. She told WHMI that people love to drink margaritas with Mexican meals and she wants to provide her customers with the option to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Though Blake claimed she has no intentions of leaving the new location, the liquor license would still be valid in any location within Genoa Township. With the liquor license now approved, her next steps involve getting construction underway so she can work towards opening the new establishment.
Blake did not give a date as to when she expects the restaurant to be open, but she did say that it will not be named Mexicali Allies. She did not reveal the new name of the establishment, but promised it would pay homage to the previous name. (DF/JK)
A Fenton man has been identified as the individual who shot and injured a Houghton Lake State Police Trooper during a traffic stop. The Michigan State Police Trooper, who has not yet been identified, was shot by 32-year-old Douglas Robert Sawyer around 1:30pm Friday during a traffic stop in Missaukee Countyâs Lake Township.
Preliminary investigation indicates the trooper stopped a vehicle occupied by two men and a woman. Sawyer, one of the occupants, fled from the vehicle and began firing at the trooper who returned fire. Sawyer reportedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after exchanging gunfire. He was positively identified following an autopsy over the weekend. The trooper involved in the exchange was treated for non-life threatening injuries and has since been released from the hospital.
There were three active warrants for Sawyerâs arrest at the time of the incident. Sawyer was wanted for violating conditions of his parole stemming from a home invasion prison sentence, 4th degree criminal sexual assault, and a civil infraction of child neglect. Michigan State Police say the investigation is ongoing.
Photo courtesy of Michigan State Police.
As the fallout continues from President Trumpâs meeting Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, two candidates for the 8th Congressional District and the man who previously held the job are speaking out.
Trump's embrace of Putin and questioning of American intelligence findings of Russian election meddling has Republicans joining Democrats in condemning the Presidentâs decision to side with a longtime foe on foreign soil over his own government.
One of those speaking out was former Congressman Mike Rogers, a Republican who represented the 8th District for 14 years. In a statement on Facebook, the former head of the House Intelligence Committe stated that, "The President's assertion that status U.S.-Russia relations is due to "U.S. foolishness" is fundamentally wrong." He then said Russia has, "Waged continuous & increasingly aggressive cyberattacks against us, Interfered in our 2016 elections, Annexed Crimea, Shot down a civilian airliner, Supports Assad in Syria, Invaded our ally Georgia, Murdered opponents in London" and concluded by asking; Should I continue?"
Democrat Elissa Slotkin is seeking to unseat Republican incumbent Mike Bishop in November. A national security expert who served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense, Slotkin said she never thought sheâd, âsee the day when the Commander in Chief would side with Russia over his own Intelligence and Law Enforcement Communityâ and called on Congressman Bishop, âto stand up publicly, with members of both parties, and make clear to President Trump that you can't and wonât support him putting the interests of Russia over our own security."
Bishop did issue a statement, saying that âOpen diplomatic communication between nuclear superpowers is essential for the safety and security of the world. Lest anyone think otherwise, however, Vladimir Putinâs Russia is not a trusted friend of the United States. The House Committee on Intelligence, along with our American intelligence community, have demonstrated Russiaâs efforts to undermine democracy here in the United States and across the world. We must hold Russia accountable.â (JK)
A 130-year-old transportation tradition will be celebrated at an event this weekend in Howell.
The Howell Area Historical Society will celebrate the grand opening of its refurbished caboose on Sunday, July 22nd from 10am to 4pm with tours and music. The 1888 Grand Trunk wooden caboose was added to the societyâs collection in 2011, and has been lovingly restored in the years since by a group of volunteers.
The Michigan 5th Civil War Band will provide period tunes at the event being held at the Depot Museum on Wetmore Street in Howell. The Historical Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The group owns and operates the museum, which it bought from the Ann Arbor Railroad in 1970. Youâll find more information through the link below. (JK)
Livingston Countyâs top cop has words for those stealing and vandalizing political yard signs; "knock it off."
Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy took to Facebook Monday to speak on the issue, saying that while everyone has a right to speak their mind and advocate for their candidate, they donât have a right to destroy campaign materials for candidates or issues they disagree with. "That's stooping to a new low, so I'm appealing to your sense of humanity, quite frankly, and just asking that if you're involved in this stuff, 'knock it off.' If we do catch you, we will prosecute you."
One candidate that has spoken up about such vandalism is State Representative Lana Theis, who is running for the Republican nomination to the 22nd State Senate seat. According to a message on her campaignâs Facebook page, someone is stealing their 4x8 foot signs or cutting them down on a daily basis, adding that they are working with the Livingston County Sheriffâs Office and âencourage all campaigns and county parties to encourage people not to participate in this type of behavior.â
Sheriff Murphy also noted that these signs are on private property and offenders could also face trespassing charges. (JK)
In the continuing fallout over President Trumpâs meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a coalition of political activists are planning a series of candlelight vigils across the country, including in Livingston County.
The âConfront Corruption and Demand Democracyâ vigils will begin at sundown, including at the Brighton office of U.S. Congressman Mike Bishop. The Rochester Hills Republican represents the 8th District and issued a statement on Monday saying that while, âOpen diplomatic communication between nuclear superpowers is essential for the safety and security of the worldâ¦Vladimir Putinâs Russia is not a trusted friend of the United States,â and that, âWe must hold Russia accountable.â
Despite that, the coalition, made up of more than 30 groups including People for the American Way, Move On, Common Cause and Public Citizen, says, âthe corruption of the American government by the President, his associates and many in his party has reached a new, profound low.â Trump is facing bipartisan criticism for his refusal to publicly challenge Putin over Russia's election hacking and for doubting U.S. intelligence agency conclusions about Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. Trump backers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have criticized his performance.
The group organizing Wednesdayâs vigil says that those who choose to attend are âcommitting to participate non-violently and in accordance with the law.â It will be held from 8 to 11pm in front of Congressman Bishop's Brighton Office on East Grand River. Youâll find details through the link below. (JK)
Brighton Township is taking action against a company carrying out mining operations at a gravel pit, as officials claim the company is violating the municipalityâs ordinance by bringing a large amount of concrete onsite.
Ashley Land Development Co., Inc. and Brighton Investors, LLC received soil removal/extraction and fill permits from the township in September for operations at the Muir Road gravel pit. On Monday, the townshipâs Board of Trustees voted to revoke those permits, saying that Ashley Land has violated the Extraction, Excavation, Removal and Fill Ordinance by bringing a large quantity of concrete onsite for crushing. There are no provisions in the ordinance allowing concrete to be crushed within that zoning district.
Township officials also took issue with the fact that the concrete was never noted in the project log book. Trustee Sam Theis says looking back at recorded minutes of the townshipâs meeting with the company, it was made very clear what was permitted onsite and what was not. He also felt the failure to log the concrete was intentionally deceptive, adding, âI donât think this is an accident. We take a look at the falsified logs, where we have stuff coming in, every single load going in, going out of that place is supposed to be on that log. That concrete is not on the log. That tells me there is intent. They intended to hide this from the township.â Attorneys representing Ashley Land say there is no language in the ordinance that expressly prohibits the concrete and that it infers imported material is allowed without a permit if the material in question is not intended to be used as fill.
In a letter to the township, Ashley Landâs representatives also note that the property has been contaminated by hydrocarbon and salt plumes emanating from the Milford Test Track, making it highly unlikely that domestic wells would be permitted in the future. Ashley Land attorneys say that will impact the ability to redevelop the property after the gravel pit has been closed; an issue that Theis and township attorney John Harris called a âred herringâ and âveiled threatâ. Township officials say while theyâre willing to look into that matter, the immediate issue at hand is removal of the concrete.
Harris does not believe the company will cease operations without court intervention, and so the board also authorized him to pursue litigation against the company in addition to the permit revocation. (DK)
Recovery efforts that had been ongoing since Sunday afternoon resumed this morning, with members of the Oakland County Sheriffâs Dive Rescue Team, Marine Division, and Aviation Unit. Utilizing side scan sonar equipment, divers were able to locate the body at approximately 10:20am in 25 feet of water near the center of the lake. Divers immediately retrieved the body of the victim; a 55-year-old Hartland man who has not yet been identified.
The victim was last seen Sunday on the south end of White Lake, swimming around and beneath a pontoon boat. The manâs wife said her husband went underneath the boat but did not resurface, prompting her to call for a Marine Deputy who was patrolling the lake. The Sheriffâs Dive Team was activated and responded to the scene around 3:30pm, along with the White Lake Police Department, and White Lake and Highland Township Fire Departments.
Rescue efforts were initiated from the point at which the man was last seen in the water and the search continued without success until the early morning hours of Monday, at which time the search was temporarily suspended due to the darkness. The search resumed later that morning, but was once again suspended due to low visibility and again in the evening as a result of inclement weather.
Following this morningâs discovery, the Oakland County Medical Examinerâs Office took custody of the deceased and an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday. The Sheriffâs Office reports the lake and surrounding roads are now open, and boaters may resume normal activity. (DK)
The final public open house giving Brighton voters a chance to converse with City officials on their plan to pay for road improvements is coming up next week. A recent review from the cityâs engineer of the roughly 30 miles of roads in the City of Brighton showed that approximately 75% are in poor condition.
On Tuesday, August 7th, Brighton residents are being asked to override the Headlee Amendment which will allow the city to begin correcting this issue. This override will permit the city to levy the full 20-mills authorized under city charter. Because of reductions triggered by the Headlee Amendment, they are only collecting around 15.65-mills from taxpayers. This 4.35 difference, if re-instated, would generate roughly $1.85 million dollars a year and be used exclusively on roads. A resident with a home taxable at $75,000 will pay $326 more per year in city taxes. This breaks down to roughly $0.89 per day.
Public Works Director Marcel Goch estimates it will take 40-$50-million dollars to get the roads to where they need to be. The override proposal is for 10 years which means it will generate approximately $18.5-million over its lifetime. City Manager Nate Geinzer said that is enough to get them on a new system for continuous repairs and maintenance. Geinzer said the goal isnât to fix everything at once, as that will put everything on the same cycle, meaning this problem will rear its head again in the future. He said the goal with this money is really to get a down payment and an up-front investment on a sustainable, comprehensive streets program. In the program, the city will break the 10-year override into a series of smaller 2-year plans. That way they can focus on repairing the streets that need it most each cycle, while also putting money into better streets to help keep them that way.
In anticipation of the vote on August 7th, City Council has been running public open houses to talk with taxpayers and share their visions of the program. There is one more meeting scheduled before the override request goes to vote. It will take place next Wednesday, July 25th, from 6pm until 8 at City Hall, downtown. More information can be found online at www.brightoncity.org/streets. (MK)
Officials in Tyrone Township are locking up contracts to continue fire service for residents.
The Tyrone Township Board of Trustees approved 2 of the 3 contracts with neighboring fire departments at Tuesday nightâs regular meeting. The township, not having a department of their own, partners with the Hartland Deerfield Fire Authority, the City of Fenton Fire Department, and the Fenton Township Fire Department. Supervisor Mike Cunningham said that it helps response times having departments on contract from different sides of the township. The City of Fentonâs contract was up for consideration first. They cover the majority of the calls. Cunningham called the contract âvery reasonable,â with no increase in cost the first year, and then 1% increases each of the following 4. The Supervisor said the last contract averaged 3% increases. He said that the 5-year plan is ideal, as that is as far out as they feel they can responsibly project their costs. Any further and they could risk fund balance deficiencies.
After unanimous approval, the Hartland Deerfield Fire Authorities was up next, with identical terms. Those terms begin with the Department that answers the call charging the township, who then in turn charges the resident for reimbursement. A base run, when the new contracts begin in spring will charge $1,419, with the year five cost being $1,476. (MK)
A proposed assessment for property owners on School Lake in Brighton Township is on hold, after the petition lost support from some residents that had already signed it.
A public hearing regarding the proposed Aquatic Special Assessment District (SAD) was held during the Brighton Townshipâs Board of Trustees meeting Monday. The SAD covered services related to the management and control of plants, fish and wildlife in School Lake at an annual cost of $165 per developed parcel for five years. The Residents of School Lake committee was able to garner support for the SAD, which was indicated through the petitions that represented 66.96% of the lakeâs total acreage. 66% or more is required for the petitions to be considered by the township.
A number of residents spoke at the SADâs public hearing, with a somewhat equal amount of those for and against it. A handful of residents opposing the measure claimed they were never contacted by petitioners, while others took issue with how the assessment was apportioned. One of the main objectives for the SAD was to collect revenue for weed control on the lake- another issue that caused dissent among the group. Several residents questioned what kind of chemicals were in the weed control and whether they were harmful.
The questions caused two residents that had already signed the petition to rescind their support, making the petitions insufficient for board consideration. Trustees ultimately decided to table the issue until organizers could bring petitions forward that met the 66% requirement. The board gave organizers a year from the day they first started collecting signatures to gather the remainder, making this October their deadline. (DK)
Former Michigan Senator Carl Levin has thrown his support behind Elissa Slotkin in her effort to become the first Democrat to represent the 8th District in nearly 20 years.
On Tuesday, Levin and Slotkin held an open discussion in Detroit on national security topics, including President Trumpâs recent press conference with Russian President Putin. Senator Levin offered his endorsement of Slotkin, a former CIA analyst who served three tours in Iraq and at the Pentagon under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Levin, who served as Michigan senator from 1979 to 2015, said he was proud to endorse Slotkin and thought she would âbring a point of view that is based on experience, and a point of view which I believe will contribute significantly to the national security of our country, of our state.â He added that Slotkinâs background could help to bring defense sector jobs back to Michigan, by giving, âa boost when it comes to getting defense contracts to the state of Michigan.â
Levin also used the event to comment on the ongoing criticism of President Trumpâs recent press conference with Russian President Putin. âWe can and should disagree on issues in this country,â Levin said. âBut for the President of the United States, standing next to a Russian dictator who has engaged in activities which are deeply inconsistent with what we believe in and stand for... itâs something which has to be checked in any way we possibly can.â
Slotkin of Holly is running against Chris Smith of East Lansing for the Democratic nomination in the August 7th primary. Incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Bishop of Rochester Hills is being challenged in the GOP primary by Lokesh Kumar of Lansing. (JK)
A different kind of race this weekend will give local runners an opportunity to support the Howell Area Parks & Recreation Authority.
The mParks Foundation is hosting the Love Your Parks Virtual 5K this Saturday and Sunday, July 21st and 22nd with 50% of the proceeds going back to local parks. A virtual race is a race that can be run, or walked, from any location. Participants can run, jog, or walk on the road, on the trail, on the treadmill, at the gym or on the track, or even at another race. Organizers say you get to run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself, with a participation medal shipped directly to you.
The Howell Area Parks & Recreation Authority is asking area runners to select their organization to receive the support. Runners raising at least $50 will get a t-shirt, while $250 will get a sweatshirt. The cost to take part is $30. Youâll find details through the link below. (JK)
An expansion and renovation of a rehabilitation center in Chelsea is being made possible through a multi-million dollar grant.
The $2.5 million grant from the Thome Memorial Foundation was given to the United Methodist Retirement Communities Foundation for use at the Kresge Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. Itâs expected to add 22,000 square feet for private rooms, bathrooms and common living spaces. The expansion is scheduled to be completed in December, while renovation to the existing 28,000 square feet of the building will be completed next year. A rendering of the completed project is pictured.
The center serves about 100 people for traditional nursing home and short-term services at any given time, she said. The grant is part of the UMRC's $26 million Growing to Serve comprehensive campaign. About $17 million has been raised thus far for capital improvements, which also include construction of a wellness center on the Chelsea campus and renovations to the Huron Valley PACE wellness facility in Ypsilanti. The remaining $9 million will be used for resident services, life enrichment programming and UMRC's Benevolent Care Fund.
UMRC Foundation President Wendy Brightman said the center expects the funds to help serve 24,500 patients over the next 40 years and takes their âconstruction to the finish line." (JK)
Howell Township residents can make their voices heard on future plans to develop the municipalityâs parks and recreation offerings.
Township officials are working toward creating the municipalityâs first parks and recreation master plan, which outlines the timeline and funding of future goals and objectives for building the system. The plan helps officials budget accordingly by providing a forecast of whatâs to come and about how much itâll cost. By developing and implementing a master plan, the township will become eligible for state grant funding. Though the grants often require matching local funds, the master plan prepares officials for that expenditure.
An open house event was held at township hall Tuesday to give constituents an opportunity to provide feedback on what theyâd like to see included in the master plan. Landscape Architect Chris Nordstrom, who has helped 25 other communities develop recreation master plans within the last three years, says a common theme among all is the desire for trails. He says the township also owns properties that could be good contenders for a community park, and is interested to see if thereâs a way to leverage amenities like the Shiawassee River in order to expand recreational offerings in the region.
While the master plan process has only just begun, Nordstrom says this part is critical, as community membersâ concerns and suggestions ultimately help shape the future of Howell Townshipâs parks, trails, and recreational programming. Citizens can still share their input through an online survey at the link below. (DK)
Congressman Mike Bishop joined with members of the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday at the White House for a meeting with the President to discuss the summit with Russian President Putin along with tax reform, trade and tariffs.
The meeting came amid the firestorm of criticism directed at the President for comments he made alongside Putin in Helsinki that called into question U.S. intelligence findings of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Bishop released a statement following the meeting at the White House, saying that he expressed his concerns, âdirectly to President Trump regarding Russiaâs status as one of the most threatening adversaries facing our nation. This is not new. Russia has repeatedly worked to destabilize democratic institutions across the world, and I stand behind our American intelligence agencies. Thatâs why I voted in the House to expand economic sanctions on Russia, and I will continue to support policies which hold Russia accountable.â
He added that the dialogue was also an opportunity to raise the issue of trade and tariffs directly with the President, and advocate on behalf of manufacturers and farmers across the district. Bishop said he understood, âthe ways in which current tariffs will impact Michiganders, as well as the ramifications retaliatory actions have for our companies. We must be more targeted and precise as we work to hold countries like China accountable for unfair trade practices.â
Despite that, Bishop said that with the unemployment, âat its lowest point in decades,â he was able to share with President Trump, âthe optimism Iâm hearing from Michiganâs workforce and manufacturers. In the comeback state, our workforce is seeing employers, like Fiat Chrysler, return to Michigan from overseas â and that is an exciting turnaround. We want to continue the progress of tax reform by delivering permanency for our middle-income families.â (JK)
A second search warrant has been served at the Williamston home of a priest accused of embezzling from a church in Okemos.
Detectives from the Michigan State Police First District Special Investigation Section executed a second search warrant at the residence of Reverend Jonathan Wehrle, who is accused of embezzling more than $5 (m) million from St. Martha Church in Okemos. Information was developed by detectives from the Lansing Police Department who assisted Special Investigation Section detectives in developing probable cause for a second search warrant.
As a result of the search warrant, $63,392 in cash was seized from the residence. Police say the currency was hidden above ceiling tiles in the basement. A majority of the cash seized was in $2,000 bundles of $20-dollar bills with paper cash bands that were stamped: For Deposit Only - St. Martha Parish and School. Additional evidence was seized from the home related to the investigation. Wehrle was in the residence, along with two other persons, during the execution of the search warrant.
The Ingham County Prosecutorâs Office will be addressing the forfeiture of the seized money, as it is believed to be embezzled funds from St. Marthaâs Parish. In total, authorities say $1,107,444.98 has been seized from Wehrle in an attempt to recover embezzled funds from the church. A circuit court pretrial conference for Wehrle is scheduled August 2nd. Heâs charged with six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more. The charges allege Wehrle used the money to pay for home construction, maintenance and other personal purchases. Photo: WLNS. (JM)