WHISPER: City Attorney’s Gambling Problem
WHISPER: A legal source very close to the action says that City Attorney Stephen Postema is taking a gamble. First, let’s dispel any notion that the Ann Arbor City Attorney works for the citizens of Ann Arbor. He doesn’t. He works for the Ann Arbor City Council, and we taxpayers simply pay him $200,000 a year to do it. He’s supposed to serve as legal counsel to City Council members in the course of their jobs crafting legislation, and of course, the city of Ann Arbor when those pesky lawsuits arise—such as the one filed by Herb David Guitar Studio; Kiki Properties, LLC; Jerusalem Garden; and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center.
You’ll remember that A2Politico wrote about the defeat of Mike Anglin and Sabra Briere’s September 21st resolution to release the City Council’s emails and have them archived on the City’s web site in the post titled “Council’s Henchman to A2 F-You.” The office of the City Attorney helped prepare the language of Anglin’s September 21st resolution, evidently not without first making the process difficult for Council member Anglin. The eventual resolution prepared by the Attorney’s office for Anglin was peppered with spelling and grammatical mistakes.
Now comes the plot twist. It was generally supposed that the City Attorney’s office was being difficult with Mike Anglin in order to protect Council members who do not want those emails released. As much as there were protestations by Council members (Smith and Rapundalo) at the September 21st meeting that they have nothing to hide, those protestations did not, you’ll note, come from Fourth Ward Council members Margie Teall and Marcia Higgins, Third Ward Council member Leigh Greden or Mayor Hieftje.
So was the City Attorney’s office protecting those Council members who didn’t want the emails released free of charge to citizens? No, according to our source close to the action.
Remember the lawsuit filed by the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center (referred to above) to halt the construction of the new underground parking garage/conference center next to the Main Library on Fifth? Instead, the City Attorney is said to have wanted to preserve the emails as a bargaining chip in the gamble that is a settlement of Great Lakes Environmental Law Center’s litigation.
The word from our source is that the parking lot litigation will be settled with dismissal of the action and release of all Council emails to the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. What officials from the Great Lake Evironmental Law Center would do with the Council emails remains to be seen.
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