|Attorney Mark Koroi addressing|
Hamtramck City Council
The city attorney for Hamtramck is a public official.
Hamtramck whistleblower lawsuit may cost the city around $300,000
HAMTRAMCK - A whistleblower lawsuit connected to the city's former director of public services, Steve Shaya, was settled last week for $75.000, but with the addition of attorney fees, the real cost may have surpassed $300,000.
Oh, it did. I filed a FOIA for all billing and payments for the city attorney in this matter and got back, wait for it, a redacted ream of paper, of which I had to pay about $80. Seriously, pages upon pagers of public expenditures were blacked out. I consider that a generation of fraudulent documents.
The Iraqi-born Chaldean, who was fired in 2014, sued the city, the previous police chief and others for $10 million, claiming his civil rights had been violated.
Violating one's civil rights in Hamtramck is just pro forma in operations because the city has a stellar record in settling all of its numerous civil rights lawsuits.
In March 2014, Shaya filed a federal lawsuit that said city officials hit back after he blew the whistle on police misconduct. He claimed he was targeted with racially disparaging language. He was called a "Chaldean prince" and was struck with false hit-and-run charges.
The charges were later dropped after he uncovered misconducts by city employees, police and elected officials. He claimed they were benefiting from city contracts with a towing company.
The charges were dropped when it was found out that there was no state accident report filed, the city realized that the 911 recording had nothing to do with Shaya or the city vehicle, and that a city council person was creeping around on his property taking pictures.
Shaya and his Plymouth-based attorney, Marak Koroi, will receive a check from Hamtramck's insurance company because the city's costs already reached the brink of the insurance deductible - $200,000.
Hamtramck City Manager Katrina Powell told MLive that the total attorney costs in the case surpassed $200,000 and that they were paid to two different companies.
Koroi released a statement saying there were three firms and 10 attorneys involved on behalf of Hamtramck, all through several periods of the court action.
These were state appointed attorneys under the Emergency Manager Law and representatives of individual defendants.
"My impression was, as soon as they hit the deductible, it was a lot easier to get the case settled", Koroi said. "So, if that's the case, that tells me, why would you spend $200,000 on a case that only cost ($75,00)? Why wouldn't you have settled before they got to that point?
The reason the city was willing to spend $200,000 was the same reason it spent about $30,000 to litigate a Michigan Unemployment Insurance Claim, of which the city would have only been liable for about $5,000.
That is correct. The City of Hamtramck and its legal geniuses (trademark pending) otherwise known as the City Attorney, have a long and sordid history of taking advantage of a city council which operates in an hermetically sealed geographic chamber of "doing whatever it wants" to rip off the city, even if it means paying an attorney under the table, without council resolution, to represent the city in a matter of law, in a court room, without even filing notice of appearance, but that is just another issue for federal investigation of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.
Complaints filed to investigate City of Hamtramck for violating state election law
"It was important for the city to show that plaintiff's wide-reaching claims were all meritless and that there was no pattern or practice by city employees or officials to discriminate against anyone," Hamtramck City Attorney J. Travis Mihelick said.
If the claims were meritless, then why did the city not go to litigation to become the prevailing party to recoup its legal costs?
Allow me to answer that question.
First, when you have members of the city council who are looking at being exposed for actions of public corruption, 9 times out of 10, particularly when it is not your money, an elected official will use the services of a city attorney to its full capacity to ensure one does not end up being brought up on charges of using their public offices for purposes of personal inurement.
Secondly, the city is under the statutory rule of the State Emergency Manager, of which the constitutionality of the law and the liability of its Emergency Managers are being questioned by the State Attorney General and the Sugar Law Firm.
This means there still looms the question of liability, or weighted portions of liability, which may still pull the State of Michigan in as a defendant in subsequent legal actions, considering the fact the city is still under the purview of a Receivership Transition Advisory Board and the transgressions of this case took place under an Emergency Manager.
I still say the city should file up against the state, but that would be another $500,000 in creative litigation billables from the city attorney.
"The city understands that there is a cost of doing business associated with lawsuits, "Mihelick said in a statement emailed to MLive, "but are very pleased that the only court opinion on record shows no wrongdoing by the city or any of the defendants and finds no merit in any of the plaintiff's claims."
No, the city, inclusive of residents, elected and appointed officials, have no clue that its city attorney, including his predecessor, has fraudulently billed the city for legal services, all the while, substantially neglecting its chartered obligation to function in the best interests of its citizens, hence all the damn civil rights lawsuits being settled.
As for having no records showing wrongdoing or no findings of merit in any of the plaintiff's claims, well, that is the entire point of a negotiated settlement.
No wonder the city is still in receivership of the State of Michigan, again.
Dude needs to be removed from office...if only he had taken an oath of office...
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