Saturday, October 14, 2017

It Is Not Nice To Lie To The Court, Detroit Land Bank Authority

Image result for cheers
Na zdrowie, Kevin, Dziękuję Ci.
Sometimes, in the still of the night, one can realize just how small the world is.

Yes, I had forgotten all about those "Legal Geniuses" (trademark pending) over at the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

It is absolutely amazing just how small the world is.

Ousted Detroit Land Bank director was drunk on job, stalked employee

Kevin Simowski, the recently ousted head of the Detroit Land Bank and a longtime friend and political ally of Mayor Mike Duggan, was fired after coming to work drunk and threatening and stalking an upper-management employee for six months, Motor City Muckraker has learned.

Carrie Lewand-Monroe
Carrie Lewand-Monroe

Carrie Lewand-Monroe, who was then the principal director of the Land Bank, filed a personal protection order against her boss on Oct. 8, the same day he was fired as the director.

“He told me on one instance he owned a weapon and would kill himself because I stopped being his friend and would not have lunch with him,” Lewand, 38, wrote in the PPO. “Based on his actions, I am fearful and feel threatened.”

She now runs the Land Bank, which has razed about 7,000 vacant houses under Duggan. But the agency has come under fire for increased demolitions costs, which the mayor has defended.

Kevin Simowski
Kevin Simowski

For months, Land Bank employees were complaining that Simowski, 58, of Plymouth, was showing up to work drunk and was belligerent and disruptive.

Yet Simowski, who previously worked for Duggan at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and then the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), was allowed to stay on the job.

“On September 1st, 2015, the Board of the Detroit Land Bank placed Kevin Simowski on medical leave,” Erica Ward Gerson, board chairwoman for the Detroit Land Bank Authority, said in a statement to Motor City Muckraker. “He has not been on the premises since that date and was instructed by me to not to contact any Land Bank employees during that leave.”

But according to Lewand-Monroe, Simowski continued to harass her by phone and by showing up to her Ann Arbor home.

“Since April of 2015, Kevin has constantly harassed and displayed aggressive behavior. After six months, he showed up at my home uninvited,” Lewand-Monroe wrote in the PPO.

Land Bank officials insist they had no idea that Simowski was harassing her until shortly before she filed the PPO.

“Based on information provided me by an employee of the Land Bank relative to an incident on October 7th, the Land Bank terminated Simowski on October 8th,” Gerson said. “Simowski was terminated for cause, and no severance was paid.”

It’s not the first time Simowski has been accused of wrongdoing in Duggan’s administration. In January 2003, he and then-Wayne County Prosecutor Duggan were sued in a whistleblower lawsuit by an intern who alleged retaliation at her job for reporting that Duggan’s staff was using county resources for political work. She also claimed that Duggan’s staff was coaching her on misleading the FBI regarding the political work.

At the time, Simowski was serving as Duggan’s chief of operations and blasted the intern for fabricating the story. But the intern, who was being interviewed by the FBI, provided strong evidence that she was ordered to do political work at her county job, prompting Duggan to fire one of his top staff members.

Mayor Duggan
Mayor Duggan

Duggan’s office declined to comment on Simowski or explain how he was qualified to oversee one of the largest municipal demolition projects in U.S. history. He had no experience in real estate or demolitions.

Simowski, a graduate of Wayne State University Law School, served in top positions for Duggan when the mayor was head of DMC. He also served as chief of the criminal justice bureau in the Michigan Attorney General’s department under Mike Cox.

Wiener also had no experience with Land Bank issues.

Lewand-Monroe, whose brother is Tom Lewand Jr., president of the Detroit Lions, previously served as the director of policy of Detroit Future City and executive director of the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority. She also was a project manager and attorney for Wayne County.
According to the PPO:

Week of Sept. 21: “Kevin called me on my direct office phone. He told me about his current employment status and I advised him not to contact me as he was told by the employer. Over a period of months prior to the call, there were numerous unwanted verbal contact.”

Oct. 2: “Kevin called my direct office phone. I saw his number on my caller ID and did not answer. This call was after he was told not to contact me at all. I notified my employer.”

Oct. 7: Simowski “parked outside my home and waited for me to come home from work. My husband went up to his vehicle and asked why he was there. He mumbled something and then drove.”
Lewand-Monroe added: “Kevin has continued his behavior after he was threatened by his employer to lose his job and severance pay. The unwanted contact and phone calls originated at my place of employment in the city of Detroit. It came to a head when he showed up at my home.”

UPDATE: 10-14-2017

Due to the unprecedented ability of the "Legal Geniuses" (trademark pending) over at the Detroit Land Bank Authority, to wipe bios of Richard Wiener from Michigan State University and other sites, I have taken the opportunity, once again, to preserve the annals of history.

SPOLIATION NOTICE: If, in fact, the Detroit Land Bank Authority claims to be a public entity, then it needs to stop destroying public records...and stop generating false recordings of public documents.

Richard Wiener resigns from Detroit Land Bank; Kevin Simowski takes over as director

Rick Wiener
Richare Wiener
Richard Wiener has resigned as executive director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority. Wiener resigned Oct. 31 and was replaced by Kevin Simowski, according to Craig Fahle, director of public affairs for the land bank, which auctions and demolishes vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties.

Wiener started as the land bank’s executive director in January. Simowski was most recently the land bank’s general counsel, a position he took in February, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Prior to that, he was attorney and COO of Flood Law PLLC in Royal Oak and vice president of operations for the Cardiovascular Institute at the Detroit Medical Center between 2012 and 2013.e is also the former vice president of customer service and programs for the DMC, a position he held 2005-12.

He was also chief of the criminal justice bureau in the Michigan Attorney General’s department during former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration, and worked for 22 years in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. Simowski is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School. Wiener, a graduate of Wayne State University and the Michigan State University College of Law, is the founder of Wiener Associates, a governmental affairs law firm in Lansing, and served as Granholm’s chief of staff for three years 2003-05, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He has also worked in the and for U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, former Gov. James Blanchard and former U.S. Rep. William Brodhead, according to his biography on the Wiener Associates website.

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