I know I keep saying this but local government is just as odd and even corrupt as anything we see on the state or local level. In fact, it might even be worse and it is definitely where corrupt people begin to move up the ladder of corruption and bad behavior.
I have written previously here at Red State about what is going on in my local town. My latest was about how people who accuse each other of crimes can later support one another to run for office. Something Smells Fishy In Fraser, Michigan.
Pretty novel right? Almost like the Harry Reid and Mitt Romney love fest we are seeing now nationally.
Now we move into the next phase of WTF that can happen anywhere but seems to happen a bit too much in this small sleepy town of just under 15,000 people. ( Which will not go over 15k after the 2020 census, sorry Doug.)
The person I referenced in the story listed above who is now running for office, Richard Haberman, was once the city manager of this quaint Lil Hamlet. As referenced in the story above he was here for over 5 years and when he left the city was in a bit of a financial predicament. I will be following up on that part of the story this coming Monday.
Haberman, however, claims in campaign literature that his experience of over 25 years is one of the reasons the people of the city should elect him and help guide the city he once was paid handsomely lead.
There is just one small problem.
His inaction as city manager according to a lawsuit that was just settled by the city of Fraser with three female employees of the city, claims he looked the other way and allowed elected officials to harass and intimidate those three female employees. The situation was so bad that the council voted to remove the two people accused after Haberman was let go of his position as C.M. according to the Detroit Free Press.
From the Freep…
Fraser City Council voted Monday night to remove Mayor Joe Nichols and Councilman Matt Hemelberg from office after a two-hour tribunal hearing over accusations that the pair sexually harassed female city workers.
City employee Leah Brown testified that Nichols looked her up and down, and she said he said that not everyone can wear leggings like she could. She said Hemelberg told her supervisor “that’s a nice view over there. I was the only thing in his direction.”
She testified that the former officials had a conversation at City Hall about photos they had taken with half-dressed women. She said Councilwoman Yvette Foster was present.
Councilwoman Patrice Schornak said that the prior city manager knew what was going on and told staff to hire an attorney.
“We are here to defend individuals who work for this city,” she said
Being this a family-friendly site I won’t go into what was said about what some of the ladies’ body parts looked like according to these fellas that were removed.
However, for those of you following along at home, the previous city manager was Haberman.
According to multiple people I have talked to the city settled for 75,000 apiece for each of the ladies plus all the other incidentals of deductibles and what this will cost the city in increased premiums for insurance coverage. We are looking at 250,000 to 300,000 dollars for looking the other way while employees were being harassed.
According to the depositions taken in Leah Brown vs The City of Fraser, the environment was not pretty.
Kelly Doland who is the city clerk for Fraser said this on page 80 of her deposition…
Q. When you raised the issue of the alleged harassment at the dept head meeting, was there any response by Mr. Haberman?
Q. What did he say?
A. He said, I would advise you to get an attorney.
Q. Was that his sole response?
A. That’s’ the best I can recall.
From Michelle Kwiatkowski, who is the Systems Administrator/ IT director for the city of Fraser said this from page 42 of her deposition…
Q. Did you make anybody aware that you thought this was inappropriate and hostile in 2015?
A. Mr. Haberman.
Q. What did you tell Mr. Haberman specifically in 2015 as it related to Mr. Nichols?
A. At that time we were still going back and forth because they wanted access to public safety. I told them there was no way they were getting access to public safety. He told me that– I specifically said– especially the way they come in and the way they treat women, there is no way they’re going over to public safety. I won’t sign off on it. I had to sign off on it in order to meet the LEIN requirements. he said he would talk to them about not coming in so much and he never did.
The semi amusing part of this is that Nichols wanted to roam around the public safety side of City Hall after being arrested by the same dept in 2007 for larceny according to the Macomb Daily. He pleads guilty on that charge to ripping off a change purse.
Now, the city has just settled a lawsuit in the era of #MeToo where city employees say they went to their boss, Mr. Haberman, and complained about feeling intimated and harassed by elected officials. The city manager, who also in this town happens to the defacto Human Resources guy shrugs his shoulders and either ignore those pleas or says “Get a Lawyer.”
Maybe that is the 2019 definition of leadership. Would you want someone who did that elected as a council person?
The inaction in this case though is not the only example of money flying out the door under the leadership of Mr. Haberman. That story will be covered Monday when I go over how much money was blown with the finance director Haberman picked and then left a mess of the cities books.
In the meantime, you can contact me at the info below or if you have any questions for Richard Haberman please feel free to contact him at [email protected].