Council Vote to Potentially Cost Tens of Millions of Dollars and Several Thousands of Dollars of Assessments on Warren Homeowners
Warren Mayor James Fouts issued a veto of the Warren City Council’s rejection of the settlement between the city and plaintiffs in a case regarding the issuance of marijuana dispensary licenses in Warren. The proposed settlement was a result of negotiations led by former Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Peter Maceroni and 31 plaintiffs. The Warren City Council rejected the proposed settlement at a meeting on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 on a 5-2 vote even though its acceptance was recommended by Judge Maceroni, Warren City Attorney Ethan Vinson, city of Warren outside council Andrea Pike and Jeff Schroeder who was acting as attorney for the city council. The veto delivered to city council is attached and Mayor Fouts issued the following statement following the veto:
“This accidental city council has once again taken reckless action that places the taxpayers and residents of our city at great risk,” said Mayor James Fouts. “I have consistently opposed and vetoed every action by this and the previous council that expands the marijuana dispensary business in Warren, but I also live in the real world and understand that this action is required to avoid further litigation that could cripple and bankrupt the city. The reckless action of this council cannot stand because our insurance provider has already indicated they will not cover any future judgements against the city if this settlement is not approved. That puts the residents of Warren on the hook for the cost of ongoing litigation and at risk of tens or even a hundred million dollar judgement that would empty our fund balance and force a special tax assessment of thousands of dollars each on Warren homeowner.
“I am acting to protect Warren residents, and the members of the city council need to think long and hard about the potential impact of their reckless actions. The residents of our city also need to know the potential conflicts that exist with their illegally hired lawyer, Jeff Schroeder, whose law firm may well represent other plaintiffs in this action. Neither the Warren City Attorney Ethan Vinson, my administration, or our insurance carrier have signed off on these potential conflicts and the risk they represent to our city. This is why we cannot have attorneys being paid by both sides of an issue who benefit solely from ongoing litigation. City Council must see the error of their ways and sustain this veto so we can work together to protect Warren residents,” Fouts concluded.
A hearing will be held at 9:00 am on Monday morning, November 30, 2020 in the courtroom of Judge Carl Marlinga who is presiding over this case. In that hearing the city of Warren will be making motions to compel further information on potential conflicts of interest and other related issues.
Members of the public or the media who wish to monitor this case can watch on Judge Marlinga’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVuTH9P0gPwm_lIXjUISMNw.