Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Message riles mayor

by Brad Lindberg

September 27, 2012

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Councilman Dan Schulte entered deep water by claiming to file grievances against Mayor Ted Kedzierski’s professional licenses two days after being stripped of a political assignment.

Schulte said he filed grievances against Kedzierski, then said he didn’t. His Aug. 23 voice mail message on the mayor’s cell phone says he did:

“I filed a couple of grievances with the state board of licensing and board of ethics.”

Whether true, made up, sincere or frivolous, Kedzierski, an attorney and certified public accountant, takes the message seriously.

“In over 30 years of practicing as a lawyer, and over 30 years of practicing as a CPA, I’ve never had one grievance,” Kedzierski said. “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, but it can be ruined in a second. I don’t know if Dan realizes that.”

Schulte’s message is dated 6:12 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23 — two days after the Aug. 21 council meeting.

The meeting ended with Kedzierski and the Grosse Pointe Shores City Council — minus Schulte, who’d left early due to a family emergency — removing Schulte, a public relations consultant, as municipal public relations liaison.

Kedzierski explained that Schulte, a candidate in the November election for state representative, was politicking from his council seat while serving as municipal spokesman.

“In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, conflicts of interests or violations of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, I think we need to make this effective today,” Kedzierski said at the time. “Dan Schulte has the absolute right to run for another office, but he’s in elected office right now. I don’t want his opponents using this as a potential claim of using the power of the podium to promote a new elected office.”

The council approved reassigning the PR post to Councilman Alexander Ajlouni, a physician.

At this month’s meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 18, Schulte also objected to being relieved in absentia without being told.

“I go into the grocery store the next day and have a resident say, ‘I heard the council threw you under the bus,’” Schulte said.

“The council didn’t know you were leaving (early),” Kedzierski said.

“I don’t care if Dr. Ajlouni takes it over,” Schulte said of the liaison role. “It’s the way you did it, Mr. Kedzierski. It looked underhanded.”

“The record will reflect that,” Kedzierski answered, moving to other matters.

The message

Kedzierski preserved the voice message on his phone:

“I would like to see a legal opinion that says there’s a conflict there,” Schulte said. “I certainly don’t see one. But, I have some concerns and I filed a couple of grievances with the state board of licensing and board of ethics because this is getting out of hand and I think we need to have an independent third party probably help us see what’s best. I will talk with you later.”

At this month’s council meeting, Schulte denied saying he filed grievances, or that he did so in retaliation to Kedzierski’s perceived professional backhand.

“You drew first blood, Mr. Kedzierski,” Schulte said at this month’s meeting.

He added, “You jerk the PR liaison from someone who works in the media and give it to someone who doesn’t; it is an indication that someone who’s in an entirely different line of work can do a better job than someone who’s in that line of work.”

Kedzierski reasserted opposition to Schulte laying out his House platform during a council session while doubling as official spokesman of the city.

“It wasn’t appropriate,” Kedzierski said.

Media show

Kedzierski also didn’t like being blindsided by media at the August meeting.

The main agenda item was Schulte’s presentation favoring the Shores switching jurisdictions from Wayne to Macomb County.

Kedzierski arrived at the meeting surprised to find numerous television and print reporters.

“I was on the way to the restroom and Channel 4 wanted to interview me,” he said to Schulte. “Did you know they were coming?”

“No,” Schulte said. “I haven’t called any media.”

Yes or no

Two days after this month’s meeting, Schulte denied leaving a voice message stating he’d filed grievances.

“I never said, in any capacity, that I filed complaints at all,” he said. “This is a bunch of hot air. If you can show me anywhere I filed anything, I’ll give you $1 million bucks.”

Upon being read a transcription of the message, Schulte said, “I said, ‘I should’ (file grievances),’ or ‘How would you like it if I did (file grievances)?’ I don’t think I said, ‘I did.’ He (Kedzierski) made a big deal out of nothing.”

Schulte also denied recruiting media to the Macomb County presentation.

“As God is my witness, I didn’t contact anybody,” Schulte said.

Nor did he ask someone else to contact the media, he said.

“I didn’t do anything,” Schulte said. “I didn’t tell the ant to tell the grasshopper to tell the dog to tell the …”

Seeking clarity

The Grosse Pointe News is seeking verification of Schulte’s claims from licensing boards and media outlets.

Kedzierski also must determine if Schulte said what he meant or meant what he said.

“Failing to respond to a grievance, even to something you feel lacks merit, is subject to sanctions by the state bar,” Kedzierski said.