On the taxpayers' dime, Assistant City Attorney Daniel Ophoff has taken up the defense of private developers and contractors before the Michigan Court of Appeals.
On March 21, 2005, Ophoff filed a brief with the appellate court arguing for a dismissal of the hazardous waste citizen suit filed against 900 Monroe L.L.C., 940 Monroe L.L.C. (owned by Fifth Third and National City Banks), Pioneer Incorporated, and Dykema Excavators Inc. -- the developers and lead contractors of the Boardwalk project -- along with the City of Grand Rapids. (Click here and here for lawsuit details.) The suit, filed by us, alleged that these parties violated the state's hazardous waste management act when they created an unlicensed landfill by dumping the Boardwalk's contaminated soil into the defunct concrete waters of the nearby Monroe Avenue Water Filtration Plant. (Click here, here, and here for dumping details.)
Ophoff prepared the brief and signed it on behalf of the City and also the private party defendants. No agreement exists for the private parties to fund their joint defense by the City Attorney's office. Nor does any record exist of reimbursement to the City by the private parties for Ophoff's legal services.
It's bad enough that the City went into the tank for these polluters by subsidizing the Boardwalk project (with a cut-rate tax assessment), then selling them a dump for their hazardous waste, quashing any inspection or inquiry that would reveal the dumping, thwarting a public information hearing on the contaminants released by the polluters, and finally destroying the City Commission minutes recording these repugnant decisions -- now you, dear taxpayers, get to pay for the polluters' legal defense of their violations of the law.
Click here and tell Mayor Heartwell and the City Commission that the Boardwalk polluters can pay for their own defense.