Chippewa County Board of Commissioners
The Appearance of a Cover Up:
In 2003, the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners appeared to turn a "blind eye" when a spokesperson for the Whitefish Point Preservation Society, informed them that the Chippewa County Road Commission was about to lose a large amount of taxpayer dollars due to GLSHS misuse of grant funds. Even though they had an established policy of publishing unedited public comment on their website, it appeared that they attempted to cover up the Road Commission and GLSHS’s large loss of taxpayer dollars by sanitizing the Whitefish Point Preservation Society’s public comment that repo rted the loss.
Excerpt of Chippewa County Board of Commissioners minutes sanitizing WPPS’s 8/11/03 statement:
The Whitefish Point Preservation Society addressed the County Board with concerns of preserving the history of the Whitefish Point Lighthouse as an historic site. She stated that this site is also unique because it a migratory route for wild birds and the goals of the WPPS is to assure this site is restored to historic accuracy and is not commercialized and to protect the fragile ecological environment and significant migratory flyway.
The Preservation Society is questioning the approval of Federal Funds for restoration projects, destroying the natural habitat and because of this, the loss of income for area businesses.
From chippewacountymi.gov - see 8/11/03 Board Minutes
WPPS’s statement to the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners on 2/17/04:
A Whitefish Point Preservation Society spokesperson read the following statement:
I am here as a representative of a watchdog group called the Whitefish Point Preservation Society. I strongly object that your August 11, 2003 minutes so altered my statement to you during that meeting that my statement was in effect covered up. I told you that the Michigan Attorney General’s office had instructed us to bring our concerns to you regarding the Chippewa County Road Commission. I gave you ample documentation that the Road Commission has been in an overly cozy relationship and conducting work for a private company called the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical society. I informed you that the Federal Highway Administration has ordered an audit of the Road Commission for the return of an estimated $280,000 in grant funds improperly used on a Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society project at Whitefish Point. As a taxpayer, I asked that the return of that money not come from the Road Commission or the County coffers.
The Road Commission is not alone. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is investigating possible fraud of $131,198 grant funneled through Whitefish Township to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. The Department of Environmental Quality has withdrawn a Clean Michigan Initiative Waterfront Redevelopment $48,347 Grant awarded to Whitefish Township on behalf of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society due to public access and safety issues.
Again, I ask that any return of grant funds not come from the Road Commission or County coffers. I request that this statement, in its entirety, be entered into the Chippewa County Commission minutes.
From chippewacountymi.gov - see 2/17/04 Board Minutes
No county or state official has demanded that GLSHS pay back the misused grant funds even though Michigan has one of the worse economic climates in the United States.