Whitefish Township

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society [GLSHS] has a long history of lobbying Whitefish Township despite the Federal tax code prohibiting non-profits from influencing legislation. GLSHS has often been involved in the decisions of the Whitefish Township government from 1987 through present.

The Whitefish Township Supervisor resigned in 2002 after his recall started due to a perceived “overly cozy” relationship with GLSHS. 

From 2002 to 2006, GLSHS unsuccessfully lobbied the township to limit watchdog’s freedom of speech at township meetings & public access to the Whitefish Point Light Station.

See the You Tube Video: The Fine Distinctions of Doubletalk: Fact & Fiction at Whitefish Point for the GLSHS Board President lobbying the Whitefish Township Board of Trustees in 2008 to purchase property for them at Whitefish Point.

● See The Evening News articles about Whitefish Township problems with GLSHS

● See GLSHS lobby to influence legislation

● See Public Access at Whitefish Point

See “Your Tax Dollars at Work”:

1. Grant Description for Crews Quarters building at Whitefish Point

2. Grant description for GLSHS underwater survey of shipwrecks

See The History of Maritime Artifacts at Whitefish Point

See Whitefish Point Parking Controversy

See Chippewa County Road Commission minutes about the loss of grant funds and the shifting dollar amounts.


See letter to the Chippewa County Prosecutor about misuse of public funds and Whitefish Point public access.

The Chippewa County Sheriff’s relationship to GLSHS: includes "missing" parking tickets and GLSHS claims of the Sheriff Department’s reluctance to write tickets at Whitefish Point.

See You Tube Video:

Fine Distinctions of Doubletalk: Fact & Fiction at Whitefish Point

See Follow the money trail
















See the Chippewa County Health Department 1991 report on the mercury spill in the Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point.

See the handwritten statement by the former GLSHS employee who received massive mercury vapor exposure at Whitefish Point.

See the Chippewa County Health Department 2004 citizen environmental complaint about an unreported mercury spill in the fog signal building at the Whitefish Point Light Station ...

See the Chippewa County Health Department 2004 report on mercury at Whitefish Point.

See 2005 letter to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry physician about GLSHS employee mercury exposure














Chippewa County Road Commission

Starting in 2000, the Chippewa County Road Commission sponsored Federal gas tax (transportation enhancement) grants for GLSHS totaling $705,000 even though it had no experience in administrating non-road projects and the county did not have the required monitoring program for Federal grants. This resulted in a lengthy Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General investigation. When the Federal Highway Administration found that GLSHS used the money for a sauna for its members and a commercial bed & breakfast style operation, it ordered the return of $124,406 of inappropriately used grant funds to the Federal government. 

The U.S. Access Board ruled that the same project failed to meet disability statutes and ordered that the Crews Quarters building be made accessible to all people.

During the same time frame that the Federal Highway Administration ordered the return of the grant funds misused by GLSHS , it cleared the Michigan Department of Transportation to go forward with the Chippewa County Road Commission $225,000 Federal grant for GLSHS to survey shipwrecks that they plundered in the past. 

Letter to the Editor of the Mining Journal, July 2003

To date the Chippewa County Road Commission appears to have absorbed a loss of more than $100,000 rather than recoup the Federal grant money that GLSHS misused. The Chippewa County Board of Commissioner reappointed Road Commissioners who were responsible for this loss.


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. 

Chippewa County Health Department

The Appearance of a Another Cover Up:

The Chippewa County Health Department was involved in the 1991 investigation of a 1989 mercury spill inside the GLSHS Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point that exposed the public to toxic vapors for two years. A former GLSHS employee had massive mercury vapor exposure at Whitefish Point from 1989 to 2002. When the Health Department’s Environmental Director was contacted about helping the former GLSHS employee in 2004, he instructed that this person must contact his family physician for toxicity testing. The Health Department never did assist the former GLSHS employee to obtain toxicity testing. An Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry [ATSDR] physician did contact the former GLSHS employee and a Japanese physician who advised that mercury levels could be measured for up to seven years following toxic exposure. The ATSDR physician suddenly and without explanation severed all contact with former GLSHS employee who was massively exposed to mercury.

The Health Department finally investigated the 2004 complaint of another mercury spill inside the fog signal building at Whitefish Point after repeated public pressure. David Martin of the Health Department reported the results of their investigation directly to Tom Farnquist, GLSHS Executive Director, even though it was the result of a citizen complaint. The Health Department report was written as an apparent attempt to downplay the continued high levels of mercury vapor inside the Shipwreck Museum and the unexpectedly high levels inside the fog signal building for a spill occurring 15 years earlier. The Health Department 2004 report contradicts its own stricter 1991 recommendations for public exposure to mercury vapor inside the Shipwreck Museum and the fog signal building at Whitefish Point. 

See Whitefish Point State Politics, Whitefish Point Federal Politics, & More EPA Cover Up
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