15 Sep 2014
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Former Official Alleges 'Out and Out Lies' in Treasurer's Annual Report

Denise Hammond will not sue West Bloomfield Township, but asked that treasurer Teri Weingarden's annual report be taken off-line.

Former Official Alleges 'Out and Out Lies' in Treasurer's Annual Report
Politically charged statements in West Bloomfield Township treasurer Teri Weingarden's annual report led officials to pull the document from public view and move its approval to a March agenda. 

Former township treasurer Denise Hammond said during Monday's township board meeting that she contacted clerk Catherine Shaughnessy after reviewing the posted report. Hammond said it contained "out and out lies" that "do constitute libel", but added she does not plan to take the township to court.

"I have no desire to involve this township in a lawsuit for libel that was caused by the current treasurer," she said. "I think you have enough on your plate. But I will not allow factual reporting in the 2008 audit to be totally misconstrued so the treasurer can say I was doing something wrong." 

At issue is whether a comment in the 2008 audit regarding township investments constituted a "material finding". Weingarden said she took the language from the 2008 report, but Hammond and Shaughnessy both argued that Weingarden misrepresented the auditor's comments. 

"It wasn't a finding in any way, shape or regard," Shaughnessy said. "It once again shows me you just don't understand what we're doing. There are no findings in this audit, and there were no material findings in this audit."

"If I misunderstood, I apologize," Weingarden said. But she also maintained that there was an issue with township investments, though it did not mean the previous treasurer "did anything wrong". 

Trustees also sparred with Weingarden over a board-approved policy that the township checking account hold no more than $3 million. Shaughnessy said the balance was $15 million on Dec. 31, 2013. Weingarden maintained that the funds were last minute tax receipts, and the money needed to be in the account, so that she could distribute the funds. 

Watch the township board meeting on Civic Center TV's website

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