Metro Detroit: bigots lose campaign against sale of school building to Islamic group

A grand jury won’t be empaneled to investigate the Farmington Public Schools Board of Education’s sale of district property to the Islamic Cultural Association, the state attorney general’s office has decided.

The request for a grand jury investigation followed legal wrangling [see here and here] spanning more than two years over the $1.1 million sale of the Eagle Elementary School site in West Bloomfield to the ICA. Opponents alleged no other offers were considered. The FPS Board maintained that it received inquiries on the property but the Islamic group made the only purchase offer.

The case wound its way through district court, the Michigan Court of Appeals and then the Michigan Supreme Court which ruled in February that it wouldn’t hear an appeal from the plaintiff.

Allegations of “bribery, acceptance of illegal campaign contributions (and) circumvention of the Open Meetings Act” were included in the request to empanel a grand jury. A “rigged property evaluation” and “inside dealing” were also alleged.

According to a statement issued by Richard Bandstra, chief legal counsel for the state attorney general, “insufficient evidence of a crime exist to petition for the empanelment of a grand jury.” The request and materials provided were reviewed by the AG’s criminal division, he stated.

FPS Superintendent Susan Zurvalec said the AG’s decision “is good news.”

“I am relieved that this is finally over and that the Attorney General found no basis for an investigation into the claims made,” she said. “We always knew we had followed the law and our policies and did nothing wrong.”, 17 May 2013