In Michigan
6:13 pm
Fri December 4, 2009

City of Lansing Sued over Houghton's 2007 appointment to parks board

LANSING, MI – The City of Lansing is being sued to keep recently-elected councilmember Tina Houghton from taking office in January. It was discovered that Houghton owed the city $3,300 in delinquent taxes shortly after she was elected to represent the city's second ward last month.

The suit was filed in Ingham county circuit court Thursday by second ward resident Robert Gray. Gray is accusing the city of violating its own charter by allowing Tina Houghton to serve on the Parks and Recreation board, even though she was delinquent on her property taxes when she was appointed by Mayor Virg Bernero in 2007.

Houghton signed an affidavit claiming she was not in default to the city. Bernero says his office doesn't verify the accuracy of the affidavits signed by his appointments.

"What we've done in at least in my time as mayor, is, we've relied on the individual, you know, to just truthfully fill those out. To my knowledge, it hasn't been an issue in four years," Bernero says.

Councilmember Carol Wood says she's requesting a review of all city boards and commissions to see if anyone one else is in violation of the charter. Houghton resigned from the parks board yesterday. She has also paid her back taxes. The city's ethics board and the city council are expected to review requests to investigate the issues surrounding Houghton next week.