Judge denies request to keep Houghton off Lansing council

An Ingham County judge has denied a request to block Lansing city council member-elect Tina Houghton from taking office. A Lansing resident had petitioned the court earlier this month claiming Houghton is ineligible to serve on the council due to her delinquent property taxes.

Second ward resident Robert Gray sued the city of Lansing after he learned that Houghton was several thousand dollars behind on her property taxes. Gray's attorney, Fred Stackable, argued that Houghton's delinquency made her ineligible to run for the seat and that city officials should have kept her off the ballot.

But city attorney Brigham Smith noted that the city charter would prevent her from holding office, but not from running. Houghton has since paid the city and Ingham County about $3,500 to settle her tax debt. In his ruling Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge William Collette said it was unlikely Gray would win his case against the city and that a temporary restraining order keeping Houghton from taking office was unwarranted.

Gray says he's not sure if he'll take further action against the city.