Lansing Council defers to courts on Houghton matter

It could be up to the courts to decide whether Lansing City Councilmember elect Tina Houghton is eligible to serve on the board. The Lansing City Council and the city's board of ethics both decided Tuesday night to postpone any action on the issue until after a hearing in Ingham county circuit court later this month.

Councilmember Eric Hewitt says he's disappointed the council won't take up his resolution that would have initiated an investigation into how Houghton's unpaid property taxes went un-noticed.

"There's nothing wrong with the court's doing their due diligence, but, that falls back to," he says. "Did we, the city, do our due diligence, and that's the question we need to be investigating at the city council level, whether we are now looking at removing someone from office versus, did something happen that was incorrect and do we need to take steps to keep this from happening in the future."

Circuit Court Judge William Collette has scheduled a hearing for December 30. A lawsuit filed last week alleges Houghton lied on affidavits she filled out when she applied to run for the city council and when she was appointed to the parks board in 2007. Tax records show Houghton had unpaid taxes dating back to 2005.

Houghton paid her taxes last month. She resigned from the parks board last week.