City Approves Ethics Investigation Over Arts, Beats & Eats Controversy

Royal Oak City Commissioners want an outside investigator to determine whether Commissioner Jim Rasor has violated any laws or ordinances.

The Royal Oak City Commission approved an independent investigation to determine whether the actions of one its members constitute a conflict interest or an ethics violation at a special meeting at Friday evening.

Mayor Pro Tem Patricia Capello, who requested the special meeting along with Commissioner Peggy Goodwin, described receiving an anonymous letter on Aug. 14 that alleged inappropriate actions on the part of Commissioner Jim Rasor with regards to an Arts, Beats & Eats (ABE) parking station operation. Capello, who found the letter unsettling, followed up with City Manager Don Johnson who established Rasor had applied for an ABE parking station license for the former Fresard property. 

The Main Street property was recently purchased by 400 Main, LLC. The new owners are in the early stages of on the site, which would need approval from the Planning Commission and City Commission. Rasor sits on both panels. 

Capello requested “an independent, third party, subject-matter-expert attorney be retained” to investigate the matter and determine whether a conflict of interest exists and/or if any laws or ordinances were violated. When asked, City Attorney Dave Gillam estimated the cost of such a probe to be in the neighborhood of $5,000.

“I understand that we have a very specialized area of the law involved, and we also need to preserve the rights of the individual, who must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise,” she said.

The decision to appoint an investigator received unanimous support from commissioners, including Rasor. Keeping his remarks brief, the embattled commissioner said he was confident that he has complied with all ethics ordinances and welcomes the “investigation to render the same.”

“I would ask all bloggers and anonymous posters to reserve all judgment until the facts are all on the table,” Rasor said.

Public comment at the special meeting was minimal. Royal Oak resident Ron Wolf, who accused Rasor of "trying to ride two horses at the same time,” expressed disappointment the commission chamber wasn’t packed. Only five people voiced concern.

“We have an ethical issue,” said Rick Karlowski of Royal Oak. When a business that is still in the planning stages of a hotel development approaches a commissioner with a sidebar business it “reeks of Wayne County-ism,” he said. 

After the meeting was adjourned, Rasor reiterated that he has disclosed everything that was required of him under the ethics ordinance and that he had no “inside information.”

“It’s a private business deal, which benefits charity,” Rasor said. The commissioner has stated he planned to donate 15 percent of any revenue earned by the parking operation to the ROOTS foundation.

Curt Jacobs August 29, 2012 at 07:08 PM
DDT, you can defend, and run interference for people who perpetrate sleezy politics all you want. Keep on defending what is clearly wrong. Maybe those bums will ask you to run for COUNCIL on their "Dream Team" slate.
Curt Jacobs August 29, 2012 at 07:12 PM
DT- To answer your question, the next city election is in November 2013, when Rasor's term expires. Hopefully, he will do the honorable thing and resign prior to that, so that this city can get back on the right track and focus on the budget, and we can put this major distraction and circus sideshow to bed.
The Duke of Royal Oak August 29, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Thanks for the election information.
The Duke of Royal Oak August 29, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Ronald Wolf August 29, 2012 at 07:40 PM
CBRichardEllis is a company with offices in fifty countries and from their Gross Point Office involving a Mr.Cookey is representing the secretive 400 Main LLC, the only complaints listed against CBRE are internal and have to do with sexual harassment and alleged e-mails containing pornographic terms according to my search. Only one BBB complaint, rating is A+. My logic tells me as an agent they are in no way responsible for any future action, nor the performance of 400 Main LLC from what I understand. In my opinion RO is exposing themselves to possible problems if a company cannot and will not name its principle owners although everything done so far is completely legal.You have heard the expression "Trust Me" if anyone on our commission hears this term a red flag should go up.
DDT August 29, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I have defended no one.
DDT August 29, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Uninformed (ˌʌnɪnˈfɔːmd) — adj not having knowledge or information about a situation, subject, etc
DDT August 29, 2012 at 09:47 PM
No personal attacks here, move along, nothing to see... From DT: "The shame and disgust of a city official behaving this way is not acceptable. To maintain the honesty and prevent elected officials from profitering from their positions a resignation or recall is a must from Mr. Rasor, we will not tolerate this type of behavior from our city leaders!!!!"
The Duke of Royal Oak August 29, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I'm informed now thank you Curt. I'm on PATCH to gain knowledge and information, subject etc.......
Mark Itall August 29, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Mr. Rasor has a hard time getting his ego and sense of self-importance through a door, resigning is not something he will do.
Ronald Wolf August 30, 2012 at 01:20 AM
At this stage to give Rasor more flak is like gawking at an accident. If one high school principle can skim as much money as reported from nickel dime fund raisors imagine what is going on with the rest of this city. Just look at the money being taken in from meters, from parking tickets, from tickets for illegal turns given out at will, from real estate taxes on newer big foot homes and half million dollar condos, from permits for new construction, restaurant equipment fees. Not to mention applications, to add outside seating. Has anyone really taken a look at all the new home construction and re-modeling? Conclusion: Maybe we do have to take a look at the golden parachutes for court judges, and retired chiefs in all capacities, city accounting processes that could use outside scrutiny. Something is wrong somewhere, I have not seen many late model luxury vehicles parked in the vicinity of city hall so where is it all going? Lawsuits? Perhaps what the city needs is a new charter with a council instead of a comissioner system, a city manager with a veto who can only be replaced with a clear majority of seventy five percent of the council including the mayor. Adding a city income tax for non resident businesses would be an idea. Something needs to be done to dam the flow leaving the city. Permit fees for all outside event organizers to benefit a downtown park. Preference for residents on hiring would be an excellent policy. Any more suggestions? Bring it on.
WolfBane August 30, 2012 at 03:04 AM
"Something is wrong somewhere." -Ron Wolf You're right, and its you.
Milk Carton Candidates August 30, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Has anyone else notiiced that some of Rasor's biggest supporters are missing from this discussion? All of them have been active posters on this site. Where is Mike Ripinski on this? He even has a blog on here. He's been a huge supporter and defender of Rasor with adding all the bars to the downtown. If this parking scam is indicative of how Rasor conducts business behind the scenes, isn't he concerned the same is going on with the bar owners? Let's hear from him. Where is Clyde (Millage Chairman) Esbri? He wrote an editorial supporting Rasor's direction for the downtown. What does he have to say about the investigation. Finally, where has Scott Warheit been? He was a very active poster until this scandal was exposed. He was the unsuccessful Rasor Dream Team city commission candidate. Is he disturbed about how Rasor got his hand caught in the cookie jar? I would love to hear what these past active posters have to say about this important community issue? Come out from hiding guys.
Tom K. August 30, 2012 at 07:22 PM
That's one way to look at it, but since they never even posted once, I think it's more likely, they recognize that Rasor has himself in an undefendable position.
Ronald Wolf August 30, 2012 at 09:18 PM
My pychic friend. Haven't heard your outhouse metaphors for a while now Pasternak. How is your buddy by the way, are you his new Igor? Do not worry as nature abhors a vacuum and there are ample candidates with legal degrees and a list of outside supporters in the business waiting in the wings for it all to settle down. Believe it not part of me would rather stick with the devil I know, but he himself has made that impossible.
Sandy W. August 30, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Ron, Just want you to know, that as a life long Royal Oaker that I don't appreciate your posts. Many are just out-right lies, some are plain ole defamatory, and some are just stupid. Put some of your "skin" in the game, O WIse One, and run for office.
Ronald Wolf August 30, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Awaiting your reply to my hopefully fictional summary of a possible relationship between you Jim and the silent, invisable investors. Did I strike a nerve? Is that why there have been no further postings Jim?
K.C. Evans August 30, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Sandy, what do you think about the Rasor/parking lot issue?
Ronald Wolf August 30, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Yup, how can you go against a lifelong Royal Oaker like yourself? As mean spirited and defamatory as your apparently unfounded opinions of myself are I would encourage you to take your own advice. I am content with being the observing gadfly, a job that goes unrewarded for the most part, and a job that is subject to abuse from self appointed arbiters of decorum such as yourself dear lady. Please give me an example of a lie I have told. I take guesses however I state that they are such until there is proof found to make them facts. The road to the truth is often a rocky one as you so amply demonstrate.
48073 August 30, 2012 at 10:48 PM
OK, I'll chip in Ron. You are a class A jerk. All I see is that you hate one commissioner and are willing to say anything to take him down - and our city. KMA Ron.
Ronald Wolf August 30, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Unlike your flowery tag that as Maria Ouspenskya warns fortells of danger when the Autumn Moon is bright I do not desribe myself as a plant. You make me sneeze. Go weed yourself please.
Ronald Wolf August 30, 2012 at 11:14 PM
48073 Is that all you can use to identify yourself? At least I am not a class A gutless wonder hiding behind a zip code. As for bringing down the city, please. I am trying to defend it from those use it, take the money and run home to Birmingham, or Gross Point for just an example, but you of course do not have half a brain to know what I am talking about, and that is the problem.
Mark Itall August 31, 2012 at 02:57 AM
I do have to agree with Sandy's accurate analysis. 48073: As to taking down a commissioner, no, the commissioner is doing amazingly well on taking himself down with no help needed.
Tom August 31, 2012 at 03:31 AM
If one is worried about "taking the city down", they should be most concerned about the actions of one of their elected officials bringing all the negative publicity to our fair city. While some of Mr. Wolf's comments are sometimes over the top, Channel 7 and Channel 2 are never going to run a story about him and his blogging comments. I think you anger and frustration needs to be directed at the real source of the problem.
don marr August 31, 2012 at 05:23 AM
do you attend the commission meetings or listen to them carefully on cable TV? do you see a pattern of any sort? is there coruption? Are there threats made to the long time residents that more money is needed or else..and thus an increase to vote on in Nov.? are you listening to your still small voice? until it gets cleaned up and openly acknowledged so ths truth can be seen....I for one am voting "No". And yes, this connects to the bru ha ha with the commissioner in question.
Ronald Wolf August 31, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Have you heard about the mathematical theory of the possibility of reproducing a work of genius (eg Shakespear) if you have an infinite number of monkeys typing away on an infinite number of computers(originally typewriters)? Apparently in Royal Oak if enough residents who can type write into the Patch the reverse happens as more letters sound like they have banannas in their mouths. This is why I am taking a break. Its either that or there has been an increase of outpatients on weekend passes.
Detox August 31, 2012 at 01:00 PM
THAT was some break, a whole two hours! Paternak was right.
Detox August 31, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Er, its not a mathematical theory, more like a joke.
Ronald Wolf August 31, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Paasternak is always right Detox, encourage HIM to run for office. You can be his manager. As far as to whether "Er" is a mathematical theory or a mere joke you should refer that to our city commission where I am sure they will in turn refer you to a paid qualified outside opinion. My physics professor when he told the story told it with a pretty straight face. Just like our council had on the question of an ethics violation by Rasor. Now if you permit me I will return to my break which is just a break not a vow of silence. Sorry If I disappointed you guys, you can go back to peeling your bananas now. Peace out.
Fullbright August 31, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Don: All of us here at the Institute "DVR" city commission meetings and them play them backwards as they were intended. Ironically, we have been able to divine that you and Wolf are examples of retro-evolution, and are evolving into simpler single-celled plants without nervous systems. Although you have plenty of sap.


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