FOIA reveals Rowell billed Genoa taxpayers for stay at posh Detroit hotel

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A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that Genoa Township Trustee Linda Rowell made taxpayers pick up the tab for two nights at a posh Detroit hotel in January – just 50 minutes from her house.

That’s right: Rowell made taxpayers foot the bill for a luxury hotel because she didn’t want to drive less than an hour.

It’s part of a disturbing trend that reveals Rowell doesn’t care how much taxpayer money she wastes. Rowell, who is currently a trustee, is running for supervisor in the Aug. 2 Republican primary against Bill Rogers. (The third candidate in the race, Kevin Spicher, dropped out recently and enthusiastically endorsed Rogers.)

If this is the kind of “fiscal responsibility” Rowell will bring to the table as Genoa’s supervisor, she has a lot of explaining to do.

She can’t drive less than an hour away, so she makes the taxpayers put her up in a posh hotel. Incredible.

The Livingston Post filed the FOIA with Genoa Township, asking for all expenses related to a Michigan Townships Association conference in Detroit on Jan. 19-21. The FOIA revealed that Genoa paid $335.72 for Rowell to spend two nights at the posh Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

A Google Maps search shows that the Marriott is only about 50 minutes from Rowell’s home in the Brighton area. Genoa Township is a heavy commuter township, with many residents driving to work each day in metro Detroit, Ann Arbor and Lansing. They make an hour-long commute every single day.

So I’m guessing these voters will have a hard time figuring out why the person who wants to be their next supervisor can’t do the same thing for just a couple days. Instead, she had the taxpayers shell out money for two nights at the Marriott. All because she couldn’t drive 50 minutes each way.

We’re not talking about Brighton to Traverse City. We’re talking about Brighton to Detroit. You can’t just make the drive from Brighton to Detroit?

Unbelievable.

The FOIA revealed that the Detroit conference ended up being pretty lucrative for Rowell all the way around. In addition to two nights at the Marriott, she also pocketed $225 in meal money and $192 in per-diem payments from Genoa.

Plenty of other township officials from metro Detroit likely attended the MTA convention as well, but I’m guessing they were perfectly willing to make the drive. How many of them had the taxpayers foot the bill for a few nights at the Marriott?

Linda Rowell did. And now, she needs to explain to voters why this was a good use of their money.

Rowell’s money-wasting ways go far beyond this, of course.

Her costly crusade to keep a small Christian school out of Genoa Township has become one of the biggest issues in the campaign.

Last summer, going against the recommendation of the Township Planning Commission, Rowell voted with three other board members to keep Livingston Christian Schools out of Genoa Township.

Livingston Christian sued, and Rowell and the other board members decided to wage a costly battle to fight the lawsuit. A federal judge recently ruled in Genoa’s favor, but only after the township racked up nearly $100,000 in legal fees.

A quick review of Rowell’s campaign website and campaign Facebook page show no mention of “fiscal responsibility” anywhere.

No surprise there. If I had her record of wasteful spending, I wouldn’t want to talk about it, either.

About Buddy Moorehouse 80 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

15 Comments

  1. Buddy dear, where did you learn to write? This arrival is unethical at best. Your attack on Ms Rowell is appalling and one sided at best. If you had been one of my students I would have suggested a different career path.
    Peggy

  2. WOW!! Horrible journalism Buddy Moorehouse – your articles seem like tabloid gossip! Seriously – this is really bottom feeder reading at it’s best. Can you say. . . AGENDA!!!

  3. I have to admit, Todd Smith is a disgrace. But going after Rowell like this looks questionable. Bill Rogers has been involved in saddling many citizens of the County with failed sewer bonds. The Federal lawsuit against Brighton Township is the first of many which will address those harms – literally 10’s of millions of dollars. I am no Linda Rowell fan but I dont’ think she deserves this….and I think Livingston County would be very wise to put an enthusiastic end to Bill Rogers and his families fiscal failures in the County.

  4. I attend a lot of training seminars similar to these where colleagues from other organizations similar to mine are attending as well. The value of staying overnight at seminars is the networking opportunities. You can’t network with a colleague when a speaker is talking at the seminar. Otherwise you might as well watch a webinar. As far as “posh” Detroit hotel, there are not many other choices downtown Detroit other than the high rise hotels built for these events and host these conventions in-house. These folks took their own time to be here. I didn’t hear that Rogers was there? What a horrible example of journalism. Any journalist with integrity would disclose any personal interest in attacking someone. This isn’t about a hotel fee.

    • Completely agree with you Jim!! This is, what, the third article Buddy has gone after Linda?? He is looking like the joke here.

  5. None of this is lavish. Looks like Buddy Moorehouse has an agenda, or nothing better to write about. Stupid

  6. This is the dumbest article I have seen in a long time. Much a do about nothing. I wouldn’t really say that the Marriott in Detroit is really “posh” and it is not like a real vacation to stay in Detroit –there is nothing special there. Also, day parking is not free. Secondly, that $192 a day per diem is about $14 per hour for the long convention days. It is not like they are at the Grand Hotel. It is important that lawmakers support this association and stay at the hotel so the convention can get discounts on rooms and other facilities they used. The associatin counts on a certain number of rooms to get a discount–so when Brighton goes to Traverse City, we get the discount. This is critical for a small organization like the Township Assocaition.

    What are you recommending? Not attending the association meetings?

    Being on site is important.

  7. Well, she could have billed the taxpayers about $100 for mileage both ways, and then there’s wasted commuting time. Maybe she used breakfast and happy hour for networking?

    • Yeah, she could have done that but the actual reimbursement rate is 54 cents a mile. Would be just over $25 each way – 1/4th of your phony figure. Also, in addition to there being no benefit to residents of Genoa by Rowell “networking”, going to breakfast and happy hour does not require a nights stay at a hotel 50 miles from your home.

      About the only public benefit of Rowell happy-houring on the public’s dime, would be to keep an eye on how many drinks Todd Smith was consuming and prevent him from getting into a vehicle. Then again, that’s what we have police for.

  8. While I totally agree with this, it happens quite often all over the US. When you are required to attend something like this as part of your job, unless you are required to drive, if living within XYZ miles, it’s common procedure to stay close to where a conference/convention is. Generally outside of 50 miles seems to be the measuring stick.

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