Genoa board spent $1,540 to send drunk driver to conference – where he spent time drinking

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TODD OYSTERA Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that Genoa Township spent $1,540.03 in January to send trustee Todd Smith to a Michigan Townships Association conference in Detroit, where – according to his Facebook posts – he spent part of his time eating expensive oyster dinners and drinking cocktails.

Smith is a two-time convicted drunk driver who spent 45 days in jail. He frequently celebrates on Facebook about how much he’s still drinking. He’s been serving as a trustee since 2000, and is running for re-election this year.

Genoa Township turned over the expenses for the trip as the result of a FOIA request from the Livingston Post. The records showed that even though the conference was in Detroit – less than an hour away from Genoa Township – the township paid for Smith to stay at the posh Detroit Marriott Hotel for three nights, at $167 a night.

Taxpayers paid $503.38 total for Smith to stay at the luxury hotel. The conference was less than an hour away, but Smith and the other Genoa board members couldn’t be bothered to commute to it.

He also received $58.65 for mileage, $60 for parking and a whopping $384 in per-diem fees (since township trustees don’t receive a salary, they’re paid a per-diem when they attend township-related events).

But here’s the really offensive part: Genoa also paid Smith $75 per day for food and beverages at the conference – $225 total – and according to his Facebook posts, he used at least some of his per-diem on alcohol.

On Jan. 20, Smith posted a photo of an expensive oyster dinner and what appears to be a martini. Smith posted that he was “Eating Cocktail” at the Joe Muer Seafood restaurant in Detroit.

That’s right – a two-time convicted drunk driver was apparently consuming alcohol while at a township conference, and Genoa Township taxpayers had to pick up the tab.

The Genoa Township Board approved the expenditure, and it’s the latest in a string of stunningly questionable financial decisions by the board.

The Genoa board has already spent nearly $100,000 in taxpayer money fighting to keep a Christian school out of the township. The board turned down a request last summer from Livingston Christian Schools to locate in the township, even through the township Planning Commission voted 6-1 in favor of the project. After Livingston Christian sued, the board decided to vigorously fight the lawsuit, and it’s already cost taxpayers nearly $100,000 in legal fees.

A group of Genoa Township residents who were involved in the Livingston Christian Schools/Light of the World Academy controversy last summer say they’ll be attending an upcoming Genoa meeting en masse to ask the board why it approved spending $1,540 to send Smith to the conference, and why it hasn’t condemned his behavior at it.

Among the board members who will be questioned about the expenditure for Smith is current trustee Linda Rowell, who’s running for supervisor this year. She also voted against the Christian school and has approved spending taxpayer money fighting it.

About Buddy Moorehouse 84 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

7 Comments

  1. Since you seem to enjoy Facebook so much, I will begin this way
    Laura – feeling sad
    Ahhhhh how the mighty have fallen. –
    Buddy Moorehouse I have read and respected your journalism over the years – that is up until now. I am confused and scratching my head at the way you have gone about making your point about the upcoming Genoa Township board election.
    I didn’t respond publicly the first time you posted about the candidates but was troubled and now this second post borders on the outrageous and I feel I need to say something.
    Your points about what appears to be questionable/unnecessary expenditures paid for Detroit conference are NOTED, we get it, point made, point taken and agree – there – facts stated – facts accepted.
    What is troubling is your personal and slanderous approach about the candidate(s) including what they choose to post on FB (really?) and I am still trying to figure our how a driving record is pertinent when this person’s responsibilities as a trustee don’t include driving or use of Township property.
    You are blending your appropriate fact based point of view with something more personal and angry and it does not resonate with me.
    Please stick to the facts and refrain from being unkind. It’s not becoming.

    • I’m sorry I let you down as a journalist, Laura. But in this case, I don’t worry about being “unkind” to a two-time convicted drunk driver who is probably the worst public official I’ve seen in all my time in Livingston County. If he weren’t a public official, he could post whatever he wants on Facebook. But he IS a public official – by his choice, of course – so his behavior on social media is certainly fair game.

      A two-time convicted drunk driver who brags on Facebook about how much he’s still drinking is pretty outrageous. When that person is an elected official, though, it becomes even more outrageous.

      You might not think it’s newsworthy that a township official up for re-election is a two-time convicted drunk driver, and that’s your right. I think other voters might appreciate having that information in hand, though. Everybody is free to use that information as they see fit, or disregard it altogether, as you do.

    • The sad thing is that Todd Smith isn’t all that rare in Livingston County…he’ll take your public money and spit in your face when you question how he uses it. It’s a pattern…remember his B.S. letter claiming how he’s learned from his 2 DUI’s…the next step is a phony statement about how he’s learned how stupid it is to distribute photo’s of publicly funded oysters and martini’s, while staying at a high end hotel within driving distance of his home.

      Don’t fall for it. The guy needs to go.

    • Let’s be real, Laura:

      1. Todd Smith used public money for oysters, martini’s, and a costly hotel stay within driving distance of his home. That’s bad enough, but…

      2. Todd Smith proceeded to photo-document and public post his exploitation of public funds.

      3. All of this happened with the knowledge and implied consent of his colleagues meant to steward and protect public moneys.

      Todd Smith’s history of alcohol-related crimes is just an aggravating factor. On the whole, it would be perfectly normal for the people whose money was used in this manner to be outraged. Those who aren’t outraged by it are either odd or have some personal sympathy for Mr. Smith. It’s fine to have personal sympathy, but spare the public lectures about their opinions somehow being unfair…doesn’t make sense.

      John Ewing.

  2. Maybe the township was concerned with the health and welfare of Todd Smith – safer to put him up in a hotel in order to avoid him drunk driving back to Genoa. Maybe, problem is that’s pretty much the definition of an enabler ! Public dollars spent to enable Todd Smith drinking safely without driving.

    Of course the Marriott is happy to stir up a Mimosa on departure morning.

    Unbelievable.

  3. Smith, McCririe, Ledford, ect… Closed ranks of family power/abuse. Crooks have been wheelin and dealing here for a long time. Clerk drives Corvette, lavish trustee spending, stealing land, typical small fish thinking their above everybody. They even change election rules DURING, so that independently, they keep you off ballots, even though you won independent primary. So they changed that to percentages… Genoa Township “elected” officials #KWAME.

  4. I think all of smith’s actions should be looked into. How much money did he and
    Mr McCririe gain from Land investments
    Around the Latson road exchange ?
    His handling of the the Howell parks and recreation Disgrace of a Director Paul Rodgers actions. Promises made to the Public and nothing was followed through.
    He needs to go !!!!

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