WATCH: Genoa’s Todd Smith rudely plays on his iPad while students beg for their school

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In Genoa Township circles, this has become the stuff of legend – the night that Todd Smith played on his iPad while dozens of students, teachers and parents came to the township board to beg for their schools.

Did it really happen? Did Todd Smith really play on his iPad all night, refusing to make any eye contact at all with the people who had come before the board?

Could ANY public official possibly have been that incredibly rude to his constituents?

Yes, it really happened. Yes, it was incredibly rude. And yes, it was by far the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen a public official do in Livingston County.

And now, on the eve of the Aug. 2 Republican primary in Genoa Township, it’s time for the voters to see this for themselves. At the end of this article is a link to a video, and you can see for yourself just how arrogant and rude Todd Smith was that night.

And if you’re a Genoa Township voter, remember this before you go to the polls on Tuesday. This is the man who’s asking for four more years as a township trustee. This is how he treats people.

Before you watch the video, here’s the backstory. Last summer, a small Christian school in Livingston County came to the Genoa Township Board, asking for permission to move into the Brighton Nazarene Church. The township planning commission had already looked at the proposal and voted almost unanimously to approve it. It seemed like a slam dunk for the tiny Livingston Christian Schools.

Incredibly, though, the Genoa Township Board voted against it – despite the fact that its own planning commission had no problem with it. It was clear to every observer that this case had nothing to do with the facts, and everything to do with politics. The four members of the board who voted against it – Gary McCririe, Linda Rowell, Jean Ledford and Todd Smith – were playing politics with school children because they had a vendetta against the Brighton Nazarene Church.

So protests were held, as parents, teachers and students begged for the school. A lawsuit was filed, asking the courts to intervene to save the school. And on Aug. 17, 2015, dozens of people came to the Genoa Township Board meeting to beg one last time for their board to change their mind and let this little Christian school open. And in turn, that decision would allow Light of the World Academy to open, because they were going to be located in the old Livingston Christian building.

The fate of two schools was in the hands of the Genoa Township Board. With so much at stake, dozens of parents, teachers and students came before the board to flat-out beg and plead for their schools.

The fix was already in the bag, of course. The four board members who were in the tank opposing the school – McCririe, Rowell, Ledford and Smith – weren’t going to change their votes no matter what.

Nonetheless, the parents, teachers and students took to the microphone to beg for their schools. More than 40 speakers in all. Most of the board members, even the ones who opposed the schools, listened respectfully.

Not Todd Smith. As the parade of speakers came to the microphone, Smith decided to be a passive-aggressive jerk. He didn’t like the protesting they had done and the letters they had written, so he decided it was time for payback.

Fine, he thought. You’re entitled to speak, but I’m not going to even dignify your presence. I’m not even going to look you in the eyes. I’m going to play on my iPad.

When someone called him out on his rude behavior, Smith later tried to claim that he was looking at his iPad because he was trying to match up the speaker with the letter they had written to the board.

That was a lie, because many of the speakers hadn’t even written letters to the board. So why was he playing on his iPad when those people spoke?

He was simply being a rude, arrogant, entitled jerk. He was the opposite of everything that a good public official should be.

Smith’s behavior that night was in keeping with his jerky persona. After all, this is a two-time convicted drunk driver who not only has continued to drink – he actually brags about how much he still drinks.

This is a two-time convicted drunk driver who spent $1,500 in Genoa taxpayer money to attend a conference in Detroit – where he spent time eating expensive oyster dinners and drinking.

And now, you can see how he treats his constituents.

Watch the video of Smith’s behavior on the night of Aug. 17, 2015:

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

10 Comments

  1. Smith has a perfectly sound defense for his behavior – the guy’s got a hangover.

    In Genoa Township Hall, hangover’s are not just for the morning anymore.

  2. Classless buffoon would be an upgrade in Todd Smith’s seat. Let’s be real, the guy’s a thug. There’s really only one reason a guy like this gets into so-called “public service”….the reason “private gain”. If you see a real estate agent in a public position, it’s not too hard to figure out what’s going on, is it ?

  3. I agree, Smith is very disrespectful in this video. It should be up to the board to resolve this issue. Maybe establishing a code to their bylaws requiring that board members’ personal electronics must be put away or the screens off while guest speakers/citizens of the township are presenting. However, this article was just used to push personal agenda in favor of a school location which the case has already been thrown out of court. The Naz did not have the facilities or the traffic planning required for a school this size and it would not have made much sense to allow another school next to a high school that has almost 1400 cars and at least 30 buses going to and from it every day during the school year. It logistically did not make sense. Stop trying to push personal agenda and report on the topic of issue.

  4. Mr. Moorehouse,
    Is LOTW a Montessori Charter or Christian Charter school? Will there be bible readings? Maybe there was opposition to the blending of education and religion?
    Also, you didn’t mention who the Principal is. Do you have a personal stake in this?
    On the home page of LOTW, the word Christian never comes up.

    • Thanks for the questions, Hitchens.
      1. Light of the World Academy is a public charter school. It’s not religious in any way and there are no Bible readings. There’s no blending of education and religion.
      2. The school director is my wife.
      3. I no longer have a personal stake in this, but I did. At the time of this meeting, Light of the World Academy didn’t have a home, and the board’s ridiculous action was the reason for that. The school did find a home, though, no thanks to the Genoa Township Board. I was so incensed at the behavior of Todd Smith and Linda Rowell during this process, so I’ve made it a mission to inform the voters about them so that they’ll hopefully be voted out of office. But at the current time, I have no stake in any of this.

      • Why did you call it a “small Christian school” in your initial post, Mr. Moorehouse?

        • Sorry for the confusion. Livingston Christian is a small Christian school. That’s the one that Genoa was voting on. However, the vote on Livingston Christian also affected Light of the World Academy (a public charter school), since LOTWA was moving into LCS’ old building.

          So, lots of religion and Bible study at Livingston Christian. No religion or Bible study at Light of the World. Two entirely separate schools.

  5. I’d like to know the other side of the story. Mr Smith ( although rude) is not the only member who voted no on the school. What was their reason?

    • The point of this article was to show one of the reasons Mr. Smith is unfit for office. There are many. Regardless of his reasons for the “no” vote on the school, justified or not, he is an employee of all Genoa Township taxpayers, and as such, he owes it to his constituents to listen to their input, whether he agrees with them or not, and if asked, explain his reasoning for his decision. Too often some members of the current board treat the citizens as though they are an annoyance to the grand plan they are trying to implement. It is your duty as a public servant to listen to each and every person who comes forward to speak and treat them with respect, not play on the iPad we the taxpayers have given you. It was bad enough Mr. Smith chose to ignore the affected parents, children and pastor of the groups involved, as well as several respected business persons from the township. The final insult was his decision to not even acknowledge a soldier who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. This man took the ultimate risk to defend Mr. Smith’s freedom to act like a classless buffoon. The least he could have done is take a break from his game and thank him for his service. Todd Smith is unfit to serve the people.

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