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

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.

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