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

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. According to a dui lawyer, he frequently celebrates on Facebook about how much he’s still drinking.

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.

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