Week of 8.21.17

Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

MOCAD Interchange Art + Dinner

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and Library Street Collective gallery owners JJ and Anthony Curis collaborated on a remarkable event that turned their home – the  Hawkins Ferry house – into a museum. Under the title “Unobstructed Views,” 39 pieces of art, all available for bids, had been installed throughout the modernist gem on the shore of Lake St. Clair. More than 200 guests ($175, $200 ticket) and their conversation invigorated both floors of the museum and the lakeside terrace. Guests included legendary sculptor Glen Michaels, who recalled creating many installations for the home’s architect Bill Kessler. Art collector Shirley Piku was another guest with specific memories.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

August 2017

HORSE RACES: Democratic aspirations of taking a majority hold on Congress after the 2018 General Election will hinge on the party’s ability to take two dozen congressional seats, which may include upsets in Michigan’s 8th and 11th Districts, according to recent rankings of 82 districts by The New York Times. The piece split the districts into eight groups to watch, based on competitiveness ...more»
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The Whistleblower Act

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
...continued from page 1

"Whistleblowers tend to be morally principled individuals that are seeing wrong at their place of employment," said Shereef Akeel, a Troy attorney with Akeel & Valentine, who has practiced whistleblower law for 21 years. "They see their family pictures on their desk and know that if they say nothing, they will keep their job and take care of their family. But they see the wrongdoing going on, and can't live with it, so they risk it all. They are constantly trying to balance the repercussions of blowing the whistle versus saying nothing and allowing the wrongs to continue. Then their conscience gets the better of them. Their silence is taut approval of the wrongdoing."

The WPA of 1989 is a federal law that protects federal employees who work for the government and report misconduct. A federal agency violates the Whistleblower Protection Act if agency authorities take, or threaten to take, retaliatory action against an employee – or an applicant for a job – because of the disclosure of information that the employee or applicant made. In Michigan, the Whistleblower Protection Act is intended to protect employees, public and private, from wrongful termination or retaliation in a protected activity. Protected activities include those employees who have reported a violation of law, regulation or rule to a public body; employees who were about to report a violation; or employees who have participated in hearings, investigations, or legislative inquiries.

While a whistleblower does not have to work for the government or a government agency, and many whistleblowers do work for private companies, in order to file a whistleblower protection lawsuit, they must report the wrongdoing to a government agency, and not just to the human resources department of their company.

"There's a misconception about WPA, and about working at a private company, like GM or Ford," said Akeel. "If they report it to the HR department, they think they've blown the whistle and are protected – but they're not. You have to go outside the company to a public agency, like the EPA or DNR."

Akeel said there is only one exception, which is called the Kilpatrick Rule, after former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. "If you are working for a city or university – if you're a public employee – if you report it up the chain of command, you're protected," he said.

In 2007, two former Detroit police officers, Gary Brown and Harold Nelthrope, prevailed in a whistleblower lawsuit against Kilpatrick and the city of Detroit, saying city officials made them suffer after they raised questions about alleged wrongdoing within Kilpatrick's security unit. The two were awarded $6.5 million.

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