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 3

"It had to be fabricated," Koroi said, noting that the officer who called Shaya was caught on tape bent over laughing in the interrogation room. Charges against Shaya were eventually discharged, and Shaya filed a $10 million whistleblower lawsuit against the city of Hamtramck in February 2014. He was terminated from his job with Hamtramck on October 23, 2014, and the city settled with him on March 3, 2017. He is now employed with another Wayne County municipality as director of public services.

"With whistleblower protections, whether at the state or federal level, the purpose is to protect the integrity of the law by removing barriers to employee efforts to report violations of the law," said Jason Shinn of Shinn Legal of Keego Harbor, who represents employers and individuals in whistleblower compliance. "In other words, whistleblower protections protect the public by protecting employees who report violations of laws and regulations."

Graham, the state legislative whistleblower, is today a resident of Dryden in Lapeer County, with his wife and baby, and has his own construction company, having left the political arena, disillusioned. As a youth, Graham was homeschooled, and went to a small Baptist Bible college in Ohio, where he majored in public administration. "I got involved with politics at a young age. I would listen to talk radio in the afternoons," he recalled. "At 16, I volunteered for my first campaign – for Dick DeVos for governor. After that, I got more and more involved in politics, and in 2008 I met Todd Courser and volunteered for his first race, which he lost."

He went to college, and returned to Lapeer County, and worked on Courser's 2010 state Senate run, which he again lost, as well as a 2013 challenge for the state Republican Party chair, before Courser won his state House seat in 2014, which he also worked on. He admits there was something about Courser that drew him in.

"He has a captivating personality. He is very outgoing and very manipulative," Graham noted. "I was taken in by his personality. I believed he was a politician who could affect real change, and he was somebody I could really support. And it turns out I was wrong about that."

While Michigan does not have a central database to determine how many whistleblower lawsuits have been filed or determined in the state, federally there were 3,355 total whistleblower suits in 2016, up from 1,842 in 2006. The Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) agency receives the most lawsuits each year, as it is the federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation. "A key element of WPA is where it can can cause public harm or compromise safety," Akeel noted, where a company or individual is not following or enforcing important rules, an employee reports it to the state or federal agency and is then fired for that, or suffers retaliation.

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