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 5

The law allows private citizens, who are legally known as relators, to bring a lawsuit on the government's behalf, and if the government prevails, they are rewarded with between 15 and 30 percent of the government's recovery. This kind of lawsuit is also referred to as qui tam, and was largely resuscitated in the 1980s, during the Reagan administration, when according to Constantine Canon, "there were widespread reports of shocking abuses by government contractors, including billing $400 for hammers, $1,000 for bolts, and $7,000 for coffee pots...In 2009 and 2010, the law was revised to provide greater protections and incentives for whistleblowers."

In fiscal year 2016 (ending September 30, 2016), the Justice Department recovered over $4.7 billion in settlements and judgements from false claims against the government. Of the $4.7 billion recovered, $2.5 billion came from the health care industry, including drug companies, medical device companies, hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories, and doctors. Many of these cases, the Department of Justice stated, were Medicaid fraud cases from state programs, and experts estimated that up to 10 percent of all healthcare billings are lost to fraud.

State false claims acts in Michigan are limited to health care fraud. The Constantine Cannon law firm stated that the Michigan Medicaid False Claim Act applies to false claims presented under the state's social welfare act, and a successful whistleblower can receive between 15 and 25 percent of the proceeds in cases where the state intervenes; if the state doesn't intervene, a successful whistleblower can receive between 25 and 30 percent of the proceeds – unless the whistleblower was involved in the violation.

The next largest recoveries came from the financial industry, from the housing and mortgage fraud crisis, were the ripples are still being felt, with $1.7 billion being recovered in fiscal year 2016. Looking forward to fiscal year 2017, $48 million will have come from a settlement agreement on December 16, 2016, from United Shore Financial Services LLC of Troy, which agreed to pay the United States the amount to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act in a whistleblower suit, by knowingly originating and underwriting mortgage loans insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Federal Housing Administration (FHA), that did not meet applicable requirements.

In announcing the settlement, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division, said, "The settlement holds United Shore accountable for its endorsement of ineligible loans for FHA mortgage insurance. Over the past several years, the civil division, in collaboration with numerous U.S. Attorneys' Offices, HUD, and its Office of Inspector General, has diligently worked to hold FHA-approved lenders accountable for actions that deprived homeowners of their homes, wasted taxpayer funds, and contributed to the financial crisis." United Shore did not respond.

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