Trial scheduled in commissioner sign theft
A jury trail has been scheduled for September in Oakland County's 44th District Court in Royal Oak in the criminal theft case involving a Bloomfield Hills City Commissioner accused of stealing campaign signs in 2018.
Bloomfield Hills City Commissioner Stuart Sherr was arrested about 10:15 p.m. on November 1, 2018 and charged with larceny, under $200. Bloomfield Hills police said an officer saw Sherr stop in the parking lot of 74 W. Long Lake Road, get out and take two campaign signs out of the ground and put them in his trunk. The signs belonged to Anjali Prasad, a candidate for Bloomfield Hills School board, who had filed a complaint with police days earlier regarding the theft of several of her campaign signs at other locations.
Police said at the time that Sherr stepped around two other campaign signs belonging to Shelley Taub for county commissioner and Lena Epstein for Congress, both of whom he supported on his Facebook page.
Police said in an incident report that Sherr claimed he was conducting his duty to remove the signs, which he claimed were in violation of the city's sign ordinance, which requires campaign signs to be no closer than 10-feet of the roadway. While the two other signs were also in violation of the ordinance and in front of Prasad's signs, Sherr said in a court filing that due to weather – "it was raining terribly" – that he only removed the signs that were most egregiously in violation.
Farmington Hills attorney Lawrence Leib said in a motion filed on Sherr's behalf to dismiss the charge that Sherr didn't commit a crime because he had permission from the property owner to remove signs on the property that were in violation of the city's ordinance.
The court rejected that motion at a pretrial hearing on Tuesday, June 4.
Sherr, who is vice president of Sherr Development Company, a family real estate business, as well as an attorney and CPA, said he had authority from property owners Arkan Jonna and Arie Leibovitz to remove signs in violation of the ordinance and which might cause a hazard to motorists. Those letters were included as evidence the court files. Prasad also had written permission from property owners to place the signs, predating the letters to Scherr.
The case was set on June 4 for jury trial on September 23 at 8:30 a.m. before 44th District Court Judge James Wittenberg. The case was initially filed in 48th District Court in Bloomfield Township but was transferred to the 44th District Court after judges at the 48th recused themselves. The 48th District Court receives partial funding from the city of Bloomfield Hills.