2/6/2023: New discoveries in KPS investigation
The daily newsletter for those who live, work, and play in Kalamazoo County.
Monday, February 6, 2023
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Investigations into Kalamazoo Public Schools’ spending have turned up new invoices related to a questionable foundation set up by the district’s former financial chief. Also: WMU’s new board will feature a familiar local face. And a Kalamazoo wedding venue has lost its appeal over pandemic-era refunds.
News You Need To Know
Invoices tied to KPS investigation
An investigation into spending by former Kalamazoo Public Schools’ former financial chief Jim English has turned up another $32,000 of invoices. Jack Mosser, a consultant hired by English to run the KPS Foundation he started, billed the district $96,000 for seven months of part-time work, according to documents obtained by MLive. That’s $20,000 more than was previously reported. That $20,000 was never paid. Documents also showed that Mosser planned to have the district spend $12,000 to send ten people to a leadership conference put on by Southwest Michigan First. In all, the district received $123,000 in invoices related to the foundation, of which $91,000 was paid before payments were cut off.
Mosser’s full-time job was as development director for the Western Michigan University School of Medicine. He left that job shortly after his relationship to the KPS Foundation came to light. Former KPS finance head English was fired in December because of allegations of mismanagement and because the payments he authorized were never approved by the KPS board. [MLive]
Gov. appoints new WMU trustees
Among the new faces on Western Michigan University’s Board of Trustees will be former state representative Jon Hoadley. Hoadley’s appointment was announced Thursday by the governor along with that of attorney Kelly Burris and school principal Lisa Williams. Hoadley was appointed to the board once before last year. The Republican-led state senate at the time voted along party lines to block Hoadley’s nomination citing a conflict of interest. Hoadley is a graduate student at WMU, though there are no rules saying he can’t also serve on the board. Democrats accused Republicans of blocking the appointment due to Hoadley’s sexual orientation. Hoadley is openly gay. [WWMT]
Kzoo wedding venue loses appeal over refund dispute
A two year legal fight over cancelled wedding plans in Kalamazoo has come to a close. Last week, Michigan’s Court of Appeals backed up a Kalamazoo County judge’s decision to award a couple $78,000 after they cancelled plans to host their wedding at a local venue. Caitlin Clancy and Michael Hedges had planned to hold their wedding at Loft 310 in downtown Kalamazoo in May of 2020. Those plans were halted by lockdown orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But instead of giving the couple a refund as required by their contract, Loft 310 owner Ryan Reedy offered to reschedule their booking.
In total, 14 couples have filed suit against Reedy for similar situations. Court documents show Reedy refused to provide refunds or reschedule bookings for several of the couples. An arbitrator initially ordered Reedy to refund Hedges and Clancy’s $30,473 deposit, but he refused. After a going to court, a judge ordered him to pay the refund in addition to $48,000 in attorney fees. Reedy’s company Entertainment Managers LLC owns several venues in downtown Kalamazoo, including Wild Bull Saloon and the former Monaco Bay Piano Bar. All have sat empty since shutting down during the pandemic. [WWMT]
Things To Do In Kalamazoo
Merze Tate Day – WMU, Fetzer Center
Black History Month Bingo – Kalamazoo Public Library, Eastwood
Organ Music of Minority Composers – Third Christian Reformed
Rookie Detectives: Alma’s Art – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Government and Nonprofit Job Fair – WMU, Bernhard Center
Young, Gifted, and Black: The Timelessness of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Kalamazoo Premier Chess Club – Urban Alliance
Intellectual Freedom and the Rise of Banned Books: A Lecture with Dr. Emily Knox – WMU, Fetzer Center
Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Presents Craft Music – Bell’s Eccentric Café
3 of a Kind – Hilton Garden Inn
Dooley Live – O’Duffy’s Pub
See more upcoming events here.
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