February 11, 2016

No prosecution in parks board criminal complaint


ARENAC COUNTY — No charges will be brought forth in the criminal complaint filed by the Arenac County Parks and Recreation Board against the county commissioners.

The complaint was regarding the removal of fencing at the now-shuttered Gulvas Park off State Road in Arenac Township. The county board of commissioners voted April 2 to have the fence removed, but the county parks board protested, insisting that was outside of the commissioners’ jurisdiction.

Ogemaw County Prosecutor LaDonna Schultz, who was appointed the special prosecutor for the case, said after reviewing the results of the sheriff’s department’s investigation, she felt there was simply no criminal act there.

“The board wanted to take (the fence down), and hired a guy to do it,” Schultz said. “He wasn’t paid, but he was able to keep the fence. The parks board said ‘That was our call,’ and complained that the board (of commissioners) had overstepped their authority.”

Schultz went on to say that parks board members are appointed by the commissioners, so she did not see an issue with the commissioners’ decision to remove the fence. Additionally, she felt it was a good deal for the county.

“Some guy worked an entire day to remove the fence with no pay,” Schultz said. “No one profited from it.”

She added it would have likely cost the county a few hundred dollars to have it removed once equipment and labor costs were added up.

The sheriff’s department investigated the criminal complaint and turned their results over to Arenac County Prosecutor Curtis Broughton. Broughton in turn gave it to Schultz, saying he did not want to risk his personal feelings getting in the way of the case.

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