Jury selection completed in Mateen Cleaves case; Opening arguments set to begin on Thursday morning


FLINT (CCN) — Opening arguments will begin at 9 am on Thursday in the rape and kidnapping case against former basketball star Mateen Cleaves of Grand Blanc.

Jury selection was completed Wednesday afternoon after two days behind closed doors in Genesee County CIrcuit Court Judge Celeste Bell's court room. Cleaves is charged with rape and kidnapping in a Mundy Township hotel in 2015. He faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted of assaulting a Mt. Morris Township woman who was in her mid-20's. Cleaves, now 41, was an all-state basketball star at the old Flint Northern before leading Michigan State University to a national title and going on to play in the NBA and professionally in Europe.

Defense attorney Frank Manley has insisted his client is not guilty and won a dismissal of the case at the preliminary exam in front of former Genesee County 67th District Court Judge Cathy Dowd, only to see the decision overturned on appeal by former Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman. 

The case is being led by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's office after Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton recused his office because of a conflict.

Former Flint City Clerk comes to defense of current Clerk Inez Brown after County Clerk blasts her on radio program


  FLINT (CCN) — Wednesday's interview on The Morning Gazette Radio Show with Genesee County Clerk John Gleason sparked a response from a former Flint city clerk. Terry Bankert, now a prominent divorce and bankruptcy attorney, came to the defense of Flint City Clerk Inez Brown after she was described on the radio program as "incompetent" by Gleason.

Bankert said, "The clerks Of Michigan are the guardians of the portals of Democracy. County Clerk John Gleason by press conference on TV 12 undermined the trust of Flint voters in Flint's election process. That is unconscionable. There is formal process a responsible county clerk should have taken rather than this bare knuckled cheap political attack. This issue is important and must be investigated by the Flints Ethics and Accountability Board and charter-mandated Ombudsman. The Flint City Council (the employer of Inez Brown) should call a public hearing on this issue after the Ombudsman/ Ethics and Accountability Board investigates and reports. Citizens of Flint should demand accountability of either Inez Brown or John Gleason."

Bankert served 10 years as Flint's city clerk and also served for 10 years as the city's ombudsman before opening a private law firm in Downtown Flint.

Bankert added, "I stand in support of Inez Brown until a meaningful public investigation. There has been an unfair treatment of Inez Brown by County Clerk John Gleason."

Two calls for resignation surface in Flint 8th Ward Councilman Griggs after social media firestorm for vulgar comment


FLINT (CCN) — Two citizens took to the podium Wednesday during public comment at a Flint City Council committee meeting to demand that 8th Ward Councilman Allan Griggs resign. He is under fire after a tirade of vulgar comments on social media.

   Councilman Griggs has issued an apology with a post on his Facebook page and on the page of community activist Arthur Woodson. He was one of the speakers during public comment Wednesday to demand that Councilman Griggs step down and Woodson also blasted the first-term councilman on The Morning Gazette Radio Show.​  READ MORE



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Weaver, Neeley on ballot for Flint's mayoral election; Wells, Haskins move on in Burton

(CCN) —  Incumbent Dr. Karen Weaver will be on Flint's mayoral ballot in November's general election against State Rep. Sheldon Neeley while Burton City Council members Danny Wells and Duane Haskins will square off for the mayor's job in Genesee County's second biggest city. Mayor Weaver won Tuesday's primary with 3,815 votes despite Genesee County's election web site showing Neeley in the lead, according to Genesee County Clerk John Gleason. Neeley finished with 3,586 votes in the unofficial tabulations and came in second (42% to 40%) after leading by the time mid-Michigan's TV newscasts aired their 11 o'clock reports. Businessman Don Pfeiffer finished third with 1,198 votes and businessman Gregory Eason, a former City Administrator for the first two years of Dayne Walling's administration as mayor, was last with only 452 votes.   READ MORE


Photo Above at Left

Mrs. Pauline Todd (center) casts her ballot for Flint Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver (at left). Todd was Genesee County's oldest voter on Tuesday at age 104.

Councilman apologizes for vulgar social media behavior; Colleagues suggest 'staying off Facebook'


The circus activity at Flint City Council meetings reached what may be an all-time low while playing out on social media during a 10-day window before election day on Tuesday. Things didn't get any better when council members met Wednesday for a committee meeting.

They put one member of Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver's administration under oath. The mayor sent an attorney with him to talk to the executive branch in its effort to ask questions about an issue that shined a national spotlight on the city over bid-rigging allegations. 

It was also the first time council members had met since a couple of social media firestorms involving two of their colleagues. One (8th Ward Councilman Allan Griggs) was asked to resign by two citizens during the public comment portion of the meeting, including community activist Arthur Woodson. READ MORE

Flint's mayor identified by federal judge for writing letter of support for disgraced UAW official now headed to prison


DETROIT (CCN) — Flint Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver was identified by a federal judge Monday afternoon as one of several prominent people who wrote a letter of support for disgraced former UAW leader Norwood Jewell. The revelation came as voters head to the polls on Tuesday to decide her fate in a hotly-contested primary race to keep her job as mayor. READ MORE

Former UAW Region 1C Director in Flint headed to prison after admitting theft from UAW in former Vice President role


DETROIT  (CCN) — Disgraced former UAW executive Norwood Jewell of Swartz Creek is headed to prison. The government asked U.S. District Judge Paul Borman Monday afternoon to give Jewell 15 months in federal prison and Judge Borman did exactly that. He ignored letters supporting Jewell, including one from his attorney who also delivered a passionate speech Monday when urging Judge Gorman to sentence his cient home confinement or probation.  READ MORE

Club 69 'nothing' compared to latest gaffe uncovered by Flint's mayor: She wrote letter of support for disgraced UAW leader Norwood Jewell


If any strong union folks were tempted to ignore our Endorsement Monday recommendations for Tuesday's voting in Flint's mayoral race, they can now be jolted into paying attention. Monday's big story was Flint's mayor making national news once again while the Metro Flint area media again gave her a pass. If you didn't watch Detroit's TV reports, read national news stories, watch Detroit's TV newscasts, listen to Detroit's radio reports, read this space on or listen to The Morning Gazette Radio Show, Flint area media would have simply kept you in the dark on the biggest reason why union members would likely choose to vote for anybody but Dr. Karen Weaver in Tuesday's primary election.  READ MORE



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Kevin Orr spotted in Downtown Detroit with two lawyers at American Coney Island near likely grand jury location


DETROIT (CCN) — Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Charlie LeDuff reported in a column for Deadline Detroit last week that a grand jury is seated in Downtown Detroit to investigate public corruption. Mike KIllbreath, host of The Morning Gazette Radio Show, reported Tuesday on his program that he spotted Kevin Orr leaving a restaurant that's within walking distance to the likely location for just such a grand jury. "Kevin Orr was huddled with two lawyers at a lunch table inside American Coney Island," Killbreath told his listeners about the man who led Detroit's municipal bankruptcy filing in July of 2013. Orr served as former Governor Rick Snyder's Emergency Financial Manager for 18 months.

Orr may have information the FBI wants about current Mayor Mike Duggan who was elected in 2013 and is under investigation for numerous scandals, according to multiple Detroit media reports.

Funeral visitation, services announced for powerful long-time Oakland County political leader L. Brooks Patterson


  OAKLAND COUNTY (CCN) — Former County Prosecutor and long-time County Executive L. Brooks Paterson's funeral celebration will be spread around Oakland County. Patterson, who died this weekend at age 80, had been the County Executive since 1993. He announced in March that he had  stage four pancreatic cancer and Patterson  died at his Independence Township home Saturday morning after a brief battle.  Funeral arrangements are being handled by  Coats Funeral Home in Clarkston. A public viewing will be held Tuesday 1 pm until 7 pm at inside the Conference Center of the L. Brooks Patterson Building in Waterford. Visitation will be at  Woodside Bible Church's Troy campus on Wednesday from 3-8 pm and on Thursday from 11 am until 1 pm.  Funeral services will be at the church on Thursday at 1:30 pm and will be open to the public. A burial service with full military honors will be private for family and his many close friends. 

Mayor Weaver has no comment on weekend scandals about Club 69 consulting, accusations by former top AG investigator

FLINT (CCN) — Two scandals that have become hot topics on The Morning Gazete Radio Show and on social media have not sparked any comments from Flint Mayor Dr.Karen Weaver. 

The silence does not surprise her competitors in the upcoming election on Tuesday. Mayor Weaver, who won her first term in 2015 by unseating incumbent Dayne Walling and then survived a 2017 recall, faces four challengers in the August primary race with the top two finishers moving on to the general election in November. She has refused to debate her opponents during the current campaign and also refused to take part in any debates during the 2017 recall campaign.

   A $7,500 check for consulting to a topless bar owner's company was exposed by one of the challengers (Don Pfeiffer) on Friday after inspecting campaign finance reports filed a day earlier by the mayor. Another challenger (State Rep. Sheldon Neeley) hosted his weekly radio show Saturday morning on WFLT 1420 AM where Ellis Stafford , a former top investigator with the Attorney General's prosecution team in the Flint water crisis, leveled stunning accusations against Flint's mayor by alleging his work led to uncovering probable cause that criminal activity took place by Mayor Weaver diverting donations into a private 527 fund at a local credit union when they were instead intended to help Flint residents. Stafford said he alerted former Special Prosecutor Todd Flood to the fund and said Flood told him it was outside the scope of what they were assigned to investigate by former Attorney General Bill Schuette. READ MORE

Mt. Morris Twp. pastor pleads guilty to 5-year felony on embezzlement case against elderly church member


FLINT (CCN) —  A Flushing man who is the pastor at a Mt. Morris Township church pleaded guilty to a felony case Wednesday that could land him behind bars for up to five years.  Pastor Raymond Vliet reached a plea deal with the Genesee County Prosecutor's Office to avoid a preliminary exam Wednesday in front of Genesee County 67th District Court Judge Mark McCabe. He is now scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 20 by Genesee County Circuit Court Judge David Newblatt for a felony charge of attempted embezzlement from a vulnerable adult for more than $20,000 but less than $50,000.

    Assistant Prosecutor David Mayes told Judge McCabe that the plea deal would include dropping a 20-year felony embezzlement from a vulnerable  adult for more than $20,000 but less than $50,000, as well as dropping a second felony count for stealing and also not pursuing charges on an additional warrant request packet filed this week by the Genesee County Sheriff's Department for an identical felony case on a second elderly victim. Restitution would be determined by Judge Newblatt at the Sept 20 sentencing.   READ MORE