Traverse City Record-Eagle

Meijer-Acme Township Dispute

September 30, 2009

No settlement in Boltres-Village lawsuit

Ex-Acme treasurer suing Village at Grand Traverse

TRAVERSE CITY -- The rancorous lawsuit between former Acme Treasurer Bill Boltres and developers the Village at Grand Traverse LLC will continue after the sides failed to reach a settlement.

Lawyers for the Village, Meijer Inc., and Boltres met with 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers behind closed doors for more than an hour Tuesday, but exited the judge's chambers with little more than stern, unhappy expressions.

"The sides are barely even talking to each other," Rodgers said, "so we'll go forward."

Next up is a hearing set for Oct. 5 at 1:30 p.m. for a secret motion filed by Meijer. The motion seeks an injunction to stop some or possibly the entire lawsuit filed by Boltres against the Village that alleges the would-be developers harmed his health through malicious prosecution.

Rodgers wouldn't discuss the nature of Meijer's injunction request, but said next week's hearing would be "very important," and will be argued in open court.

Meijer and The Village sued Boltres and other Acme officials personally in 2005 amid a zoning battle over a proposed mega-mall along M-72 to be anchored by Meijer. Boltres then sued Meijer in 2007, and alleged malicious prosecution.

His uncovered Meijer's violation of state campaign finance laws when it tried to secretly manipulate a township election in 2005, and again in a 2007 recall attempt against Boltres and the rest of the township board.

Meijer reached a confidential agreement with Boltres in December 2007 to settle the suit for an undisclosed sum. The settlement contained provisions that called for a significant financial penalty if Boltres talked about the agreement.

Meijer recently restarted the zoning process to build a store in Acme with the Village, and is not a defendant in the current lawsuit. But the retailer intervened in the suit to protect the confidentiality agreement.

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