Traverse City Record-Eagle

Meijer-Acme Township Dispute

October 6, 2009

Boltres settles lawsuit with the Village

TRAVERSE CITY -- A secret deal closed the book on a series of lawsuits that for years enmeshed Acme Township public officials and development partners Meijer Inc. and the Village at Grand Traverse LLC.

Former Acme Township Treasurer Bill Boltres reached confidential settlements with the Village and Meijer during a closed hearing in 13th Circuit Court on Monday. Boltres, in frail health and confined to a wheelchair, did not comment on the deals, nor would his attorney or representatives of Meijer and the Village.

Boltres sued the Village last year and accused the developer of malicious prosecution for its alleged role in targeting Acme elected and appointed officials with lawsuits stemming from a development fight that dates to 2004.

Boltres obtained an undisclosed sum from Meijer in late 2007 after he sued the Grand Rapids-based retailer in a similar malicious prosecution case.

Boltres' suit against Meijer unearthed the retailer's illegal manipulation of Acme elections in 2005 and 2007 and prompted the Michigan Secretary of State to order Meijer to pay $190,000 in fines and costs for violating state campaign finance laws.

That settlement contained provisions that called for significant financial penalties if Boltres talked about the Meijer agreement. Meijer intervened in Boltres' suit against the Village in recent months and threatened to enforce the penalty if the suit exposed the agreement.

Meijer attorney John Pirich attended the closed settlement hearings on Monday. Pirich said Meijer was not part of the recent settlement, but declined further comment.

Circuit Judge Philip E. Rodgers said Pirich contacted him late last week and said agreements had been reached. Rodgers said Boltres received a financial settlement to end his suit against the Village, "but that would be a confidential number."

Of Meijer's role, Rodgers said: "Meijer was concerned the ongoing litigation was a violation of the settlement they had reached with Mr. Boltres" in 2007.

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