Traverse City Record-Eagle

Meijer-Acme Township Dispute

January 5, 2010

11:45 am: Meijer appeal stalls criminal probe

TRAVERSE CITY — A local prosecutor won't be able to proceed with a criminal probe of state campaign violations committed by Meijer Inc. in Acme Township until the Michigan Supreme Court weighs in on Meijer's appeal of a lower court ruling.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider today said he "misinterpreted" court rules when he discussed his pending investigation for a story in today's Record-Eagle. Schneider on Monday said he'd be able to go ahead with a criminal investigation of Meijer, despite the retailer's Monday decision to challenge a lower court ruling.

"I'm sorry about the misinformation. Usually, we're dealing with appeals from defendants, nothing like this," Schneider said.

Meijer Inc. and its former law firm, Dickinson Wright PLLC, filed applications to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court on Monday. The two firms want the high court to overturn a Nov. 19 appeals court decision that granted county prosecutors authority to enforce campaign finance laws.

The appeals court had sent the case back to 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers for further proceedings. Schneider today began preparing a motion to restart the investigation by compelling answers to outstanding investigative subpoenas when he discovered his error.

Cases remanded from the appeals court are automatically stayed, or delayed, until the Supreme Court disposes of the case, Schneider said.

Schneider can ask the Supreme Court to waive the rule, but said he needs to further explore his potential avenues before he makes a decision.

The court will begin a review of Meijer and Dickinson Wright's request to appeal on Feb. 2.

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