In response to the article concerning the Elk Rapids Library, I’m concerned that those who are not familiar with the situation could draw very wrong conclusions.
In a recent discussion with Tony Wittbrodt, the current chair of the Library Friends Organization, I confirmed that the Michigan Attorney General's letter referred to in Reporter Mardi Link’s article has been resolved and the 501c3 exemption was restored June 11, 2019. Mr. Wittbrodt contacted the AG office and was informed that the dispute should be handled at the local level and that an audit was suggested — which has never been disputed. Mr. Wittbrodt also informed me that the Friends Board met since the AG meeting and unanimously agreed to cooperate with the audit in order to resolve any accounting issues related to the Library Capital Campaign. The Friends Board continues to collaborate with the Library Board and the Capital Campaign in their efforts to raise the money required for the expansion.
I have seen no evidence of unethical behavior on the Library Board or Campaign Committee. Has there been a lack of trust? Yes. Has there been unhealthy conflict? Yes. But any inference of embezzlement or unethical behavior, in my opinion, is absurd.
Richard Bellingham, Ed.D.