To quote Ayn Rand: “Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind”
Rand’s quote really hits the nail on the head regarding what we have witnessed by some, but not all, Shiawassee County officials. These weeds have grown more out of control than the current jail garden. We have allowed them to go unchecked, despite the numerous articles that have been published in The Argus Press over the last three years.
We were told about Sam Safi arriving on the scene of a vehicular homicide and then contaminating it in May 2018. He was merely a ride-along of the sheriff’s at that time. He was not a special deputy until January 2019.
We also were told about the sheriff gaining illegal access to the Public Defender’s Office’s phone records in hopes to find out who was leaking information about Safi contaminating the crime scene of a homicide. This was done without a search warrant. This action could result in an appellate court action by the defendant who was found guilty of vehicular homicide.
We were told about a Shiawassee County corrections officer being terminated for addressing unlawful activities by the special deputy who was hired. The termination of this employee was an attempt to cover up potential crimes being committed by the special deputy and the sheriff willfully ignoring it. The sheriff made numerous egregious statements about this employee publicly in order to attack her character.
We learned about the towing rotation, through which the sheriff started squeezing out his friend’s competition by removing them from the rotation, despite the favored company’s owner having a criminal history of felonies related to car theft across multiple counties.
We learned about Commissioner Jeremy Root’s “accident” on Hibbard Road in the early morning hours, that caused damage to a railroad sign and personal property. Witnesses confirmed seeing Sheriff Brian BeGole arrive on scene, and Allstar Towing haul Root’s Hummer away. No investigation was ever conducted, but FOIA responses from the county show that Commissioner Cindy Garber began calling BeGole’s county cellphone after 2 a.m. BeGole’s phone records from the same request, show him then contacting Allstar Towing. Months later, Mike Nations, who was appointed by the Board of Commissioners, to chair the VA Committee, stated he was the driver of Root’s vehicle that crashed. That is very hard to believe.
We were also told about certain commissioners illegally requesting pay for meetings that didn’t qualify for payment, along with mileage reimbursement. There are also multiple instances in which Root attended two to four meetings on the same date, and allegedly drove back and forth to Byron after each meeting so he could receive a total of $76.16 per day in mileage reimbursements.
The majority of constituents are waking up to the corruption many of us have witnessed, and are now coming together. The Open Meetings Act lawsuit I filed about the illegal meeting regarding American Rescue Plan Act bonuses was the only way to get the proper attention outside of our viewing/reading area. This humiliating action went national and even international publications covered this debauchery.
Root is not the only bad apple in this county. There isn’t a way for him to do this all on his own — he has the assistance of the County Coordinator Brian Boggs and other elected officials. Per Root’s interview that aired on TV Sunday, he considers himself the highest elected official in our county and stated that Boggs and the county finance director came up with the bonus amounts for each person. Anyone who understands the law, which Boggs most certainly should, since he recently sat for the State of Michigan bar exam, knows elected officials cannot give themselves bonuses.
I will leave you with this partial quote from Carl Sagan: “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth.”