Thursday, September 7, 2023

City lawsuit against former councilman dismissed

The City of Wayne lawsuit against former Councilman Anthony Miller was dismissed Aug. 30 with prejudice by Third Circuit Court Judge Sheila Gibson.

The lawsuit claimed that Miller, now 64, had breached his fiduciary responsibility to the city when he provided a hostile work environment investigation report to Michigan State Police as part of a criminal investigation. The 2018 report dealt with the conduct of former City Manager Lisa Nocerini and concluded that she should be disciplined “up to and including termination.” 

The judge dismissed the claims of the city noting that the statute of limitations had expired before the suit was filed and that the city claim that the report was confidential was patently false. The report, in entirety, was posted on social media and the city website the same week it was presented to city council which negated any claim of confidentiality.  

Miller, who was appointed to the city council in December of 2015 and re-elected twice, resigned his position in June of 2021 during the COVID pandemic. He subsequently moved out of state. He said he was “glad to see this over with.”  Miller added that he felt vindicated by the judge's ruling.

The investigative report concerning the conduct of Nocerini has also been accepted as evidence in three separate ongoing legal proceedings. Resident Mark Blackwell is charging Nocerini and Police Chief Ryan Strong with violations of his civil rights. He claims Nocerini motivated Strong to falsely arrest him for speaking out at public meetings regarding the findings in the report. Nocerini claimed that Blackwell was stalking her by speaking to other residents in the city hall parking lot following council meetings and driving on Wayne Road. Blackwell was found not guilty of those allegations and he is now pursuing legal redress from the city based on the violations of his civil rights. Police Ofc. Abraham Hughes also claims Nocerini interfered with the police chief selection process by insisting Blackwell be arrested. He alleges he refused to make the arrest and claims that despite higher test scores, Strong was promoted after arresting Blackwell. The report is also part of a criminal charge against former Councilman Christopher Sanders who is charged with criminal stalking of Nocerini.

Nocerini resigned her position last week and council members named Strong as acting city manager while a replacement is recruited.