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 "Permits cost me about $8,000. (Terry) Bankert and his wife (Lynn Sorenson) pulled a permit only for a porch that turned out to be a handicap ramp. They've put in windows, a stairway, bedrooms in the attic, a new kitchen, drywall, major renovations for months to what was an abandoned house. Not using any licensed contractors means you can save about $80,000 that way. But building codes are there for a reason. They are to protect people"

— Woodcroft Estates resident Don Pfeiffer

Sept. 29, 2020

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​​​​​Posted on Sept.29, 2020

BY MIKE KILLBREATH

CCN Executive Editor

​Election Commission rejects proposed recall language on 8th Ward Flint Councilman Griggs

    FLINT (CCN) — Proposed petition language was rejected Tuesday afternoon to remove Flint City Councilman Allan Griggs from office. The proposed language was turned in by businessman Don Pfeiffer who fumed after the Genesee County Election Commission voted to reject his proposed language against the 8th Ward council member.

   "Take that, sit down, shut up and go away," said Pfeiffer after Genesee County Judge Jenny Barkey told him to consult an attorney if he didn't like the ruling by the three-member commission that also included Genesee County Treasurer Deb Cherry and Genesee County Clerk / Register of Deeds John Gleason.

 . "She told me to consult an attorney and I will," Pfeiffer fumed. "I followed the law. There was obviously some round robin going on where the fix was in, just as Gleason pretty much told (The Daily Gazette) was the case before the hearing. It's criminal, in my opinion."

   Pfeiffer said he will appeal and ruling which was on the basis of Councilman Griggs saying he voted "yes" instead of voting "aye" as described in the proposed wording on the recall petition regarding his vote to appoint Lynn Sorenson to the Flint City Planning Commission. Pfeiffer also told TheDailyGazette.netthat his wife filed revised language within hours after the hearing by changing the word "aye" to "yes" despite the resolution on record at Flint City Hall saying "aye." Pfeiffer also suggested that others in his Woodcroft Estates neighborhood might turn in different proposed language to assure that time does not run out on their attempt to get rid of Griggs.

   The Genesee County Election Commission must approve the language before election day on Nov 3, according to an official at the Michigan Secretary of State's Office. Recalls can't be filed within the final year of an elected official's four-year term. Griggs was elected to his first four-year term in 2017.

   State law requires the county election commissions to meet not sooner than 10 days after proposed recall language is filed, but not more than 20 days after the filing. "They're scheduled to meet on Oct. 13 for a recall against Santino (Guerra), so our goal is to be on the agenda for that meeting with different language," Pfieffer said.

   Pfeiffer vowed legal action and he is no stranger to challenging election rulings.

   He filed a lawsuit when Scott Kincaid filed to run against Pfeiffer and others in the 2017 mayoral race despite already being on the ballot for re-election to the 9th Ward city council seat he had held for 32 years. Then Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey Neithercut ruled that Kincaid could "pick which seat he wanted to run for" and Pfeiffer appealed the decision. The State Court of Appeals then subsequently ruled more than a year later that Judge Neithercut was wrong not to enforce a law which required that Flint City Clerk Inez Brown "shall remove" any candidate who didn't pick which seat he or she wants to run for within three days after filing for office.

   Pfeiffer also filed a lawsuit during the 2019 mayoral race when he contended three other candidates should have been removed from the ballot for faulty filing petitions. A Wayne County case was identical to one of the situations and the ruling there had been upheld by the State Court of Appeals, yet Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farah let all three candidates stay on the ballot against Pfeiffer. The eventual winner, Sheldon Neeley, filed that he was an incumbent judge and he wasn't a lawyer or a judge.

   Pfeiffer vowed to recall Councilman Griggs after a heated 8th Ward neighborhood meeting led to his neighbors taking turns during public speaking at the next meeting of the Flint City Council. They are upset about what they say are plans for a group home to be established on Kenwood by Sorenson.

   Several contended that Sorenson and her husband do not live at the home, yet Sorenson was recently named to the City Planning Commission as the 8th Ward representative in an unanimous vote by the Flint City Council after her name was submitted for consideration by Mayor Neeley. There was also a number of allegations about Sorenson doing major renovations at the Kenwood house despite not getting all the proper permits. Pfeiffer said he did far fewer renovations to a home next to his and was required to use licensed contractors and to pull proper permits.

   He said, "Permits cost me about $8,000. (Terry) Bankert and his wife (Lynn Sorenson) pulled a permit only for a porch that turned out to be a handicap ramp. They've put in windows, a stairway, bedrooms in the attic, a new kitchen, drywall, major renovations for months to what was an abandoned house. Not using any licensed contractors means you can save about $80,000 that way. But building codes are there for a reason. They are to protect people."

   Pfeiffer was also angry about how previous recall language proposed in front of the Genesee County Election Commission has been rejected because resolutions were not cited properly. Judge Barkey said the term "aye" sounded like "something a pirate would say" and claimed if she was confused about it despite "going to a million meetings" — how could voters not be confused? Cherry concurred and offered a second to the motion. Gleason offered support for Pfeiffer, yet didn't vote yes or no before Judge Barkey made a motion to adjourn the meeting.

   After hearing from Gleason about attending hundreds of meetings where the chair asks, "All in favor, vote aye" — Judge Barkey sent Mr. Pfeiffer into a rage by asking, "All in favor of a motion to adjourn, please say aye."

   "Absolutely unbelievable," he said.

  "They're already had a pre-meeting with Neeley, so we know there was round robin (talks going on) and I will seek attorney," Pfeiffer charged.
 

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A link to CCN's special report with breaking news on the big story minutes after the hearing by the Genesee County Election Commission is below: