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Governance | Ann Arbor SPARK
Leigh R. Greden
Eastern Michigan University
A2Politico » Investigations
In June 2009, the Ann Arbor News reported that Ward 3 Council member Leigh Greden played on Facebook during City Council meetings because, as he emailed to his colleagues, having to sit through the annoying trappings of office was supremely boring.
When asked by the Ann Arbor News reporter if he regretted his unprofessional conduct, Greden replied that he "refused" to apologize.Â Then, the Ann Arbor News ran a follow-up story on Greden's emailing using materials released in Freedom of Information Act requests.
Greden and his Council pals were caught rigging votes, including a vote about their own pay raise, and conducting the public's business under the cloak of e-mails sent mid-meeting.
In an email to his
colleagues about the June 2009Â Ann Arbor News articles, Greden
predicted the whoop-la would blow over.
While others fretted via email about the "public relations disaster," Greden's
email response indicated he
It was sometime after the second article came out that the Ann Arbor News
reported that Greden
The latter two were deliberately excluded from the email exchanges because they were being derided and mocked in many of those sent between Greden
became politically toxic.
Representative John D. Dingell, Jr. came under intense criticism from locals for endorsing Greden in 2009, and by the end of Greden's campaign Dingell's name had disappeared from Greden's literature.
For Leigh Greden
, June 2009 was the beginning of the end of his
tenure on City Council
However, it was not the end of his efforts to exert a Mitt Romney-like right-leaning, "money and buildings," influence over local politicos and public policyâ€"influence embraced by John Hieftje, whom Greden's
FOIAed emails indicate he bullied into not vetoing the $50 million dollar city hall project, and whom Greden
mocked as a self-important ninny.
Evidence suggests Leigh Greden
is still pulling the strings, advising members of the Hive Mind Collective, pushing and shaping public policies and, yes, still up to his
neck in behind-the-scenes emails with his
former Council colleagues about the people's business.
Emails provided toÂ A2Politico indicate Greden
and several current Council members are using private email addresses much the same way they used their city and work emails addresses when outed by the Ann Arbor News
In early 2013, A2Politico
filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all emails between Leigh Greden's
email address at EMU
and all of Ann Arbor's
City Council members.
The FOIA was denied because there were no emails from Greden'd EMU address to any of our City Council members at their aa.gov addresses.
In April and May 2013, emails and other evidence surfaced that Greden
and some of the same Council members caught up in the 2009 scandal were using their private email addresses to regularly discuss public policy and Council resolutions among themselves.
The problem persists, in large part, because Leigh Greden
is still "writing the script" from behind the scenes well out of the public view.
All of those challenges stem directly from Leigh Greden's
influence on City Council
votes and his
single-minded focus on "money and buildings," public-private partnerships, development, and developer subsidies at the expense of the city's infrastructure, parks, roads and balance sheet. Â While Greden led Council's Budget and Labor Committee
, records show the city's pension liability increased by $300 million dollars.
Records also showÂ that at the same time city services were being cut city managers were being given annual lump sum pay increases, car allowances, six-figure salaries andÂ stays at 5-star resortsÂ at taxpayer expense.
You might title a book about Greden's
particular brand of politics "1 Percent Politics for Dummies.
The Dummies in this instance would be the 99 percenters footing the billâ€"paying ever more for services and getting ever less for their money.
A political insider from the Hieftje camp who, for obvious reasons asked not to be identified, described a telling scene in 2011, almost two years to the day after Greden
been tossed out of office.
The insider said: "Greden
(right) tracks votes at Margie Teall's 2012 election night party.
Photo from http://wherelightstandsstill.blogspot.com.
In 2012 Greden
helped TeallÂ narrowly survive a challenge by 2013 Council member-elect Jack Eaton.
was at Teall's election night party, again, tallying the votes.
There, you can find photos of Greden
at political events in 2010, 2011 and 2012, such as Teall's party.
was photographed (below, right) for Stanton's blog post about the Grand Opening event.
arrives at the July 2012 Library Lane Garage Grand Opening.
Versus The Chicken Man
It was former Ward 3 Council member Leigh Greden who helped get rid of Ward 3 Council member Stephen Kunselman in 2008, by backing Christopher Taylor, who relentlessly mocked Kunselman's efforts to get an ordinance passed to allow Ann Arbor residents to have backyard chickens and his desire to see a skatepark built in Ann Arbor.
"Professional, businesslike" Talyor was lampooned by the now defunctÂ Ann Arbor News in an editorial cartoon that pictured him as a baby in a sailor's cap sitting in front of a computer.Â The paper also lampooned Taylor's fellow Ward 3 Council memberÂ Leigh Greden
, former Ward 5 Council memberÂ Carsten HohnkeÂ and Ward 4 Council memberÂ Margie Teall.
When citizens filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests for the emails, it was revealed that Leigh Greden
had sent an unflattering email about Stephen Kunselman's mother to Council colleagues during an open meeting.
In 2009 Kunselman wrapped himself in a somewhat ill-fitting Ethics Flag, and ran against Leigh Greden who, even with the endorsements and support of John Hieftje, former DDA Board member Leah Gunn, DDA Board member Joan Lowenstein, soon-to-be former Ward 4 Council memberÂ Marcia Higgins, Margie Teall, former State Senator Liz Brater and Representative John D. Dingell, Jr., lost the three-way race.
One month after Greden's ouster, in anÂ Ann Arbor Observerpiece published in September 2009 written by former Ann Arbor News government reporter Judy McGovern, who broke the email scandal in June of 2009, John Hieftje called Greden "the hardest-working member of the City Council."Â It's a revolving crown that the Hive Mind Collective has passed around among themselves for years, obviously confident that no one in the local media would ever pick up on the trick much less enquireÂ Â how all of them could be "the hardest-working member of City Council."
had been employed part-time byÂ Miller CanfieldÂ during his City Council service, and it was a time-release arrangement that was well worth it for the law firm.
Miller Canfield was involved in multiple city real estate deals during the years its employee, Greden, was on City Council, and Greden routinely voted on resolutions that sent fees his employer's way.
, who'dÂ emailed his
Council colleagues in March of 2009Â that "I focus on money and buildings.
You guys can wear bandanas made of hemp and sandals with socks while you pass resolutions to make A2 a nuclear free zone," was appointed to the Housing Commission in April of 2009, just a month after he made it clear he couldn't give a rat's bahookie about anything except money and development.
However, what better way to boost development than to transition the city's low-incoming housing into the hands of private developers?
That's exactly what happened in June of 2013 at the recommendation of the Housing Commission
, and its Vice President, Leigh Greden
Just five months after Greden
assured McGovern he
was "looking forward to practicing law," he
and Miller Canfield parted company.
landed an appointment at Eastern Michigan University
as its chief of government and community relations.
It was a somewhat surprising appointment for a man whom voters had thrown out of office because of his
difficulty identifying and counteracting his
own community relations disaster.
EMU president Susan Martin told AnnArbor.com, "Our government community relations offices were delighted to add Leigh Greden and Chad Wing today."
and Wing were not added to EMU's
community and government relations office.
They were the office
, an office staffed by Greden
, Wing and an "Executive Secretary" in February of 2010.
The office is still staffed by Greden
, Wing and a secretary.
Greden Joins Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority (YDDA)
Leigh Greden, EMU/ELG Co-Chair
Leigh Greden, EMU/ELG Co-Chair
- Mission, Structure, & Actions
Co-Chairs: Verna J. McDaniel, Washtenaw County Administrator, and Leigh Greden, Executive Director of Government and Community Relations, Eastern Michigan University.