Michigan Grievance Board’s grievance administrator says there is no truth to an unsubstantiated allegation that his wife was hired by Macomb County District Attorney Peter Lucido in exchange for the dismissal by his office of a complaint against Lucido.
Grievance Administrator Michael Goetz told the Macomb Daily on Tuesday that he recused himself from any involvement in a grievance filed by three law professors against Lucido in 2021 over comments Lucido made about Governor Gretchen. Whitmer and nursing home deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An investigative report from Lucido’s office released Monday states that three of Lucido’s staff members claim that Lucido hired or agreed to hire Goetz’s wife, Lin, in exchange for the grievance being dismissed. The report’s author, Butzel Attorneys and Counselors, did not investigate the allegation further.
Lin Goetz was hired by Lucido last January as part of 10 new assistant prosecutor hires authorized under Budget 2022.
Goetz said he withdrew from the lawsuit because he knew Lucido. He said they went to law school together and dated him for more than 30 years, but only socialized with him “three or four times”.
“There was no quid pro quo,” he said. “The moment the complaint came to the office, I put a tag on it and everything related to this case. I was removed from the case. I took no part in this transaction.
He criticized Butzel for including the allegation in the report without contacting him for a response.
Goetz, as an administrator, has the power to dismiss a complaint before it goes to the commission, although the complainant can appeal. Once a complaint is forwarded to the nine-member commission, made up of six lawyers and three non-lawyers, the commission decides whether to open or close an investigation.
Lawrence Dubin, professor emeritus at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School, and two other professors filed a lawsuit against Lucido on March 27, 2021. They alleged he may have “a personal ax to grind” against Whitmer and questioned whether an investigation into all nursing home deaths by Lucido “will be motivated by his own bias in the matter and his desire to substantiate his own prior allegations” and to “advance his own political interests”.
The board dismissed the grievance on December 16, 2021, but issued a warning to Lucido: “While the board closes the file, you are warned of your obligation under MRPC 8.4 (c) to avoid making public comments. likely to have an impact. the administration of justice”.
The commission’s warning referred to Rule 8.4(c) of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys, which states, “It is professional misconduct for an attorney to engage in conduct detrimental to the administration of Justice “.
After the grievance was dismissed by the board, Dubin filed a “request for investigation” of Goetz with the Michigan Supreme Court. However, Dubin said he voluntarily withdrew it after verifying that Goetz had in fact disqualified himself from the case.
On Tuesday, Lin Goetz supported her husband.
“My husband doesn’t do that stuff,” she said. “My husband does not quid pro quo.”
Lin Goetz ran as a Republican against Karen McDonald for Oakland County District Attorney in 2020. Micheal Goetz ran against former Oakland District Attorney Jessica Cooper in 2016. Both were unsuccessful.
The July 8 Butzel Report, which was commissioned by Macomb County Executive’s Office Mark Hackel, alleges that Lucido used county employees and resources for personal and campaign activities, “treating female employees offensively,” used race as a factor in the appointment of an attorney and increased “scrutiny” of three senior assistant prosecutors, among others.
This was the section of the senior executives report where the allegation about Goetz is mentioned in a footnote. Since the allegation has not been further investigated, the investigator “makes no findings or recommendations based on them.
The report recommends the county refer the campaign work allegations to the Michigan Secretary of State for investigation under Michigan’s campaign finance law and require Lucido to receive training on sex, sex Orientation and Racial Bias Related to County Policies and the Elliott State-Larsen Civil Rights Act. He suggests the county could take legal action to “force District Attorney Lucido to comply with applicable law and all applicable county employment policies.”
Lucido, through his attorney, declined to appear for an “investigative interview,” the report said.
Lucido and Hackel become embroiled in an ongoing dispute over the first-term prosecutor’s ability to hire new employees. Earlier this year, Lucido won a lawsuit against Hackel over the executive denying Lucido the ability to hire four employees. Hackel appealed.
Lucido responded in a written statement, “This so-called ‘report’ is nothing more than a collection of undisputed complaints. These types of complaints have always, and should have, followed the grievance process provided for in the collective agreements. This would have complied with essential due process, including the opportunity for the accused to confront his accuser.
“Instead, the county executive commissioned a law firm, at taxpayer expense, primarily to research complaints and make findings and recommendations against an elected official they clearly dislike. When asked, the outside law firm could not provide any authority to conduct this so-called “investigation.” On the other hand, Attorney Lucido provided a unanimous opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals, teaching that the county executive unequivocally does not have the authority to hire an outside law firm to “investigate.” on another county elected official.
Lucido says he was elected to “clean up a crime-infested district attorney’s office headed by then-state prosecutor and now convicted Eric Smith.”
“To say that changes had to be made to address the endemic damage caused by admitted criminal conduct within the prosecutor’s office is an understatement,” he said. “It appears that several assistant prosecutors were upset that District Attorney Lucido wanted to make changes to the district attorney’s office.”
Lucido did not specifically address most of the allegations in the report, aside from countering those regarding his treatment of the three senior executives.
The report says it could not conclude whether Lucido was hitting back at staffers or making changes after taking over a new office following his election in 2020.
Smith, 55, of Macomb Township, resigned in March 2020 after being charged with 10 felonies by state Attorney General Dana Nessel for illegally spending up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds public. The case is pending in Macomb Circuit Court.
Smith was later charged by federal authorities with obstruction of justice for separately trying to cover up his theft of $75,000 in campaign funds. He pleaded guilty and on June 30 reported to a federal prison in Indiana to begin serving 21 months.