by CYNTHIA KMETT
A former employee has filed a lawsuit against the city. The whistleblower lawsuit filed by Ryan Wolf claims he was fired after coming forward with information about his participation in wrongdoing by Troy’s subsequently fired Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick.
Kischnick wasn’t fired for this crime. He lost his job on Sunday, March 11 after being charged with assault and battery against his girlfriend on Friday, March 9 when they got in a fight after being out to dinner.
Wolf says he was approached by Kischnick around the first of March for help with what the manager told Wolf might be Open Meetings Act violations. Wolf said he was told not to tell anyone of the surveillance. Well, this involved covertly accessing the city’s restricted closed circuit TV security camera system. As a researcher and tech administrator, Wolf was not authorized to access that system.
While we don’t know when the FBI arrived in town, perhaps these were the discussions that might have interested Kischnick, who has since been charged with taking almost $20,000 in bribes from city contractors whose work involved federal funds. That usually means money for roads, community block grant funds, and sometimes items to support law enforcement.
Kischnick is expected to plead guilty to those charges in federal court in late August. But it was four days after Kischnick’s March firing that Wolf came forward when he learned that the city was investigating unauthorized access to the system. According to City Attorney Bluhm’s report to city council, Wolf would have know that any access to the system is documented.
Wolf also made a statement during an interview with the Troy Police. But Wolf was fired, and now claims he was a whistleblower on Kischnick and wants compensation in excess of $25,000 for the damage he has suffered including past and future income loss, employee benefits, mental anguish and emotional distress, and loss of professional reputation.
Council gave the city’s legal department direction to fight this case.
In other business at the latest meeting, council had to take the time to resubmit approval for liquor licenses for Yard House restaurant and Seasons 52 restaurant, both going up in front of 888 W. Big Beaver at Crooks. The requests for these licenses was already approved on April 23, but the Michigan Liquor Control Commission wanted a copy that included “under MCL436.1531 (4).”
The council also presented a Certificate of Recognition to City Engineer Steve Vandette on his retirement, which became official on Friday, July 28. He was praised for taking on the biggest road and capital construction program in the city’s history. In the first 10 years, it averaged $20 million per year on projects that included widening most of the major arteries in the city such as Big Beaver, Rochester, Long Lake, Livernois, Crooks, and Dequindre.
Of course, when Vandette had a chance to speak, he observed the most challenging project of his tenure was the Troy Transit Center, which was agonizing and frustrating, but satisfying in the end. He now plans to spend time with his wife Barb traveling, camping, and cheering for his beloved Michigan State Spartans, which is where he earned his civil engineering degree.