by ANDREW NEAL
During the public comment portion of Wednesday’s Macomb Township board of trustees meeting, resident Tom Sokol voiced his objection to the township repaving the sidewalk in front of Dino Bucci’s residence – a sidewalk that by most accounts appeared to be in good condition.
After the meeting, Sokol claims he was confronted in the parking lot by someone who represents the township who said they had a gun in their possession.
“Residents have lost trust in our local government due to corruption,” Sokol said at the meeting, referencing the indictments handed down by the FBI to both current and former Macomb Township trustees – Dino Bucci and Clifford Freitas respectively.
“Just as recently as July 27, residents have reported that the entire frontage of Dino Bucci’s home was completely marked with red X’s as part of the sidewalk improvement project,” Sokol continued. “After the sentencing and indictments being executed in our township, why are we allowing these types of activities to take place? These are the types of practices that the attorney in the Freitas sentencing referred to as ‘the Macomb Township way,'” Sokol said, arguing that the repaving was a poor use of taxpayer dollars.
As Sokol went on to reference the department head who is overseeing the sidewalk project, he expressed his disagreements with the employee’s decision-making in previous instances, before township attorney Tom Esordi interjected.
“I think comments or allegations regarding employees would be handled in a more appropriate way,” Esordi said. “These are all public employees and they’re entitled to their rights and they don’t speak at these meetings and I think it would be inappropriate to make allegations against our employees.”
Sokol continued with his statement, and during the trustee comments portion of the meeting, Tim Bussineau also brought up the sidewalk in front of Bucci’s residence, again referencing what Freitas’ attorney referred to as the Macomb Township way.
“When we see something like this, it appears to be that old Macomb Township way,” Bussineau said. “The optics of this, it doesn’t look good.”
Bussineau added that he would withhold judgment until the department head had a chance to produce a report on the matter.
But the story doesn’t end there.
After the meeting concluded, witnesses say the township attorney and supervisor, Esordi and Dunn, were overheard having a “heated discussion” outside of the meeting room with Sokol, and things allegedly escalated from there. In a separate interaction after the meeting – this time in the parking lot – Sokol said he was told by “someone who sits in one of those chairs that they have a gun in their possession in an aggressive tone.” According to Sokol, trustee Bussineau and resident Ted Nicodemus witnessed the unnerving interaction.
The next day, both Sokol and trustee Bussineau took to social media to voice their concerns.
“For a resident to get confronted after a meeting, by some who are in power in our Township, is not new,” Bussineau said, “But the veiled threat I heard against [Sokol] by someone who represents our Township in the parking lot was serious.”
Sokol was clearly concerned by the incident. “To be told by someone who sits in one of those chairs that they have a gun in their possession in an aggressive tone shows the lengths that certain individuals in this township will go to silence us from bringing issues forward like Bucci’s excessive sidewalk replacement,” Sokol said, adding that he would use the next few days to “reflect and consult.”
Social media news outlet Macomb County Scanner has referenced an anonymous source who said Esordi made the comment to Sokol in the parking lot. When contacted by the Gazette Thursday, Esordi did not wish to comment.
A follow-up story will be featured in the Gazette as more information comes to light.