Highland Park mayor under fire for not paying taxes

The mayor of Highland Park is taking heat for not paying his own property taxes.

As if the water service issues for residents weren't enough, there's more mounting pressure for Highland Park Mayor DeAndre Windom to be removed from office.

Resident Kurt Griggs Swanson says there's legal grounds to do so.

"By him being in default, he's ineligible to be on the ballot," Swanson said. 

Windom owed Highland Park nearly $3,000 for his 2014 property taxes on two houses. The city turned the case over to Wayne County because he never paid, he however filed paperwork to run for reelection.

Depending on your reading of the city charter that could be illegal.

"According to the law, section 4-3 section A, he's ineligible he would have to be removed from the August 4th primary ballot," Swanson said.

City attorney Todd Perkins disagrees.

"But as I read the charter, one it indicates that no person is eligible to assume office," Perkins said. "He's already there."

Perkins says there's another point in the mayor's favor. 

"An outstanding bill does not, in and of itself, create a default," Perkins said.

"That's just his play on words," Swanson said. "Default means being in a financial arrearage. So I disagree with the city attorney's flawed interpretation of the charter."

"With the way the language reads, does it appear the mayor who's running for reelection, is in breach of any of the charter 

provisions?" Perkins said. "I don't see it with the information that I have."

Call it a coincidence, when Swanson sent a letter to city hall Tuesday and delivered it in person Wednesday, Windom paid what he owed.

"We can't just assume because a certain action happened, that it caused or created that reaction," Perkins said.

FOX 2: "It would be reasonable to come to that conclusion?"

Perkins: "I wouldn't say it wouldn't be unreasonable." 

FOX 2: "Your initial reaction?" 

"This is just another disappointment in a long line of disappointments that we've had with this particular administration," said Rodney Patrick, city councilman.

The revelations come as residents worry about what will happen with the $20 million Highland Park owes Detroit's water department for unpaid bills.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department wants to collect by putting the debt on their property taxes.

But for now that's on hold. A judge put that on hold temporarily and now Highland Park, Detroit's water department and other parties are in mediation to work something out.

Whether or not they will remains to be seen, so the worst case scenario for people in Highland Park is still possibility.

FOX 2 reached out to Mayor DeAndre Windom who did not respond for comment. 
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