DETROIT - Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano remains unflappable.
He insists he did nothing wrong and holds comment on pretty much everything else when it comes to his now indicted appointees.
Today brought still more pain in the ongoing corruption probe. This time it is a civil lawsuit brought by a 25-year civil servant and Wayne County attorney.
His name is Nathan Pardi. He claims he was forced to retire after running afoul of former Assistant Wayne County Executive Michael Grundy.
READ: Nathan Pardi lawsuit
Grundy ran HealthChoice of Michigan, an indigent care health organization operated by Wayne County.
Pardi was an attorney assigned by the County to HealthChoice. Pardi says once Grundy moved up the Ficano food chain, he became abusive, unruly and abusive.
At the same time, Pardi says he saw Grundy doing things that did not look legal. One of those things, Pardi claims, is Grundy moving nearly $500,000 in HealthChoice funds into the Wayne County Health Department.
To hear Pardi tell it, he threatened to reveal Grundy's move and it angered him.
Somewhere along the way, Pardi says a television reporter came snooping around HealthChoice of Michigan wondering what a state registered non-profit known as The HealthChoice Foundation, opened by Grundy, was all about.
Pardi says he was ordered by his boss to do the interview. When he heard about the foundation he said he knew nothing about it and was curious himself what it was. That foundation is apparently part of a larger federal investigation into Grundy.
He is now under indictment and is facing a long pull in the federal pen if found guilty of the obstruction of justice, extortion and fraud charges he is up against.
Pardi says Grundy, through his bosses at the county, disciplined him for doing that interview, [remember that he says that came after his boss ordered him to do the interview]. Pardi also says he was disciplined a month or so before the interview incident for reporting to work late and performing unsatisfactorily. Pardi denies it all. But after getting a second reprimand he says a third would have put him out of work and therefore he would lose his pension. It turned out he had just passed his 25 years with the county. He took early retirement to save the pension he'd earned but claims he lost a considerable amount of his pension, at least 10 percent. He says he planned on working past his 25 years but was forced to retire in order to keep at least what he had. He is suing for back pay and damage to his reputation. The suit asks for damages in excess of $75,000.
Ficano's office had not received service in the lawsuit and rightly refused comment on the case. Still, the courts around town are getting wallpapered with lawsuit filings related to the trouble surrounding Bob Ficano, his administration and more particularly his appointees. This only adds fuel to County Commissioner Laura Cox's call for Ficano to step down. He, of course will not do so, and there aren't enough votes on the County Commission for now to make him do so. Things are continuing to get uncomfortable for the County Executive, and it will likely get no easier in the days to come.
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