Monday, October 24, 2011

Commissioner Al Holiday - Saginaw

On August 23, 2004, Saginaw County Commissioner Al Holiday was arrested for suspicion of assault with intent to commit murder, when he doused his wife with gasoline and then tried to set her on fire. He later pleaded no-contest to misdemeanor domestic violence. Despite this charge and other domestic violence charges, Commissoner Holiday was able to maintain his official position.

On October 24, 2011, Saginaw Commissioner Al Holiday was ousted for his role in misspending $2.8 million in federal HUD funds. Although Saginaw County was forced to repay the funds, Al Holiday was not criminally charged.

Ousted Saginaw housing commissioner Al Holiday 'didn't do anything wrong,' former board colleague says
Published: Thursday, October 27, 2011, 10:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 27, 2011, 11:16 AM
By Gus Burns
The Saginaw News

Saginaw Housing Commission, Al Holiday

SAGINAW — Parrish Anderson, a former Saginaw Housing Commission board member, “hates this stuff is going on.”

He said the removal of Al Holiday from the commission’s board Monday night is unfortunate.

It occurred hours after the commission voted 4-1 -- Holiday being the only dissenting vote -- to give Director Peter Chitekwe an "unsatisfactory" performance evaluation and said they would not renew his contract at the end of February.

Al Holiday belonged to the Saginaw Housing Commission oversight panel with Anderson when a decade of questionable spending began, according to a federal audit released in August.

Anderson said he joined the commission's board in 2000 and resigned last year to devote time to other pursuits.

The United States Department Housing and Urban Development question the Housing Commission's purchase of the former Saginaw County Fairgrounds in late 2002, for which it spent $536,000 in HUD funds.

After voting to remove Holiday, Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch said: Holiday is “very passionate about public housing... I can’t say he’s done a bad job as a commissioner... but the people of Saginaw need to have a sense of confidence in the Housing Commission, and I don’t think they are going to have it as long as anybody who was part of the fairgrounds (purchase) is still there.”

HUD told the commission federal funds could not be used for the fairgrounds purchase, but it proceeded anyway with board approval.

The purchase never materialized into the market-rate housing development that then-Director Troy White advertised to the board, Anderson said.

“They had got a plan to develop that land with market rate housing,” Anderson said. “If (the Housing Commission) went back on the deal, (it) would have to pay $50,000.”

HUD didn’t like the decision to proceed.

It prompted two audits — in 2006 and 2011 — that uncovered spending issues that went far beyond the fairgrounds. The latest audit release in August requested the commission pay back $2.8 million in unsupported or illegitimate spending that occurred mostly since 2006.

Holiday “didn't do anything wrong,” Anderson said. “We were lied to. We were told that it was OK for us to use our own money” to make the purchase.

“He lied to us and we got spanked for it.”

Anderson fondly remembers the Christmas parties, during which elderly and low-income residents — “some of them could barely walk” — dressed in their finest clothes and celebrated the holidays, courtesy of the Housing

Commission, an expenditure — among many others — HUD took issue with in its latest audit.

Anderson said Holiday’s passion for housing those in need is sincere and he was a credit to the commission.

Saginaw mayor leaves door open to possiblity of more Saginaw Housing Commission changes
Published: Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 4:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 4:42 PM
By Gus Burns
The Saginaw News

SAGINAW — Leaders may not be finished making changes to the Saginaw Housing Commission, Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch says.

City Council voted 7-0 Monday — Councilmen Andrew Wendt and Daniel Fitzpatrick were absent — to remove long-time commissioner Al Holiday from the Housing Commission oversight panel.

“If I implied that I or Council was done with the Housing Commission, I apologize for misleading you,” Branch said the day following Holiday’s removal.

The Saginaw mayor is able to appoint members to the commission's board, and the City Council may vote to remove members but retains no further oversight power.

The Housing Commission caught the eye of the United States Department Housing and Urban

Development — its overwhelming funding source — in 2006 when an audit revealed the commission’s board approved spending $536,000 to purchase 57 acres of the former Saginaw County Fairgrounds to develop housing in 2002 after HUD told the commission not to.

A follow-up audit (read here) released in August concluded the commission continued misspending up to $2.8 million taxpayer dollars, much of it within the last five years.

The commission assists 1,800 low-income individuals annually with housing using a $4.5 million operating budget and $6 million in Section 8 low-income rent payment vouchers.

Holiday belonged to the commission when it purchased the fairgrounds in 2002.

But so did Commissioner Delena Spates-Allen, who resigned in 2004 — she said at the time to devote more time to her role with public school issues, where she is a member of the Saginaw School District Board of

Commissioners — and accepted a reappointment from then-Mayor Carol B. Cottrell in 2007.

Branch said Spates-Allen took issue with some of the decisions of board members in the past, contributing to her departure in 2004.

“The simple fact that (Branch) knew I didn’t agree with what was happening then, and I stepped down, it made a statement,” Spates-Allen said.

Holiday is “very passionate about public housing... I can’t say he’s done a bad job as a commissioner,” Branch said after the vote to oust Holiday. “But the people of Saginaw need to have a sense of confidence in the Housing Commission, and I don’t think they are going to have it as long as anybody who was part of the fairgrounds (purchase) is still there.”

Branch’s statement leads one to wonder about Spates-Allen’s future with the Housing Commission, which she believes is secure.

“I think she is... a good diligent board member,” Branch said. “I've talked to Delena a lot I know where she is coming from, I know where she was coming from when they bought the fairgrounds. That's not to say that (she’s) free of any blame, but I still haven’t made up my mind yet.”

Troy D. White, the director in 2002, said the fairground purchase had been approved by HUD.

“But of course it wasn't,” Branch said. “The purchase of the fairgrounds isn’t the only problem that the Housing Commission has had. Delena was there for some of them, she wasn’t there for some.”

Spates-Allen said the commission’s intent with the fairground purchase was to turn “an eyesore into something good” but it “backfired.”
Conflict of interest
Two audits — a federal audit that reviewed the commission between 1997 and 1999 and another by an independent auditor issued in 2010 — placed Spates-Allen in potential conflict of interest situations.

The most recent claim involves Spates-Allen’s brother, whom an audit conducted by John C. DiPiero, a Hemlock-based accountant, said improperly received housing assistance for a period of 24 months.

The report dated June 30, 2010 says “an individual” applied for and was enrolled in the Housing Commission’s “Shelter Plus Care” program.

His sister, whom Allen admits to be herself, became a board member a month after her brother’s enrollment, the audit said.

It said funds used to pay for Spates-Allen’s brother’s housing came from an improper account and after 24 months the commission discovered Spates-Allen’s brother “did not have a determinable disability and terminated him from the program.”

Upon his termination, Spates-Allen said she asked Saginaw Housing Commission Director Peter Chitekwe and another administrator why her brother’s assistance was canceled.

The audit recommended Spates-Allen resign, but she refused.

In a February response to DiPiero’s recommendation, Spates-Allen wrote: “I did not know which program (my brother) was on. Please know that I never inquired about having a family member placed in any Housing Commission program nor asked staff to make an exception for me, however, as I stated, yes, I did ask (Peter Chitekwe) and (the program coordinator) to look into why he was terminated, such as I would do any citizen that requests me to investigate on their behalf.”

DiPiero had not returned a message requesting comment left with his office as of Wednesday afternoon.

Spates-Allen called the report “a setup” by Chitekwe. She said she had no direct oversight of day-to-day program approvals and did not knowingly violate any conflict of interest policy.

“This is just an attempt to demise my credibility as a commissioner because of some of the things that I have been asking of the current director,” Spates-Allen said. “The reason this big audit came through is because I asked questions.”

The Housing Commission board voted 4-1 Monday — Holiday was the only dissenting vote — to issue Chitekwe an “unsatisfactory” job performance evaluation and not to renew his contract when it expires Feb. 29.

Chitekwe said the “setup” accusation is “not correct.”

According to DiPiero's audit, he revealed that Kristi Jackson, the grants program coordinator, had committed a “material breach” by signing her two sons up for the “Shelter Plus Care” program, for which the commission paid $20,816 over an 18-month period.

The discovery led to Jackson’s termination and the board expanding the audit. DiPiero discovered Spates-Allen’s conflict “when he was given a bigger scope,” Chitekwe said.

A Department of Housing and Urban Development audit released in 2001 alleged another decision Spates-Allen participated in that presented a conflict of interest.

It said the commission voted to sell a 2.2-acre section of land on the Northeast Side to Alfe Heat Treatment Inc. for the lesser of two appraisal values it received without HUD approval.

“The reason they considered that a conflict of interest is because I worked for Saginaw Future and they attracted the business to Saginaw,” Spates-Allen said.

The audit also said a conflicts of interest existed among then-Saginaw Mayor Gary L. Loster, who called the allegation “absurd,” and Holiday — both of them Delphi Saginaw Steering Systems employees.

HUD later cleared Holiday and Loster.

HUD representatives could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Al Holiday has 'no comment' after unanimous vote to remove him from Saginaw Housing Commission
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 9:44 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 9:45 AM
By Gus Burns
The Saginaw News

SAGINAW — The Saginaw City Council voted 7-0 to remove long-time board member Al Holiday from the Saginaw Housing Commission Monday.

He’s been on the commission greater than a decade and is the only current member who was present in 2002 when the commission spent $536,000 to purchase the former 54-acre Saginaw County Fairgrounds, in spite of a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ruling that federal funds could not be spent in such a manner.

The decision led to two audits by the Office of the Inspector General over the next 10 years — one in 2006 and another released in August — that revealed $2.8 million in misspent funds by the commission.

When contacted Tuesday morning for a response to his ousting, Holiday replied, “No comment.”

His removal from the board came less than two hours after he was the only board member in a 4-1 decision to vote against issuing an “unsatisfactory” evaluation to Saginaw Housing Commission Executive Director Peter Chitekwe.

In addition to the negative evaluation, Chitekwe’s contract expires Feb. 29 and will not be renewed.

Chitekwe said he doesn’t wish to sounds like a “disgruntled employee” and wouldn’t comment much about the board’s decision, but he said the financial situation was potentially wore than board members were aware.

He said he believes had it not been such a “financial mess” upon his appointment as director in March of 2010, he could have done better.

Saginaw Housing Commission member Al Holiday ousted, executive director's performance deemed 'unsatisfactory'
Published: Monday, October 24, 2011, 10:25 PM
Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 11:58 AM
By Gus Burns
The Saginaw News
Peter Chitekwe

Saginaw Housing Commission, Al Holiday

SAGINAW — In the wake of a Saginaw Housing Commission audit that revealed the commission misspent $2.8 million throughout the last decade, Executive Director Peter Chitekwe will be replaced in February, and Al Holiday has been expelled from the board.

Both decisions came to light Monday evening, with the Housing Commission voting to release Chitekwe and the Saginaw City Council, which met later in the evening, voting to remove Holiday from the Housing Commission oversight panel.

During a closed meeting, the Saginaw Housing Commission board voted 4-1 — Holiday cast the sole “nay” vote — in rating Chitekwe’s performance as “unsatisfactory.”

It issued a recommendation that his two-year contract not be renewed when it expires Feb. 29.

“If I found the place in good shape, I could have done better,” Chitekwe said. “But someone has to be blamed. They are not satisfied in the efforts I have put in... It was just too much. I don’t know if everybody fully understands the severity of the situation that this place was in.”

The commission hired Chitekwe as its financial manager in 2009, at a time Chitekwe said the commission was a “financial mess” and without its then-director, Director Duane L. Walker, who was battling cancer.

In March 2010, Chitekwe became the director.

The Office of the Inspector General selected the commission for audit released in August because a 2006 audit had showed the commission improperly spent $536,000 in federal funds to purchase the former Saginaw County Fairgrounds.

The 2011 audit revealed that Chitekwe, Holiday, one-time board President Parrish Anderson, who was no longer on the board at the time, and Kristi Jackson — the since-terminated grant coordinator whom a 2010 audit said intervened to help secure her two sons $20,816 in housing assistance benefits — attended Walker’s funeral in Chicago at taxpayers’ expense in 2010.

The board also authorized the purchase of a $32,000 2008 Lincoln SUV for Chitekwe to use for work.

The Saginaw mayor appoints commission board members, and the City Council may remove members but has no further authority, Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch said.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to remove Holiday, a 14-year Housing Commission board member.

City Councilmen Daniel Fitzpatrick and Andrew Wendt were absent.

Branch said “a lot” of the problems the audit pointed to “had their genesis 10 years ago,” when the commission purchased the fairgrounds.

Holiday is “very passionate about public housing... I can’t say he’s done a bad job as a commissioner,” Branch said. “But the people of Saginaw need to have a sense of confidence in the Housing Commission, and I don’t think they are going to have it as long as anybody who was part of the fairgrounds (purchase) is still there.”

Branch appointed Thomas Begin and Odie Pruitt III to the commission board within the last year. Then-Mayor Joyce J. Seals appointed Delena Spates-Allen in 2007 and Dawn Genwright in 2008.

City Council members in September 2008 voted 6-3 against a recommendation from Seals to reappoint Holiday to the Saginaw Housing Commission.

Seals disregarded the vote and reappointed Holiday because council certification is not required.

Branch said he hopes to fill the vacancy “very soon” with a someone adept at financial management.

Saginaw Housing Commission to repay more than $2 million in federal housing funds it misspent
Published: Thursday, September 29, 2011, 7:15 AM
By Gus Burns

Peter Chitekwe
Selena Spates-Allen

Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch. File. The Saginaw News

SAGINAW — Christmas parties, a 2008 Lincoln sport utility vehicle and food, travel and lodgings for four people to attend a Chicago funeral are among $2 million in misspending a federal audit has uncovered at the Saginaw Housing Commission.

The commission was a financial “mess I walked into,” said Peter Chitewke, who became the low-income housing agency’s executive director in March 2010 after working as finance director since September 2009.

“I realized they didn’t even have a budget,” Chitekwe said. “When I came... they had been without a director of finance for almost nine months; also there was no director.”

Chitekwe worked to create a budget. He said some funds weren’t accounted for properly before his supervision, but “nobody stole any money.”

Chitekwe said spending on non-housing-related items, such as meals, donations to nonprofit organization, Christmas parties, book bags for residents’ children and flowers to staff and board members, occurred before his tenure and have ceased.

The audit figure includes $536,000 inappropriately spent in 2001 to buy the former Saginaw County Fairgrounds in Saginaw.

Starting in November, the commission will repay $85,151.78 in eight monthly installments of $10,643.97, Chitewke said.

At that time, the commission will reevaluate its financial situation and lay out a payment plan for next year, he said.

It made a commitment to repay the federal government at least $20,000 per year. At that rate, it would take more than 135 years to pay off the debt.

The Saginaw Housing Commission cannot provide receipts for about $395,000 in spending. In addition, it “did not properly categorize” $822,000 in federal funds it received from the Department of Housing and Urban

Development since July 2005, according to its latest federal audit.

Chitekwe said the undocumented $394,683 the audit mentioned was paid to the city of Saginaw as part of a nearly-$1 million separation agreement.

It was money due for pension and retirement costs due for employees absorbed by the commission.

The Office of the Inspector General audit evaluated spending through Feb. 28 of this year and concluded the Saginaw Housing Commission misappropriated funds for items such as meals for executive board members and staff; legal expenses for nonprofit organizations it operates; a used vehicle for Chitekwe; Christmas parties for staff and residents; alcohol; donations to nonprofit organizations and entertainment.

Individual dollar amounts and more detail about the cited items was not immediately available.

The audit indicated the agency inappropriately spent public money on travel and hotel rooms when Chitekwe, agency staffer Kristi Jackson and two board members, Al Holiday and now-former President Parrish Anderson attended the Chicago funeral of former Executive Director Duane L. Walker, who died of cancer in October.

Chitekwe said he didn’t realize the expenditures were a violation of HUD rules.

“I thought we needed to go pay our respects,” he said.

“Some of (the errors were) innocent mistakes and a lack of training,” Chitekwe said. “There was a period of time when nobody was in charge. Part of it was ignorance.”

Chitekwe, 48, earns $90,000 per year drives a commission-funded $32,000 Lincoln SUV.

It is a 2008 model.

He said the board approved the purchase because the left side of his body was rendered partially immobile by a stroke he suffered in 2002 — the larger vehicle is easier for him to enter and exit — and for extensive winter travel.

The audit claims the commission inappropriately spent federal money on the vehicle.

The 18-employee Housing Commission is a public corporation created in 1947 by the Saginaw City Council to provide low-income housing services to the residents, its website states.

The commission, which manages about $8.8 million in federal funds annually, operates 632 low-income units within five high-rises and other apartments, administers vouchers for 1,197 Section 8 subsidized housing recipients and supplies housing needs for some handicapped or formerly homeless residents.

The board approved a corrective action report be sent to HUD at its annual review meeting Tuesday.

The plan explains the steps to avoid future financial missteps and lays out a preliminary plan to repay nearly $2.8 million that HUD is requesting.

The past
The Saginaw City Council created the independent Housing Commission about 60 years ago.

The mayor appoints the five-person board — members are President Odie Pruitt, Vice President Delena Spates-Allen, Holiday, Dawn E. Genwright and Thomas Begin — to five-year terms but has no direct oversight.

Pruitt and Begin were appointed by Mayor Greg Branch in the last year.

“From what I can see, it looks like this is all the result of things that happened 11 years ago,” said Branch, referring to the purchase of the Saginaw County Fairgrounds in 2001 for $536,000 by the commission without HUD approval.

The purchase caught HUD’s attention and resulted in a 2006 audit, Chitekwe theorized.

The audit found the commission disobeyed HUD when it bought the fairgrounds and also inappropriately spent $12,289 it received in communication lease revenue — $8,000 on appraisal services, $3,097 for meals and $1,192 to a scholarship fund run by then-Mayor Joyce J. Seals.

The commission then failed to meet repayment obligations, not making its first installment until June 2011.

If the commission sold the former Saginaw County Fairgrounds at East Genesee and Webber, it could apply those funds to the debt.

“This right here is our most important goal of this housing commission right now,” Spates-Allen said Tuesday, “to eliminate this debt and make sure that the integrity and the character of this housing commission is at the level that it needs to be at.”

Increasing the difficulty of repayment, the debt must be paid with non-federal funds, which represent only about 15 percent of the commission’s nearly $4 million operating budget, Chitekwe said.

Qualified money comes from such items as fees paid to the commission by companies that install communications towers atop its buildings and a portion of money from HUD taken from Section 8 vouchers.

Due to discrepancies, HUD placed the commission on a “zero threshold” for public housing expenditures in November 2010, which Chitekwe said requires each expenditure have supporting documents before HUD will release any funds.

Chitekwe said he wants to assure the public that the majority of the accounting issues arose during the previous administration and order has been restored.

Branch said there has been talk in the past among City Council members about the possibility of taking the commission back under city control, but he’s unsure of the legal requirements or the desire to do so.

“I need to find out more about it at this point because HUD didn’t send this to me and neither did the housing commission, so (Tuesday) was the first I have see this,” Branch said. “There’s been attempts over the last three mayors probably to kind of make some changes... We’re getting close, but we’re not there yet.”

Branch said the commission is “missing almost a half-million dollars that’s completely unaccounted for.”

“You just can’t have that,” he said.


KFC, recall leads to Saginaw housing commissioner's removal
Published: Tuesday, June 02, 2009, 6:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, June 02, 2009, 8:16 AM
By Justin L. Engel
The Saginaw News

Mayor Joyce J. Seals said she is ousting a Saginaw Housing Commission member because of his participation in what some residents are calling a bait-and-switch involving fried chicken and a school board recall petition.

Seals on Monday recommended removing Commission Vice President Charles Conner from the mayor-appointed post he's served more than five years. Seals needed and received City Council approval.

Conner said he doesn't deserve the removal and that he'll explore the legality of the council's action by contacting lawyers and officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the Housing Commission.

"The responsibility of the commissioners is to set policy," Conner said. "It has nothing to do with stopping activities."

'These people are angry'

State officials last week said a manager at Maplewood Manor may have violated the state's Campaign Finance Act by allowing a woman campaigning for the recall of four Saginaw Board of Education members to use the community room at the senior high-rise that the commission oversees.

Parent Vera McCulloh-Pratt laid out a KFC spread with mashed potatoes and gravy and at least five buckets of chicken. Pratt has said it was an informational meeting, but one resident claims Pratt enticed the seniors -- many living on fixed incomes -- with the chicken.

Some residents came down to Maplewood's community room to pick up the meal without their eyeglasses. Others signed the papers hurriedly, fixed a plate, then shuffled back to their rooms, resident Yvonna Terry has said.

Conner, also a Maplewood Manor resident, was among those who ate, but he didn't sign the petitions, board President Parrish Anderson has said.

Seals said Conner had a responsibility to recognize and end the event.

"I need for him to protect the interests of the people," she said. "I don't think he did that on that day. Now these people are angry."

Seals and City Clerk Diane Herman say they've received several calls from residents at the high-rise who complained they were misled to sign the petitions.

"As the mayor of this city, I have to make sure I legislate for the people," Seals said. "These calls I received were troubling to me. I have to sleep at night and answer to the man upstairs."

The mayor appoints commission members but Conner said Seals may be acting against the people's will by removing him. Conner said years ago the housing agency's residents voted him to serve as resident commissioner, making him an ombudsman for tenants.

"I want to talk to some people about this," he said. "I don't know what I'll find."

Changing faces
Conner's removal marks the second time in five days the commission has lost a top official.

Executive Director Duane L. Walker on Thursday said he will step down because of a long-term medical condition he didn't want to specify. Commissioners could choose an interim replacement at a special meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday at their headquarters, 1803 Norman.

Seals on Monday also eluded to "other actions" she soon may make regarding the commission. She did not elaborate.

The mayor came under criticism from fellow council members in September 2008 when she reappointed Al Holiday to the commission.

While she needs council approval to remove commissioners, she can act alone when appointing them, City Hall officials say. That didn't stop her from seeking a council vote to reappoint Holiday, who was involved in a 2002 decision to spend more than a half-million dollars without HUD approval to buy the former Saginaw County Fairgrounds.

The agency's inspector general auditors found the purchase improper.

The council voted 6-3 against Seals' recommendation but City Hall officials later said the mayor's endorsement trumped the group vote. Holiday remains with the housing agency.

Editorial: Al Holiday is wrong for job
Published: Thursday, October 09, 2008, 4:06 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 09, 2008, 4:08 PM
By Jodi McFarland
The Saginaw News

Joyce Seals is a good person and a good mayor, but you've got to wonder what was going on in her head when she reappointed Al Holiday to the Saginaw Housing Commission.

A couple of days back, Seals recommended the reappointment to City Council members. Six of the nine said no, which left the mayor "shocked."

That line is laughable. Consider this:
Since the 1980s, police have arrested the former Saginaw County Board of Commissioners chairman and state House candidate about a half-dozen times.

Charges included disturbing the peace, felonious assault, leaving a car crash scene and domestic violence. He's paid a couple of fines but evaded serious punishment -- the most egregious example is when a judge placed him under three months house arrest for dousing his wife with gasoline and trying to set her on fire four years ago. For that, he deserved jail time.

Even though Holiday obviously has flouted his obligation to our society of laws and basic decency, Seals apparently was willing to give him a pass for his less-than-stellar personal life.

In his public life, Holiday was at the center of controversy a few years ago when he and others decided to spend $573,000 of U.S. Housing and Urban Development money meant for the poor to buy the former Saginaw County Fairgrounds -- without federal approval. HUD called it improper and recommended sanctions against Holiday and his bunch, including firing. Nothing has come of it.

Now, remember His Grace Bishop Frumentius? He was four-time fraud convict Daniel E. Phelps, and Holiday and his colleagues cut a deal to sell the fairgrounds to him for $600,000 before checking his bona fides. In fact, had not The Saginaw News revealed Phelps' true identity and criminal past, the commission may have found itself in straits more dire than it did.

And that's why council members nixed the reappointment.

It turns out, though, their vote didn't count. Only the mayor can appoint to the Housing Commission. So Seals went ahead with it, saying the council was mistaken and that Holiday voted the way he did because the commission's executive director at the time said it was OK.

Also part of this mix is a controversial halfway house in northeast Saginaw. Back in the 1990s, the commission got the city to re-zone the land the halfway house now sits on from residential to its current general industrial to allow for developments such as the re-entry residence. The city then gave the property to the commission, which sold it to an Indiana company. After two more title transfers came the halfway house.

Now the commission is suing the current owner, Bannum Inc., saying the halfway house -- remember the zoning the commission sought and got? -- is too close to a school.

Saginaw deserves better than that kind of byzantine thinking and the shady dealings surrounding this agency. And it certainly deserves better than Holiday and the expertise vacuum and legal baggage he brings with him. Is there not a quality person in all of Saginaw who could fill that position?

What was Seals thinking?

Familiar face, crowded race
Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A controversial Saginaw public figure is looking to return to his seat on the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners.

Former board Chairman Alfredia "Al" Holiday will face fellow Democrats Calvin Williams and Eddie F. Foxx in the August primary for the District 6 seat. No Republicans are on the ballot.

Tuesday was the candidate filing deadline for the Tuesday, Aug. 8, primary.

Holiday, 52, held the seat in 1994, when he lost a bid for the state House 95th district. He has since served on the Saginaw City Charter Review Commission and presently is vice president of the Saginaw Housing Commission.

But Holiday's record in governance must compete with his personal history -- most recently, a sentence of three months house arrest last year for a domestic violence charge. Authorities said he doused his wife in gasoline and tried to set her on fire in the summer of 2004.

"Folks are probably going to remember that," Williams said, though he noted he does not consider it a concern for his campaign, which he plans to steer toward public health and other county services he believes residents in District 6 -- parts of the city of Saginaw and Buena Vista and Bridgeport townships -- don't fully use.

The News could not reach Holiday or Foxx. Foxx ran for the seat in 2004 and lost 746-865 in the primary to Terry W. Sangster, who this year is seeking the 95th District state House seat.

State races have opened three county board seats. The most crowded is District 2, the county's western townships, where two Democrats and three Republicans will compete in the Aug. 8 primary for the slot left by Democrat Robert D. Blaine, who is campaigning for 94th District state House seat.

Democrats Lindsey K. Read and Leonard "Lenny" J. LeFevre submitted their names.

"The commissioners run just as hard as the state reps," LeFevre said. "But ... I didn't want to have a Democrat not run. We need somebody to challenge the Republicans."

They are Timothy M. Krzeszewski, who lost a bid for county treasurer in 2004 and serves on the Swan Creek Township Planning Commission; Ronald L. Sholtz, who has served as Marion Township supervisor and lost the county board seat narrowly in 2004 with 3,434 votes to Blaine's 3,468; and Gary D. Lyvere, who has run previously for the county board and has served as a Richland Township trustee.

In District 4 -- Frankenmuth Township plus parts of Bridgeport and Birch Run townships -- one Republican and one Democrat are seeking to replace Frankenmuth Republican Kenneth B. Horn, who is running for the state House 94th District seat. Republican Dennis H. Krafft and Democrat Jean A. Schluckebier, both of Frankenmuth Township, will vie for his seat in the Nov. 7 general election.

Holiday given house arrest
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Darryl Q. TuckerThe Saginaw News

A Saginaw County judge will consider whether to allow Saginaw Housing Commission Vice President Al Holiday to attend meetings while he is on house arrest.

District Judge Darnell Jackson on Tuesday ordered Holiday to serve three months of house arrest for domestic violence against his wife, Cheryl Holiday, 40.

He warned the former Saginaw County Board of Commissioners chairman that if he violates any terms of his probation, he will spend 93 days in jail.

Authorities said Holiday doused his spouse with gasoline and tried to set her on fire Aug. 23 at their Carter Street home.

Holiday's punishment includes nine months of probation, orders to stay away from his estranged wife -- who has filed for divorce -- and to pay $609 in fees and fines.

Holiday, 51, pleaded no contest, meaning he does not contest prosecutors' evidence and is willing to accept the punishment. He did not speak during the hearing. The conviction also means that he cannot possess a gun.

Last month, Holiday resigned from the Saginaw City Charter Review Commission.

Assistant Prosecutor Steven J. Fenner told Jackson he wanted Holiday to serve jail time. "The facts indicate the act could have resulted in the death of Cheryl Holiday," he said.

Defense attorney Thomas L. Frank sought probation only for his client and no fees, fines or incarceration. Holiday lives on a fixed income of $2,400 a month and needs time to pay the fees and fines, he said.

Holiday also has an obligation to the community to attend Housing Commission meetings and an out-of-town conference later this month, Frank said.

Jackson said he would consider allowing Holiday to attend the meetings and conference.

During a February pre-trial hearing for Holiday, Cheryl Holiday said she would not testify against her husband.

A month later, Family Court Judge Patrick J. McGraw granted Cheryl Holiday a personal protection order against her husband. In her request, she described the August incident, saying he doused her with gasoline.

"I did not press charges against him because I was afraid to," she wrote.

The protection order will remain in effect until March 17. A violation also could result in 93 days in jail and $500 in fines.

Cheryl Holiday, a county employee, said she moved out of their home at 3217 Carter in March while her husband was on a business trip in Washington, D.C.

The Holidays have been married for five years.

Ex-county leader Al Holiday jailed
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

A former Saginaw County Board of Commissioners chairman who wants aseat on the proposed Saginaw City Charter Commission may have to put his bid on hold.

Police arrested Al Holiday, 50, at his home Monday and booked him inthe County Jail on suspicion of assault with intent to commit murder against his 40-year-old wife.

Police said she told them she was sitting in the bedroom of their homeon Carter when Holiday walked in and started arguing about money and threatened to kill her.

Holiday left the room and returned a short time later and poured on her what she thought was water, she told police.When she realized it was gasoline, she fled the room as Holiday chased her with a lighter in his hand, police reported she said.

The woman ran to a neighbor's home and called police, they said.

Detectives today still were trying to gather additional information to take to the prosecutor's office to possibly bring charges, policesaid. Holiday remained in jail this morning.

Holiday, a former United Auto Workers employee assistance coordinatorat Delphi Saginaw Steering Systems, served on the Board of Commissioners from 1980 to 1994, including a two-year stint as chairman in 1989 and 1990.

Holiday, who is now vice president of the Saginaw Housing Commission, has taken out nominating petitions to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot forthe proposed Saginaw City Charter Commission.

Holiday has had previous brushes with the law. In January 1985, Holiday tangled with police over a confrontation witha 17-year-old man in a pool hall on East Holland. Holiday said he followed the teen there after the youth struck him in the face with asnowball earlier in the evening. Police made no arrests and prosecutors filed no charges.

Police also arrested Holiday on Sept. 1, 1990, after his wife filed a domestic violence complaint, but prosecutors did not charge him.

Dec. 21, 1990, Saginaw police arrested Holiday after receiving reportsof a shooting in the vicinity of his now-former wife's home onSheridan. A District Court jury found Holiday not guilty of maliciousdestruction of property but guilty of leaving the scene of an autocrash in which his 1988 Chevrolet van collided with another car in the driveway of his wife's home.

In 1996, he paid a $300 fine for disturbing the peace at the KFCrestaurant at Hess and Dixie in Buena Vista Township. Witnesses said adispute over parking between Holiday and another man led to theconfrontation.

Holiday unsuccessfully challenged then-state Rep. Michael J. Hanleyfor the 95th House District in the 1996 Democratic primary.

In 1998, Holiday suffered a stroke in Washington, D.C., while attending the National Association of Counties' legislativeconference. He was representing the Region VII Area Agency on Aging when he became ill.

Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence