WHAT’S IN THE WATER
In more “bad behavior by Bloomfield Township candidates” news, Don Valente. a retired attorney, won a spot for township trustee on the Republican ballot on the August 4 primary. While he participated in a candidate forum with Bloomfield Hills High School students – he failed to answer our Primary Guide questions, instead venting hatred for current supervisor Leo Savoie, who lost his bid for re-election – where he said, “I am seeking a position as a trustee because I believe a trustee is someone who must be trusted.” He nonetheless had sticky fingers for campaign signs in the township for candidates he didn’t agree with – like Savoie, treasurer Brian Kepes, Republican clerk candidate Tom Smyly, trustee Neil Barnett, and a couple others. Not just a few signs – township police caught him on surveillance cameras, following a citizen tip, stealing a fistful of signs – word is between 50 and 60 election signs were found in plain view leaning against the outside of Valente’s garage. The case was referred to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, which confirmed they had sent the case to the prosecutor’s office to review for a possible arrest warrant. While there are sign thefts every election, it’s actually a crime in all 50 states. Stealing or defacing a sign in Michigan is a misdemeanor that can carry a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or imprisonment of up to 90 days in jail. And it’s not good for a political career. Just ask former Bloomfield Hills commissioner Stuart Sherr, also an attorney, who pled no contest in September 2019 to a misdemeanor theft charge and was sentenced to community service and fines to the theft of campaign signs in November of 2018 that belonged to a Bloomfield Hills School Board candidate.