Who Deserves Candy Cane or Coal This Year?
Santa has kept a vigilant eye on metro Detroit all year, and he’s made a list and checked it twice. Here’s his local roster of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice
A CANDY CANE TO...
• Gov. Rick Snyder, for promoting wellness through healthful diet, regular exercise, annual physicals, and avoiding tobacco use. He suggested tracking body-mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol level, and blood-sugar level.
• Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, for putting on such a good show.
• General Motors, for investing $328 million to prepare its Flint plant for building the next generation of Chevrolet and GMC full-size pickup trucks, creating or retaining 150 jobs.
• Maserati, for building cars in Detroit.
• Tigers Manager Jim Leyland, for criticizing MLB’s inter-league play.
• Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, for his fleet feet and Super Glue catches.
• Crêpe entrepreneur Torya Blanchard (Good Girls Go to Paris), for continued entrepreneurship. Her latest plan: Rodin Bar & Lounge, also in the Park Shelton.
• Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” ads.
• J.S. Fields Pub & Grill manager Joe Nahhas, who told police a patron in his Ford Road establishment was bragging about planning to blow up a Dearborn mosque. Police nabbed the suspect, Roger Stockham of California.
• Lions coach Jim Schwartz, for whipping his players into shape and restoring pride in a team many had given up on.
• Dan Gilbert, for buying and rehabbing the Madison Building, the City National Building, Chase Tower, and Lane Bryant and Arts League structures downtown.
• Former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov, for donating half the cost of a $30,000 bed needed for a local boy (Nick Torrance) with a degenerative-muscle disease.
• The DIA, for its Inside/Out program, bringing reproductions of paintings to the outdoors in various metro Detroit communities.
• Wally Senkow and another truck driver who pulled Detroit Police Sgt. Lemuel Wilson from his patrol car after it crashed on 1-96 and caught fire. (Coal: To Wilson, who was determined to be drunk at the time.)
• Quicken Loans, Compuware, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Strategic Staffing Solutions, and DTE Energy for offering financial incentives to live downtown and in surrounding areas as part of the Live Downtown program. And to Henry Ford Health System, WSU, and DMC for offering incentives for employees to live in Midtown as part of the Live Midtown program.
• To Compuware, in partnership with the City of Detroit, for planting the Lafayette Greens community garden on the site of the former Lafayette Building downtown.
A LUMP OF COAL TO...
• Detroit gallery owner Sherry Washington, for defrauding Detroit Public Schools and, therefore, children.
• To Shawn Weimer, the Brownstown Township resident who allowed his 9-year-old daughter to take the wheel because he was inebriated.
• Derrick Miller, former Kwame Kilpatrick aide, for accepting $115,000 from a real-estate broker in connection with the lease/sale of city properties.
• Gov. Rick Snyder, who decimated brownfield and historic-redevelopment tax credits, which are the lifeblood of Detroit’s comeback effort. Also: For capping the Michigan film incentives, a source of prestige, excitement, and jobs.
• Detroit Public Library officials, for racking up a tome of a tab ($2.3 million) for the renovation of the Main Library’s South Wing. Extra lumps for hiring a Chicago architectural firm to oversee and design the work. All this while workers were fearing pink slips and branch closures.
• Warren Mayor Jim Fouts. In refusing to divulge his age (he is a public figure), he didn’t fight ageism; he made silver years seem shameful.
• The elusive owner(s) of downtown Detroit’s 1926 Renaissance Revival-style Wurlitzer Building for making empty promises of improvement that, instead, devolved into years of decay to the point of falling pieces endangering passing pedestrians.
• Detroit’s Public Lighting Department, for blackouts.
• Robert Ficano, who presided over the payment of golden parachutes and apparent boom-era style spending during a time of layoffs and pay cuts.
• Turkia Mullin, for initially accepting a $200,000 severance from Wayne County when she resigned to take another quasi-county job. Sounding like a L’Oreal ad when she initially said, “I’m worth it,” she returned the windfall, only to find herself fired from her new job as Metro Airport director for issues related to the earlier firestorm.
• To Edward May, a 75-year-old from Lake Orion whose Ponzi scheme caused many investors to be bilked out of millions, proving that greed knows no age boundaries.
• To Elena Ford, for driving drunk with her 11-year-old child in the vehicle. Her SUV jumped a curb in Ferndale, then she failed a sobriety test before being arrested. She was charged with OWI and child endangerment.
• Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, for drinking and driving in Fort Pierce, Fla., last February and reportedly saying to one of the arresting officers: “F--- you. Do you know who I am?”
• Metro Detroit native Chris Hansen (formerly of WDIV), who made a national name for himself on Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” segments by practicing “gotcha!” journalism. He got a taste of his own technique when The National Enquirer caught the married correspondent in an apparently compromising situation with a Florida anchorwoman via hidden camera.
• The camper who lost his 5-foot-long pet boa constrictor named Houdini last June at Oakland County’s Addison Oaks Park.
• City of Detroit Parking Enforcement, for issuing expired-meter tickets until 10 p.m.
• Michael G. Kelly, who, according to published reports, owns more Detroit properties than any other private landowner. Reports said Kelly owes $100,000 for 139 blight violations.