The City of Negaunee may have a lawsuit on its hands.
Former Mayor, Kimme Peterson, began picketing City Hall today with a sign reading “Housing Discrimination.” He believes a recent city statute puts an unfair burden on tenants in the area.
“They want the tenants to pay $450 utility deposit to have their water, sewer, and lights turned on. But, if you’re fortunate enough to be a homeowner, you only have to pay $250. I believe we have a housing discrimination suit here and it’s my intent to go forward,” said Peterson. “I’ve already lawyered up with Robert Juidici. I’m suing the city. I’ve asked them nicely three different times. They won’t do anything about it. I’m a one-man band right now, but I know the media’s going to cover this and I’ll get more people to join me. They’re going to fix it. They have exactly one month to fix it. If they don’t, that’s when we’re going to go forward with the suit.”
Peterson believes the $200 surcharge can hamper new renters’ financial situation when you consider the lump sum payment of the first and last months’ rent, and a security deposit. Renters can recoup the additional fee after one year if they’ve made all of their utility payments on time, but Peterson says the ordinance has caused some of his prospective renters to rethink leasing units in the city.
“I have twenty-one apartments in the City of Negaunee and I find this disgusting that they want to do this. They talk out of both sides of their mouth. They’re trying to bring business into the community and they haven’t done jack to do that. It’s the other people behind the scenes, the movers and the shakers, that are bringing business into the City of Negaunee,” Peterson added. “The Negaunee Council and it’s Manager seem to do everything that they can to oppose it.”
The Negaunee City Council meets regularly on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Next month’s meeting has not been posted on the City’s website yet.