Negaunee facing lawsuit after resident accuses city of violating the Open Meetings Act

The City of Negaunee is facing a lawsuit after allegedly violating the Open Meetings Act.

Negaunee resident Kim Klein is suing the city, stating the City Council has a pattern of not allowing people to publicly speak if the council doesn’t like what they’re hearing.

At the council’s January 9th meeting, Klein read information he obtained through the Freedom on Information Act regarding City Manager Jeff Thornton’s alleged false accusations against former employees.

Klein obtained the information to show the council that Thornton should not have fired city treasurer Lisa Peterson in November.

While speaking, Klein was told by Mayor Keith LaCosse to step down, and others that made public comment were forcibly removed by police.

The complaint outlined in the lawsuit cites the limiting of speech by the Mayor, City Council, and a Negaunee City Police Officer as violations of the OMA and the plaintiff’s constitutional right of free speech and freedom to petition his government for redress.

The suit also points out a similar curtailing of free speech in regard to numerous complaints about flooding on Maas Street near the Eastwood Apostolic Church.

The lawsuit was issued on February 11th, giving the city 21 days to file an answer.