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Highland Park mayor claims corruption tainted several city council elections

Posted at 9:56 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 21:56:43-04

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — At a press conference, the mayor of Highland Park passed out a stack of documents that contain what he said is evidence of corruption in city government tied to campaign finance violations.

“We have a process in our city for getting on the ballot. That process has been violated," Mayor Hubert Yopp told news media.

He's accusing City Council President Rodney Patrick of lying when he signed an affidavit to get onto the ballot during several election years.

Yopp said Patrick owed campaign-related funds and that the debt disqualified him from signing up to be on the ballot in the first place.

“He affirmed that he had paid the debts, he didn’t owe the county, didn’t owe taxes, he didn’t owe anybody. He lied," Yopp said.

Last year, the mayor had a city police lieutenant investigate and submit a warrant request to the state attorney general. However, Yopp said the state AG declined to take on the case.

This afternoon, the mayor also called out City Clerk Brenda Green. He claims she ultimately signed off on the affidavits when she shouldn't have.

“In my opinion, she’s placing who she thinks should be in those positions," Yopp said.

Tuesday was the deadline to get on the 2022 ballot. Yopp said that's also when Patrick paid off the $9,000 debt.

Patrick told 7 Action News that part is true.

In a phone interview, Patrick said the money covered filing fees and fines.

"What I should've did after the last campaign was dissolve my campaign committee. I did not do that, and so I missed some filing deadlines and there’s fees attached to that," he explained.

Patrick said the most recent document in question, the one he signed for the 2022 ballot, had "ambiguous" language.

“I did file. Upon further review, and I got some advice... what I did was to… withdrew from that filing. I did withdraw," he said.

As mentioned, Patrick then paid the $9,000 debt and is now on the ballot for re-election.

As for the mayor’s accusation regarding the 2019 documents, Patrick said, “(Yopp) colluded with a former candidate and they both, um, went through the judicial process and that case was thrown out.”

"There is a bit of a history here, unfortunately. The mayor of Highland Park has decided to for the last three and a half years, four years to attack me and my family on a regular basis," the councilman claimed..

7 Action News spoke with the city clerk in person. She didn’t want to go on camera but said, “I’m following the law. I don’t know what law (the mayor) is following.”