Former Plymouth Township official receives reduced sentence
Mar. 14, 2019 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Michael Mitchell, former Plymouth Township Director of Parks and Grants, was sentenced today to 2-years probation and 250 hours of community service in the U.S.District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, by Judge Terrence Berg.
Mitchell was charged with one count of theft from a local government receiving federal assistance. The charges could carry up to a 10-year prison term and a $250,000 fine. He was accused of stealing township property, including a John Deere Gator utility vehicle and other items of landscaping equipment. The value of the stolen items, discovered during a warrant search of Mitchell’s Livonia home was estimated at $10,000.
Informed sources said because the charges were filed in what is known as “information,” which is an indicator Mitchell cooperated with law enforcement and had negotiated a plea deal in exchange for the information, he was not likely to face a 10-year prison term nor a $250,000 fine, but the reduced sentence imposed today.
Mitchell was arraigned Aug. 29, 2017 before Judge Terrence Berg in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. Mitchell entered a plea of guilty.
“This is a sad day in the history of Plymouth Township. We’re on a much better pathway with managerial oversight and the proper checks and balances in place ,” said Police Chief Tom Tiderington.
Tiderington said he felt Mitchell’s sentencing was proper considering there was no financial loss to the township as all the stolen property was recovered.
According to the FBI, charges filed against Mitchell were reportedly the result of a wide-ranging and on-going bribery and public corruption investigation centered in Macomb County involving convicted trash contractor Chuck Rizzo of Rizzo Environmental and other municipal contractors.
Mitchell was a political appointee and colleague of former Wayne County Commissioner and Plymouth Township Supervisor Shannon Price. Price created the $63,277 Plymouth Township position for Mitchell immediately after his appointment to supervisor in 2016. The hiring of Mitchell was publicly criticized for what many described as a patronage job and political favor. Mitchell served as chairman of the 11thDistrict Republican Party and is a well-known political party operative.
Township Supervisor Kurt Heise who confirmed Mitchell’s sentencing, said in a release, “Shannon Price’s Recreation Director Mike Mitchell was sentenced today to 2-years probation and 250 hours of community service in U.S. Federal Court for stealing from our taxpayers. Thanks to our police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice for their help in closing this sad chapter in township history. Fortunately the voters in 2016 elected new, competent officials who are leading with integrity. Plymouth Township is on the right track-stronger, safer, and working smarter than ever before.”
Photo: © Don Howard / Associated Newspapers