Show cause hearing May 10 in circuit court
By ZEINAB NAJM
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny granted a temporary restraining order to Mayor Rick Sollars May 3, putting his name back on the city’s primary election ballot.
The Taylor Election Commission followed the order to place Sollars on the ballot. According to the city’s website, the three-person commission is comprised of Sollars, City Clerk Cynthia Bower and City Council Chairman Tim Woolley.
A show cause hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. May 10 in front of Kenny, who is expected to decide if Bower made the accurate decision when she declared Sollars ineligible to appear on the Aug. 3 primary election ballot.
The decision by Bower was made April 23 after she reviewed a legal challenge filed by attorney Andrew Paterson on the behalf City Council candidate Martin Drouillard.
Paterson said Drouillard is challenging the certification of Sollars as a candidate in the upcoming August primary election.
According to the Detroit News, Sollars became ineligible for failure to file campaign finance reports and pay thousands in late fees. Bower told the News that she investigated the challenge and that she must protect the integrity of the election.
In the challenge, it says that Sollars filed his affidavit of identity along with nominating petitions with the clerk to qualify as a candidate for the office of mayor. Sollars also owes the $2,500 in late filing fees, according to the Wayne County Clerk’s Campaign Finance System and also failed to file at least seven campaign finance reports under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.
The fees owed to the Wayne County Clerk are from 2019 and 2020 with the unfilled finance reports which are from 2018 to 2020.
The candidates listed for mayor on the city’s website are state Rep. Alex Garza (D-12th District), Jeff Jones and Woolley.
If Kenny rules in Sollars’ favor, he will be the fourth candidate. Sollars is seeking his third four-year term as mayor.
According to the clerk’s website, each candidate was required to submit a nominating petition including at least 150 signatures to the clerk by 4 p.m. April 20. The requirements also included an affidavit of identity and a statement of candidacy.
Qualifications are that the candidate has to be 18, a registered voter and be a resident of the city for at least one year.
Currently, Sollars is facing a federal bribery and wire fraud lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. In December 2019, a 33-count indictment charged Sollars, businessman Shady Awad and Taylor Community Development Manager Jeffrey Baum for conspiracy to commit bribery in a scheme spanning from 2015 to 2019.
Sollars pleaded not guilty. Also, the indictment charged Sollars and Awad with seven counts of bribery each, and charged Sollars and Baum with 18 counts of wire fraud.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])