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Dearborn aldermen exchange harsh words at public meeting

Spending of park grant money is the issue

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A discussion over the spending of money being used to develop the new city park led to some harsh words between city officials at Monday night's gathering of the Dearborn Board of Aldermen.

Alderman Gary Bomar has overseen much of the park construction and related expenditures in recent months. Fellow aldermen over the past couple of meetings have begun questioning Bomar on the details of spending and the timeframe for completion of certain aspects of the project.

The discussion led to hints from fellow Alderman Bill Edwards that some residents feel like something suspicious could be going on.

Edwards questioned Bomar about city grant money being paid to a woodworking company. Edwards specifically asked about a $2,000 check written to the company, among others, and said: "Has he been making $4,000 a month (from the city)?"

Bomar answered "no." Edwards then remarked that he is aware the owner of the woodworking firm has been working at Bomar's house.

"That's where we built the benches (for the park)," Bomar said, adding that the man had also done work on his residence.

"Well that's all I need to say," Edwards stated, obviously hinting that in his opinion some members of the community are wondering if Bomar is getting personal work done via city resources. "You know how people in a small town talk."

Alderman Louis Buntin then added: "That is true. Perception is reality."

"Well, I can eliminate it," Bomar said abruptly, without specifying how he would eliminate it.

"You're about done with the benches so it's almost a moot point," Buntin said.

Edwards also at one point asked Bomar when playground equipment at the park would be done.

"When would you like it done, sir?" Bomar responded.

"As soon as possible," Edwards replied.

"Then it will be ASAP," Bomar said.

Mayor Frank Downing appeared to take a step in the direction of "cleaning up" park construction matters by appointing a five-member park board during Monday's meeting.

Those five park board members will be Karlton Nash, Lisa Pope, Donald Swanstone, Marilyn Troutman and Jimmy Schultz.

Later in the meeting, Edwards and Bomar had another terse exchange when the topic dealt with the old Interurban railroad car the city has voted to dispose of. Bomar, who earlier had said he would fight against the city's plan to scrap the car, on Monday said he wanted no part of the discussion.

"You already put yourself in the middle of it when you lied to the newspapers," Edwards said, specifically referencing a recent column in The Landmark that related emailed comments from Bomar.

Bomar had indicated to the media that he was out of town and unavailable to attend the meeting at which the board voted to dispose of the car. Edwards has indicated he believes Bomar was in town but simply failed to attend the meeting.

Bomar and Edwards, who are seated next to each other at the meeting table, then briefly exchanged heated words about the use of the word "liar," prompting Buntin to utter a disgusted "Oh, God" and Downing to pound his mayor's gavel on the table.

Interestingly, throughout the meeting Bomar declined to vote on many motions that were made without explaining his silence.

Bomar has privately hinted that perhaps his service time on the board has come to an end, but he declined the chance to comment further on the topic this week, telling The Landmark he would have nothing to say about board actions.



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