Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier and council member Jane Verplank have filed complaints with the Saugatuck-Douglas police about former city council member Wendy Wise Fisher stalking and harassing them.
Fisher, who resigned from council March 22 after a stormy five-month tenure that included her claiming Harrier, Verplank and Mayor Bill Hess had bullied her, called the charges fraudulent.
Not so, said Harrier.
“She has followed me around downtown, taking pictures of me for months,” he said. “It’s scary and creepy.
“I want her to leave me alone,” he said.
In a May 9 email to current council members including Verplank and Hess, Fisher asked whether Harrier filed charges with their permission or took it upon himself to do so. Harrier told The Commercial Record he acted privately.
“If she has problems with my work performance, fine,” he said. “That’s a public matter. Bring it up with council.
“What she’s doing is a private issue. I want it to end,” he said.
Fisher said by email the police told her Harrier said “I show up where he is and videotape him. Yes, I do,” she conceded.
“I attend city council meetings pursuant to the Open Meetings Act … and occasionally record them on my tablet for those in the community who can’t attend,” she continued.
She denied stalking or harassing the manager, claiming instead he was threatening her.
“While as yet I have not been able to obtain a copy of the report, I can only assume these untruths are, in part, a result of a picture I took of Mr. Harrier leaving councilwoman Verplank’s home” April 28 at 4 p.m.
Harrier recalls rolling down his car window and asking Fisher if she had enough pictures of him.
“It was accidental I took his picture,” remembered Fisher. “While photographing a sculpture in a yard at the corner of Butler and Mary streets, Mr. Harrier drove his car into the frame of my picture.
“I wouldn’t have even known it was him except … he rolled down his car window and began screaming at me from across the street.
“The tone and volume along with Mr. Harrier’s belligerent demeanor quickly and clearly indicated he was attempting to engage me in a confrontation,” Fisher said.
“I am still in consultation with an attorney, but one thing is certain: I will not allow any individual or city official to impugn my reputation or bring potential harm to my business. Mr. Harrier’s false accusations have done both,” Fisher said.
“We have a complaint and are working on it,” police chief Ken Giles told The Commercial Record. “There are two sides to any story.
“We are talking to people involved and investigating. Based on the outcome, we’ll decide whether to bring charges to the prosecutor,” Giles said.