Otsego won’t sue; Breedveld steps down over land deal
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note the special meeting Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day).
Before Otsego filed its lawsuit against Nick Breedveld, the city commissioner resigned Wednesday morning.
As part of a settlement agreement and release, Breedveld also agreed to sell the vacant land he’d recently purchased to the city for the same price he paid for it, $11,000. In return, the city will not pursue its litigation over the matter.
At their Monday, May 20, meeting, city commissioners voted 4-1 to sue Breedveld for taking advantage of his elected position and buying property the city was pursuing, a 5-acre vacant lot at the end of Mitchell Street. The civil complaint their attorney had prepared for them alleged Breedveld was in the confidential meeting in March at which the commission decided to seek the property—and then purchased it a month later while the city prepared its purchase agreement.
Breedveld dissented in the vote.
He and wife Karin Breedveld, both named in the proposed suit, met with city officials Tuesday afternoon, but city manager Aaron Mitchell declined to comment on it before Union Enterprise went to press Tuesday evening. Breedveld declined to comment at the meeting and this morning.
Today, however, Mitchell said the settlement had been signed by Mayor Cindi Trobeck and Breedveld.
“His resignation is effective immediately,” Mitchell said. “We’re purchasing the property and moving on.
“At the next meeting, the agreement will be formally approved by the city commission. Then we’ll begin the process of finding a new city commissioner.”
Commissioners decided later in the week to schedule a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday May 27, to formally accept Breedveld's resignation and sign the paperwork for the property. The annual holiday parade begins at 9:30 a.m. at Mountain Home Cemetery. It ends at Memorial Park, where there is a ceremony.
Since the property is near the city’s defunct hydroelectric dam, Otsego officials sought it to have available for any future dam removal projects. In recent years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has needed land near its Superfund cleanups along the Kalamazoo River to use as staging areas.
Later, the city hopes to use it to extend the riverwalk east to Brookside Park and possibly even Plainwell’s riverside trails. Planning designs show the city wants to put in a kayak and canoe launch there as well.
Contact Ryan Lewis at email@example.com or (269) 673-5534.
Editor's note: This story has been modified to include information about the special meeting planned for Memorial Day morning.