OTSEGO, Mich. (WOOD) — A city commissioner resigned Wednesday after city leaders accused him of using his position to buy land the city was trying to purchase for a park.
Commissioner Nick Breedveld was part of an executive session in March during which the commission agreed to let the city manager pursue buying the land near the Kalamazoo River.
The city agreed to buy the 5 acres at the end of Mitchell Street for $11,000.
City Manager Aaron Mitchell said he was in the process of buying the land when he learned last month that Breedveld, a local real estate agent, had just beat the city to it.
“It was the same commissioner that was inside that meeting and wanted me to pursue this piece of property for the city,” the city manager said.
The city plans to let the EPA use the land for more access to the Kalamazoo River for environmental cleanup. The city then could use it for a boat launch and park, Mitchell said.
Records show Breedveld bought the land on April 16 for $11,000 — the same price the city had agreed to pay for it.
The city manager said he didn’t learn about the commissioner’s deal until the assessor showed him the paperwork.
“I asked him (the assessor) four times to stop joking around because it was unbelievable, and then when we actually saw it (the paperwork), I was in shock,” Mitchell said.
The city manager said he called Breedveld, who told him he had no particular plans for the property.
The city commission voted on Monday to file a civil lawsuit against Breedveld. Breedveld was at the meeting and voted against the lawsuit, the city manager said.
Breedveld’s resignation also included an agreement to sell the land to the city for the original $11,000 price, according to the city manager.
Breedveld, who works at the Plainwell Jaqua Realtors office, office could not be reached for comment.