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Saturday, May 27, 2017

THE (HALF)NAKED TRUTH: Michigan's Open Meetings Act Exempts Closed Session Meeting Minutes From Freedom Of Information Act Requests; Court Order Required For Public Disclosure

“I just feel that it’s a private matter between the board and the management company,” Noss said.
Traverse City Record-Eagle
May 27, 2017

I can't even.

Setting aside as-yet unaddressed inaccurate reporting in its May 17 article regarding the Grand Traverse Academy board's last meeting, this morning's Record-Eagle piece may have topped it.

And the biggest whopper wasn't even delivered by Full Spectrum Management's Mark Noss, who described his management contract with a publicly-funded entity in this covert manner: “I just feel that it’s a private matter between the board and the management company”

Shhh! Don't reveal a word.

No, the biggest whopper was delivered by treasurer Samer Bourdkani, belying his ignorance of the law, in this case Michigan's Open Meetings Act.

Bourdkani said the results of the board's review of Full Spectrum Management would “eventually become public anyway”, although minutes of yesterday's closed session are exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

While it's true the board's review of Full Spectrum Management is subject to FOIA, the report's formal submission deadline is June 30, 2017, making any meaningful analysis by the public months away.

In addition, according to Michigan's Open Meetings act, minutes of closed sessions are kept for at least one year and one day following the regular meeting at which the closed session was approved, and longer if it is the subject of current litigation. 

These notes are not available to the public, and may only be disclosed if required by court order in a civil action filed in accordance with MCL 15.270, 15.271 or 15.273. 

Michigan Open Meetings Act Opinion No. 6353 provides that disclosure may not be made even if the person requesting the closed session, in this case, Mark Noss, subsequently waives or withdraws the request and consents to disclosure. 

Without minutes from the closed session, the public will never really know what was discussed, and if any deals were cut between Noss and the board.

But Bourdkani went further, sounding like a cartoon mafioso: “Some of the leadership here has asked the question and they deserve to know but on the other hand, I don’t want to air out anything that doesn’t need to be aired out. We can work it out between us,” Bourdkani said. 

In other words, dobbiamo tenerla in famiglia.

Omertà on Grand Traverse Bay, or just another cover-up?


  1. Sounds like it's getting really interesting as to what the future of the GTA and its board (if you can call it that instead of Noss's money and IVL team) will be. Maybe they're also wondering what to do and how to 'explain' all the past irregularities to the Michigan Attorney General and the State Board of Education? A secret strategy and how-to-cover-up meeting.

  2. The very fact Mark Noss feels the need to keep conversations "private" and the majority of the board supports this screams out that there are some very large secrets and dirty pool is going on. At this point there is nothing to hide. The corruption, lies and thievery have all been exposed thanks to you Miss Fortune.

    1. Although I've revealed information on this blog, making the public aware of the "secrets and dirty pool", the local newspaper is aiding the cover-up by not correcting its own misleading reporting.

    2. Bravo, Miss Fortune, for your diligence and bravery. The public is lucky to have someone like you to expose all this corruption. We applaud you!

  3. If TCAPS tried to pull this, the R-E would be all over them.

  4. It really is a terrible terrible situation that needs to be rectified. Time to sing like a canary and stop Noss from controlling the board members. Since the state is investigating this, it is all just a matter of time before the story opens wide up. Which side of the law are the board members going to be on? Noss or Ingersoll won't save you, they'll just blackmail you. Let the choir begin, better protect yourself.

  5. When does Noss join Ingersoll in prison? Should be him and several board members joining him soon. It will be fun to watch them join Ingersoll who repeatedly stated he would not go to prison.