HOLLAND, MI (WHTC) - The ball is back in the Holland City Hall’s court.
The state Court of Appeals yesterday overturned an Ottawa County Circuit Court decision that upheld the city’s dismissal of Jenifer French on allegations of tax fraud. The 17-year municipal employee had her six-year run as clerk end in May of 2006 when it was revealed that she had filed a homestead tax exemption for a South Shore Drive residence at the same time that her husband did for a house in Douglas, and that she had registered to vote in Holland while living in Douglas. French claimed that she and her husband had filed separate tax returns and that she lived in the Holland home “for significant periods,” as there is an ordinance that elected city officials live within the city limits.
The appellate court ordered the city to reinstate French with back pay. City Council members met with attorney Andrew Mulder for about 20 minutes behind closed doors before last night’s meeting, and while no action was immediately taken, Mayor Kurt Dykstra spoke for his colleagues in calling the appeals court ruling “absurd” in a prepared statement during the meeting. The city has until July 31st to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court.