Breaking news … Councilmember is not a ‘defaulter’

Councilmember Saad Almasmari

By Charles Sercombe
Just before going to press on Thursday we heard word that an opinion had been reached regarding the fate of City Councilmember Saad Almasmari.
A complaint had been filed against him, claiming that since he owed the city money at the time he filed for re-election, he was a “defaulter” according to the city charter.
And because of that, he should be disqualified from running.
Well, long story made short, an outside attorney hired by the city to look into the issue has opined that the only time an elected official or candidate is in default is when the ballots of an election are counted.
If the candidate owes the city, or any other government entity, money at that time, they are a defaulter and are disqualified.
So, Almasmari and all the other candidates lined up for the August Primary Election better make sure they have all their bills paid up by election day.
May 31, 2019

8 Responses to Breaking news … Councilmember is not a ‘defaulter’

  1. Nasr Hussain

    May 31, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Still, what constitutes a default, according to the charter is still not clear.

    City council should adopt a resolution stating the time frame that constitutes a default on payment for all city water and tax bills and act upon it in future cases.

    Most basic contracts state the number of days from nonpayment where you will be considered a defaulter but our charter doesn’t.

  2. Roadman

    May 31, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Does the Review have a copy of Butch Hollowell’s legal opinion – or perhaps a public statement from city official summarizing such an opinion?

    Also, was an opinion issued on the matter of problems that Carrie Beth Lasley alleged with Saad’s Affidavit of Identity?

  3. csercombe

    May 31, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    it’s in a pdf and I can’t import it here. and it won’t let me copy and past. give me a legitimate email and I will send it to you “roadman.”

  4. Dennis Nowak

    June 1, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    “……in default when the ballots of AN election are counted.”

    Now the next argument is do candidates need to have cured any “defaults” by the August primary election- or can they wait until November if they are a primary winner?

    Also, if a candidate has an unpaid and overdue $10.00 parking violation fine from Paw Paw or any other municipality he/she is technically a “defaulter” under the strict wording of the City Charter.

  5. Alberto romero

    June 1, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    How absolutely ridiculous. So you can be in default leading up to election day and then immediately after and while you serve as a council person, but just not on that one day when the votes are counted. This whole situation stinks to high heavens.

  6. Dennis Nowak

    June 2, 2019 at 1:56 pm


    Agreed. however that is the wording contained in the City Charter.

    Worse, the situation you describe is actually happening and has happened in the not too distant past.

    Councilpersons Hassan and Karpinski have had documented water bills in arrears for their residences while they sat on City Council.These have been reported in the Review.

  7. Nasr Hussain

    June 2, 2019 at 2:18 pm


    1) By November, because they haven’t been elected to the office yet. They have been only selected be placed on the ballot.

    2) Technically yes, provided that this city has a clear definition of when a “default” occurs. If none is provided, you can still pay the fine and continue in your position.

    E.g: You are in default on most federal student loans if you fail to make payments for nine months.

  8. Nasr Hussain

    June 2, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Apparently before default there is a delinquency

    If you miss a payment on your student loans, you’re considered delinquent. Even being a few days late technically means you’re in delinquency. Default occurs when you remain in delinquency for a set period of time. This usually happens when you’re delinquent for more than 270 days.

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