November 1, 2014

Witnesses testify against former manager, plea deal in the works

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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STANDISH — Former Standish City Manager Tori Kelly appeared in Arenac County’s 81st District Court Monday for a pretrial hearing at approximately 10 a.m. on May 18.

Shortly after proceedings began, two witnesses took to the stand and testified against the former administrator. Both witnesses — Dennis Bow, former chairman of a Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA) subcommittee, and Thomas Markus, chairman of the MLGMA Experience Committee — went on record to say Kelly was not in attendance at meetings on the respective dates Nov. 1, 2007 and May 9, 2008, meetings Kelly received fuel reimbursement payments from the city, playing a part in the embezzlement charges she now faces.

“I know Tori Kelly,” Bow said. “She was not present at our final committee meeting. Only two people were in attendance.”

“[I] knew everyone there.” Markus said regarding the Experience Committee meeting. “She (Kelly) was not there.”

Markus also said the minutes presented from the May 9, 2008 meeting reflected the roll call to which she was not in attendance.

“I would have remembered (if she was there),” he said.

81st District Court Judge Allen Yenior adjourned the pretrial after Markus’ testimony.

A preliminary exam is set for July 13 at 1 p.m. However, Special Prosecutor LaDonna Schultz, Ogemaw County Prosecuting Attorney, says she is in the process of negotiating a plea agreement with Kelly and her attorney William Brisbois.

According to Yenior, if a plea agreement is reached, proceedings will continue in Arenac County’s 23rd Circuit Court unless the deal falls apart, at which time it will revert back to the July 13 hearing scheduled in district court.

Kelly is facing charges of embezzlement.

In related news, former Standish City Treasurer Melissa McAllister, who pleaded no contest to embezzlement charges on April 15 in Arenac County's 81st District Court is scheduled for sentencing on June 8. Her sentencing date was scheduled for May 18, but has been postponed.

McAllister, along with Kelly, allegedly made several illegal fund transfers and misappropriated tax dollars while working for the city.

In May 2008, the Standish City Council suspended both employees with pay and in October of last year, council officially fired both employees.

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