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Stall tactics

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Here’s the latest twist in state Sen. Ray Basham’s long-running battle to pry public information from the Board of Trustees of the Detroit Policemen and Fireman Retirement Systems: Even though he appears to be winning, Basham and the people he represents could end up losing big.

Readers of Metro Times may recall last week’s story about the Taylor Democrat’s battle to obtain retirement fund records regarding loans made to a private company that plans to dispose of up to 50 million gallons of hazardous waste in Basham’s district (“For the record,” Metro Times, July 2-8).

Birmingham-based Environmental Disposal Systems (EDS) has constructed two 4,700-foot-deep wells in Romulus. The pension board, a public body, has provided at least $12 million for the project, which Basham and many area residents oppose. They fear that the waste may contaminate drinking water.

Pension board trustees stopped turning over documents after opponents began using the information to fight the well project. In 2001, Basham sued in Wayne County Circuit Court to keep the public info flowing.

Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled last year that the Retirement Systems must turn over the records. However, Basham told us he never received the ruling or the documents.

Stephens reissued the ruling last week. However, the pension board asked that it not be forced to release the records pending an appeal, and Stephens agreed.

“An appeal could go on for a year,” says Basham, who fears that the project may be up and running before the appeal concludes.

Attorney Ronald Zajac, who represents the trustees, did not return News Hits’ calls.

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