Daily Briefs July 22

Judge wants agency to investigate Meijer lawyer for perjury
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A judge believes a lawyer committed perjury when he denied knowing anything about the role of retailer Meijer Inc. in a 2007 recall election of township officials in northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse County.

Judge Philip Rodgers said he has referred the matter involving Timothy Stoepker to the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission, a watchdog agency.

“I believe it occurred, and I have an ethical responsibility to report it,” Rodgers told the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Stoepker, an attorney at the firm Dickinson Wright in Grand Rapids, represented Meijer during a dispute over a new store in Acme Township. Voters rejected the store in 2005, and township officials were targeted for recall in 2007.

Meijer, a major Midwestern retailer based in Grand Rapids, later acknowledged illegally financing the recall effort and subsequently paid a $190,000 fine.

During a deposition in a civil lawsuit by a township official, Stoepker was asked what he knew about Meijer's role. “I have no knowledge of that at all,” he replied.

But records collected by the Grand Traverse County prosecutor show Stoepker knew about it and “was involved in it,” Rodgers told the Record-Eagle.
Stoepker’s attorney, Roger Wotila, was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

The evidence includes a statement from a public relations executive in Grand Rapids who said Stoepker was her main contact as she worked on the campaigns for Meijer.

Separately, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider has asked the Kent County prosecutor in Grand Rapids to investigate Stoepker for possible crimes related to his deposition testimony.

“We just all of a sudden got this out of the blue. We just started to look into it,” said Chris Becker, chief assistant prosecutor in Kent County.

Bloomfield Hills law firm changes name
Reiter & Walsh, P.C. is the new name of the Bloomfield Hills firm formerly known as Gregory & Reiter.

The firm, which has handled birth trauma cases exclusively since 1997, welcomed Rebecca Walsh as a partner in May, according to senior partner Jesse Reiter.

Walsh has been a trial attorney for more than 20 years, handling a number of high profile personal injury lawsuits.

The firm’s office is located in a beautifully restored historic building at 122 Concord in Bloomfield Hills. More information about the firm can be obtained at its website, www.abclawcenters.com. Pictured (l-r) are attorneys Juliana Sabatini Plastiras, Jesse Reiter, and Rebecca Walsh.