State Roundup

Ann Arbor

U. of Mich. agrees to pay $550,000 to ex-professor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- The University of Michigan has agreed to pay $550,000 to settle a civil lawsuit brought by a professor claiming fraud and defamation. obtained a copy of a settlement agreement in the case involving Andrei Borisov under the Freedom of Information Act and published details Tuesday.

Borisov was a non-tenured faculty member in the school's Department of Pediatrics. He sued in 2009 in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, claiming that a mentor plagiarized his research in reports to federal funding agencies involving grants worth $1.7 million.

Borisov also claimed that he was removed from projects. The school denied his claims.

The agreement prompted the university to post a public apology on its website last month calling events involving Borisov and the school "unfortunate and unintended."

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island ferry operator ending legal action

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) -- A ferry operator says it's ending legal action it brought related to a dispute over service to Mackinac (MAK'-in-aw) Island.

The Petoskey News-Review and The Detroit News report that Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry this week filed motions to dismiss a lawsuit that it filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids as well as a complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Shepler's had sued the city of Mackinac Island and a competitor, accusing them of trying to run other operators out of business. Shepler's last month received approval on a franchise agreement that lets the company continue serving the popular tourist destination.

The Public Service Commission began an investigation into the island ferries in February.

Mackinac Island sits near the Straits of Mackinac, between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.


Rep. McCotter seriously considers presidential bid

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan says he's giving serious consideration to making a run for the Republican nomination for president.

The fifth-term congressman from Livonia said Wednesday during an interview on WJR-AM in Detroit the job is attractive because it would allow him to shape the debate in Washington.

But he says the ultimate decision will be made in consultation with his wife, Rita, a registered nurse, and their three kids.

Politico reported a day earlier that McCotter would make his decision within the next two weeks.

McCotter also has been linked with a possible run for the U.S. Senate next year, but says he won't enter that race.

The 45-year-old ex-high school football star and guitar player is known for his eccentric sense of humor and independent streak.

Clinton Township

Michigan doctor accused of medical marijuana fraud

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- A doctor accused of conspiring to sell medical marijuana certificates from a clinic in the back of a Warren appliance store has had her license suspended by the state.

Lois Butler-Jackson is the first physician to have a medical license suspended in connection with Michigan's medical marijuana law, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

Attorney General Bill Schuette and state Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Steven Hilfinger announced the 50-year-old Detroit resident's suspension a day earlier, saying she violated the public health code. She has not been charged with a crime.

Butler-Jackson worked as a home care physician for Sentinel Wound Care Associates P.C. in Macomb County's Clinton Township.

Schuette and Hilfinger said an undercover investigation by Clinton Township police found Brian Deloose sold hundreds of medical marijuana registration packets with physician certificates pre-signed by Butler-Jackson for $250 each at the Safe Access Clinic. Butler-Jackson didn't conduct formal examinations or review any medical records for most of patients she certified, and she received $100 from Deloose for each new registration packet and $50 for each renewal packet sold at the appliance store, the state officials said.

Deloose, 33, has not been charged with a crime. He told the Free Press there was "no truth" to the claims made by the state.

A message seeking comment from Butler-Jackson was left by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

State officials say Butler-Jackson made between $20,000 and $30,000 from the packet sales.

"Michigan citizens deserve the highest standard of care from their physicians, and that is why we are taking this action today," Schuette said in a statement. "We simply will not stand for the criminal use of a law that was meant to help a narrow group of seriously ill individuals."

The state will hold a hearing in 10 days to determine whether Butler-Jackson's license will be permanently suspended, The Detroit News reported.


Survey: Tourists, travelers spent $17.2B in Mich.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A newly released survey has found that tourists and travelers spent an estimated $17.2 billion in Michigan last year.

That's up 14 percent from $15.1 billion in 2009. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. on Wednesday released results of the survey. The survey found $12.6 billion was spent on travel for leisure and $4.6 billion was spent on business travel.

The survey also found that spending by out-of-state visitors rose 21 percent. It says 152,600 jobs were generated by Michigan's tourism industry in 2010, up 10,000 from 2009.

The national survey was conducted by D.K. Shifflet & Associates in McLean, Va.


Lumber baron's heirs finally inherit estate

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) -- The descendants of a Saginaw lumber baron have finally received their inheritances nearly a century after the man's death -- just as he intended it.

The Saginaw News reported Tuesday that trustees for the $110 million estate of Wellington Burt distributed the money to 12 heirs by a Monday deadline.

The distribution ends a big bucks battle that began when Burt died in 1919. He stipulated the bulk of his estate would be distributed 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild, which came in 1989.

Family members twice were able to legally siphon some of the estate, and the trust's validity twice came before the state's Supreme Court.

Inheritors are three great-grandchildren, seven great-great grandchildren and two great-great-great grandchildren, ranging in age from 19 to 94.

Published: Thu, May 26, 2011