Just a few minutes east of Ann Arbor, two brothers and their businesses have received national attention after they were allegedly targeted for harassment by Canton Township officials. The brothers were fined $450,000 last year by Canton Township for removing trees from their property without permission.
The brothers publicly complained about the ordinance and the fine. And that is when the harassment of them and their businesses began, according to a lawsuit.
Watchdog.org (now known as Center Square) published accounts of the brothers and their criticism of the ordinance and their fine. Their story on the website began to garner national attention.
The lawsuit against Canton Township alleges that city officials began a campaign of harassment and retaliation against the brothers for the negative attention generated by their complaints and challenge to the tree removal ordinance. The suit claims the township targeted the brothers’ other businesses on matters unrelated to the tree removal issue.
According to the lawsuit, the township filed environmental complaints and repeatedly sent inspectors to the brothers’ trucking business. The inspectors stated that three buildings that the brothers own did not have proper occupancy certification, though the brothers say the buildings have been in constant use for 25 years.
The brothers say their buildings passed all inspections over that time and regardless, they were never previously informed that the properties lacked needed permits.
We do not know how the lawsuit will be resolved, but we do know that business owners often find themselves in disputes with other companies, individuals or government entities. An attorney experienced in business litigation can help you resolve the disputes so that you can focus on your commercial endeavors.