Union Township’s Board of Trustees approved a contract with ACD.net to place cables along M-20 outside of Mount Pleasant with the stipulation of placing the cables underground.
The trustees were initially hesitant to approve the contract after the chief financial officer of the Lansing-based telecommunications company left a voice mail containing racial slurs on the phone of a Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe engineer.
However, trustees said their hands were tied when it came to going forward with the contract.
If the Township did not approve the contract that included the below-ground stipulation, the contract would have gone into default. That would have allowed ACD.net to place their cables above ground in violation of a 1992 township ordinance.
On May 20, Kirk Shewchuck left a voicemail for Donald Seal, Tribal Planning Engineer. Racial slurs and other vulgarities can be heard throughout the audio released by the Tribe.
Marcella Hadden, public relations manager for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, addressed Union’s trustees with a statement from Tribal Sub-Chief Lorna Kahgegab.
Hadden asked the board to review the contract thoroughly.
“As you know, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe has a long history of working with other companies to provide services and entertainment to mid-Michigan in a mutually respectful manner,” Hadden read from the statement. “However, as a result of ACD.net’s recent actions, our tribe will never do business with them.”
Phil Mikus, a township trustee, said their vote to work with the company is not an endorsement of their behaviors.
“We must point out that it’s not an endorsement of the conduct of those in the organization,” Mikus said.
Township Clerk Margie Henry said the board stands behind the Tribe, meanwhile, Roger Hauck, a township trustee, added that approving this contract doesn’t mean Union plans to do anymore business with the company.
“I guess the most you can do is hope no one uses them for business,” Hauck said.