DEARBORN HEIGHTS — An allegation that more than $1 million has gone missing over the years from the city’s Public, Educational and Governmental fund, according to some Dearborn City Council members, has been answered by Mayor Dan Paletko.
Councilman Ray Muscat raised the question during a Council study session recently, saying PEG funds that were supposed to be restricted may have been inappropriately spent for seven years while they were lumped together with transportation.
The city’s Public, Educational and Governmental fund is set up to be used specifically for special television channels, Muscat said.
The funds usually appear on residents’ cable bills and and are restricted to being used for equipment and facility upgrades for the filming of events broadcasted on PEG channels.
Paletko said allegations of missing or misused money are unfounded, saying that the request was a “political event that was uncalled for,” according to news reports.
“We now have an answer,” Paletko said. “Mr. Neil Lehto was the attorney who assisted Dearborn Heights in writing the cable contracts. He explained to me that what was being read was being misunderstood.”
Paletko said the state legislature passed an act that allowed PEG and other fees to be used for equipment and operations.
He called Muscat’s question a good one, but added that the media fallout from the situation was “slander in its worst degree” and “so wrong.”
Councilman Bill Bazzi called for a forensic audit of the city finances to be completed by a third party, which was approved in a 5-2 vote at the February 26 City Council meeting, with Councilmen Dave Abdallah and Bob Constan voting against the proposal.