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Port Huron resident accuses city manager of inappropriate behavior; Freed denies charges

By Jim Bloch

A resident accused City Manager James Freed with inappropriate behavior toward a woman employed by the city.

Kevin Lindke, addressing Mayor Pauline Repp and the city council at its Jan. 9 regular meeting, said that Freed had asked the woman out for drinks.

Lindke read from what he said was a police report in which a woman claimed Freed had asked her out for drinks.

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“James Freed is married,” said Lindke , as heard on the recording of the meeting posted on the city’s website. “He’s the city manager. (The woman) was an employee of the city. A city manager asking out a subordinate for drinks is highly inappropriate.”

Lindke read a second passage from the report in which a man hypothesizes that the woman is dating Freed.

“So that’s twice your name was in that police report,” Lindke said to Freed. “There’s a 150,000 people in the county. We’ll say half of those are males. How come my name wasn’t in there? How come (City Attorney) Mr. Shoudy’s name wasn’t in there? … It’s time for this city council to address this issue. (Freed) is a liability to the city. Sooner or later one of these women is going to come forward with their complaints about him and they’re going to sue the city. Then all of our tax money is going to have to pay his settlement for his behavior.”

Lindke spoke during the “public comment” portion of the agenda, in which citizens have four minutes to address the council. Typically, the council members do not respond to public comments. But Freed and Repp addressed Lindke ‘s accusations.

“First and foremost, I want to take a moment to say that statements made about me tonight are false,” Freed said. “I never had or pursued a relationship with any member of my staff. The police report, which was quoted from, states that. Additionally, our city attorney has secured additional documentation that shows that is a false accusation.”

“City council has looked into the allegations that were made against him by the speaker and both the employee and Mr. Freed have sworn statements in their personnel files that nothing ever went on,” said Mayor Repp. “The city council has been apprised of that and we are confident that is the case.”

“What about the other allegations I put forward?” asked Lindke from the audience.

“We are not going back and forth,” said Repp.

Lindke had said that Mayor Repp had him removed by police from the May 23, 2022 council meeting “illegally and unlawfully” when he tried to bring up the matter.

“Chief Kerrigan put his hands all over me and took my cell phone out of my hand and told me my show is over, which I’m pretty sure violates department policy,” Lindke said, suggesting he might file a lawsuit over his removal.

He accused Freed, Repp, Mayor Pro Tem Sherri Archibald and council member James Pemberton of being “bad people.” He urged the other council members to ask the necessary tough questions of their fellow members and Freed.

“Everybody in the city knows how he acts,” said Lindke . “They all watch him go out, get hammered and act completely inappropriate and not like a married man.”

Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at bloch.jim@gmail.com.

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