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Thursday, March 28,2013

Wood: computergate not over

City Council president says controversy over Kathie Dunbar’s computer is not resolved

by Andy Balaskovitz
Wood

Thursday, March 28 — Lansing City Council President Carol Wood said Wednesday she believes a controversy surrounding Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar’s city-issued laptop computer is not over. She will continue to seek answers.


In recent weeks, Dunbar and former Council office manager Diana Bitely gave differing public statements about events in early November involving Dunbar’s city-issued laptop computer.


When asked to bring it in for a software update on Nov. 6, Bitely said Dunbar asked her to file a false police report saying it was stolen after it was damaged during an argument between Dunbar and her husband. Dunbar denied the accusation last week. “I told her I did not want anyone to know what happened to the computer,” Dunbar said.


It is a crime to file a false police report.


In January, the City Attorney’s Office found that Dunbar had not committed a crime or an ethical violation, even if Bitely’s statement is taken as true. A prosecutor in another jurisdiction who was asked for an independent assessment concurred. One of Dunbar’s interns corroborated Dunbar’s story during the city attorney’s investigation.


But based on Bitely’s account, Wood said the issue still is not resolved.


“We have either an employee who … has not told the truth, or we have a Council member who has not told the truth. And that has to be resolved,” Wood said during a taping of “City Pulse Newsmakers.” The interview airs at 10 a.m. Sunday on WHTV-my18.


When asked if she will continue to press for a resolution, Wood said: “Yes, I believe we will.”


“The fact that you have two differing stories, we need to make sure we don’t have someone asking staff to do things that are unethical, inappropriate, or that we have people in our employment that are doing the same thing,” Wood said.


Bitely’s last day in the Council office was Wednesday. A Council staffer said she took a new job with the state, but it is unclear why Bitely left.


The interview also airs at 9 and 11:30 a.m. Sunday on Comcast Ch. 16 in Lansing and at 11:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. daily beginning Sunday on Comcast Ch. 30 in Meridian Township. It will also be available at lansingcitypulse.com beginning Monday.

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