INKSTER, Mich. (WXYZ) - She is a local judge who rules her courtroom with an iron fist. If you don’t wear the right clothes, she might kick you out of court. And if you are late, chances are you won’t get in to see her.
Although Judge Sylvia James—Inkster’s only judge—demands everyone to follow her rules, city officials say she refuses to follow their's—going so far as to keep secret what she does with millions of tax-payer dollars.
It’s been a months-long heavyweight fight between Judge James and Inkster’s mayor, council, and treasurer. They say the judge won’t tell them how she spends $2 million of the court collects annually. They also complain that the judge has been late to turn over court proceeds to the city—making it impossible for the city council to plan the budget.
And get this; though the city denied the judge’s request for a clothing and gun allowance—Judge James paid herself $1950 with the court’s money.
But the latest dispute is over the court’s bank accounts. The judge has refused to have them audited for years. When the council voted unanimously to have the city manager and treasurer added to the accounts, she closed them and moved about a quarter of a million dollars to another bank that only Judge James can access.
Action News Investigator Bill Proctor questioned the judge about it, “The issue for some people is transparency and accountability. When you pulled that money out that seemed to go away.”
Judge James insists it can be done, “You see there is a letter from the regional court administrator that it could be done…”
Action News asked the judge if we could see review the accounts, but has yet to respond.
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