PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) - Judge Rae Lee Chabot's courthouse attendance is under review by her boss, Oakland County Circuit Court Chief Judge Nanci Grant, Action News has learned.
The decision was made within hours of Channel 7's investigation Tuesday night that showed Chabot frequently arriving late to work, leaving early around Noon, taking lunches as long as three hours, and sometimes not coming into work at all.
For five weeks starting in March, we watched Chabot to see if we could confirm what a half-dozen courthouse insiders told us had been happening for years: that Chabot often spent little time inside the county’s courthouse.
And it didn’t take long for us to see her arriving late, leaving early around Noon, sometimes taking long lunches, like this one at the Red Coat Tavern that took three full hours. She often ran errands, like this one in the middle of the day that took her to the Gap. That’s her leaving the UPS store. On some days, she didn’t show up to work at all, opting instead to spend the day at home, or on this day, Andiamo Restaurant in Bloomfield Hills.
The scrutiny could escalate if a grievance is filed with the state’s Judicial Tenure Commission, who reviews complaints about judges. It’s unclear on what grounds a grievance could be filed, but one source who served on the commission said Chabot’s conduct could conflict with this portion of the judicial code. It requires judges to “dispose promptly of the business of the court.”
And the court has plenty of business: at Oakland Circuit, a recent report found that the court needs three more judges than it currently has. It’s already using the services of a visiting judge to try to keep up, but still needs more help.
And this isn’t the first Oakland Circuit judge suspected of playing hooky during the work day. Back in 2006, Judge Deborah Tyner resigned after she was found to be leaving work early, much like Chabot, to run personal errands.
It’s not clear how broad Judge Grant’s review of Chabot’s work habits will be, but we know she’s aware of how Chabot spent at least part of one day where she never showed up at work. Remember that lunch at Andiamo restaurant? Both Chabot and Grant shared a table for three. The lunch ran about an hour and forty minutes before breaking up. Judge Grant returned to work.
Judge Chabot did not.
We could not reach Chabot for comment today; we’re told she’s at a judicial conference. But in our earlier report, she insisted she is just as productive as other judges when it comes to resolving cases, and that she follows all court rules.
If you have a tip for the Action News Investigative Team, contact us at (248) 827-9466 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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