Criminal charges will stand against former Highland Park Emergency Financial Manager Art Blackwell

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the criminal charges against former Highland Park Emergency Financial Manager Art Blackwell will stand and he will go to trial.

The court's ruling came Wednesday.

Blackwell had appealed a previous July ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which had reinstated criminal charges of embezzlement and misconduct in office, after a lower court dismissed the case against him.

The original criminal charges stem from Blackwell allegedly paying himself $264,000 when he was the Emergency Financial Manager of Highland Park. He allegedly was not authorized to pay himself.

Last year, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway dismissed the criminal case, saying Blackwell had the authority to write himself checks.

But the Court of Appeals disagreed judge and sided with Wayne County Prosecutors, saying that the evidence presented was sufficient to establish probable cause that Blackwell committed the crimes.

Blackwell has maintained he had a verbal agreement with state officials to be paid $1 for the first year on the job, and then he would earn $11,000 each month thereafter.

Blackwell's attorney, Ben Gonek, says Blackwell was legitimately entitled to all the money he received and is "disappointed with the supreme court's ruling." Gonek also says his client will be exonerated at trial.



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