August 2004 — Township board swept from office in Republican primary by candidates opposed to the Village at Grand Traverse, a 2.4-million-square foot commercial and mixed-use development that was to include a Meijer store. Lame duck board, however, subsequently approved permit for the development, restricting the incoming board’s ability to review the site plan.
October 2004 — Concerned Citizens of Acme Township filed suit against the township to stop the Village at Grand Traverse.
November 2004 — New board took office.
January 2005 — Meijer and Village at Grand Traverse developers intervened in CCAT lawsuit, and counter-sued new township board. Meijer submitted permit application for Lautner Commons, a Meijer development adjacent to proposed Village at Grand Traverse.
June 2005 — Meijer’s attorney signed contract with public relations firm Seyferth Spaulding Tennyson Inc. and Meijer secretly funded Acme Taxpayers for Responsible Government. That group and the PR firm, directed by Meijer, worked to overturn the township’s temporary moratorium on big box stores.
July 2005 — Circuit Court judge overturned prior board’s approval of Village at Grand Traverse; developers and Meijer appealed.
August 2005 — Voters defeated temporary moratorium by 907-900 tally.
May 2006 — Meijer’s attorney signed contract with Seyferth, Spaulding, which secretly began a campaign to recall the elected township board. Meijer filed personal lawsuits against township board members. Township board approved special-use permit for Lautner Commons, with conditions.
June 2006 — Meijer filed suit in Circuit Court, stating the township’s special-use conditions were illegal and unconstitutional.
December 2006 — Township board dropped restrictions on Meijer’s hours of operation and requirement to include a brick facade in permit. Meijer declines to drop its suit.
January 2007 — Circuit Court judge ruled township board’s remaining conditions on Lautner Commons were legal. Meijer appealed.
February 2007 — Circuit Court judge threw out personal lawsuits against township officials. Township board captured 58 percent of vote to fend off recall.
April 2007 — Acme Township Treasurer Bill Boltres sued Meijer for harassment.
August 2007 — Township supervisor Bill Kurtz resigned, and cited stress from Meijer lawsuits.
September 2007 — Michigan Court of Appeals overturned circuit court decision, and ruled lame duck board’s approval of Village at Grand Traverse project was legal; also said restrictions on current board’s site plan review were illegal. Personal lawsuits against township board members were reinstated.
October 2007 — Michigan Court of Appeals found board’s conditions for Lautner Commons were legal.
November 2007 — Mediation panel recommended Meijer pay Boltres $3 million to settle his suit.
December 2007 — Meijer withdrew the last of personal lawsuits against township officials. Boltres attorney Grant Parson releases subpoenaed documents indicating Meijer’s financial involvement in recall election. Meijer paid Boltres undisclosed sum to settle lawsuit.
January 2008 — Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider asked Michigan State Police to investigate Meijer’s role in recall election. Boltres filed lawsuit against Village at Grand Traverse.
April 2008 — Circuit Court judge ruled only the Michigan Secretary of State and Attorney General can investigate campaign finance violations, ending Schneider’s probe.
May 2008 — Schneider appealed circuit court ruling. Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land ruled Meijer must pay $190,000 for illegal campaign activity in two township elections. Robert Carstens, township planning commissioner, filed a motion to overturn settlement of original lawsuit. If approved, Carstens could sue Meijer and The Village.
June 2008 — Circuit court judge granted Carstens’ motion.
August 2008 — Carstens names Meijer, the Village at Grand Traverse, and their former attorneys, Timothy Stoepker and Dickinson Wright PLLC in lawsuit. Dickinson Wright claims bias by 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip E. Rodgers, and filed motion to have him removed from case. Meijer sought emergency appeal of Rodgers’ ruling to overturn settlement. Appeal denied. Boltres’ suit returned from bankruptcy court to 13th Circuit Court.
September 2008 —Meijer sought leave to appeal Rodgers’ decision to set aside the settlement in Carstens’ case to Michigan Supreme Court. Acme Township Trustees Ron Hardin, Frank Zarafonitis, Erick Takayama, and planning commissioner Clare David join Carstens as plaintiffs.
October 2008 — Supreme Court denies Meijer’s request.
January 2009 — Circuit Court Judge James Batzer denies Dickinson Wright motion to disqualify Rodgers.
March 2009 — Meijer lawsuit halted, tentative settlement filed under seal with court.
April 2009 — Meijer and Village agree to pay Acme officials combined $1.5 million, release settlement and end lawsuit.