You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 10:32 a.m.

Nader Nassif resigns from Ann Arbor DDA board following sexual assault allegations

By Ryan J. Stanton

Nader Nassif, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board member charged with sexual assault, has resigned, Mayor John Hieftje confirmed on Friday.

Hieftje said he plans to nominate someone to replace Nassif on the DDA board at the council's next meeting. He nominated Rishi Narayan, co-owner of Underground Printing, to replace outgoing board member Leah Gunn at the council's meeting Thursday night.


Nader Nassif

Courtesy of WCSO

Additionally, Hieftje will be nominating someone to fill the shoes of outgoing DDA board member Newcombe Clark, who is leaving to take a job in Chicago.

Hieftje said he wants to make sure all downtown business associations are represented and he's looking for someone from the Main Street area. He also wants to appoint someone to represent one of Ann Arbor's fastest-growing employment sectors.

"I'm talking to people who are software engineers and entrepreneurs because that's a growing segment in the downtown — people in the computer software business," he said.

As the city continues to see an expanding downtown tech hub, Hieftje said, it would be beneficial to have someone from that arena bring their perspective to the DDA board table.

Nassif was arrested July 31 in the 200 block of South Fourth Avenue. The warrant lists him as residing on that block.

Police confirmed the victim was a female over 18 and the two were acquainted. The warrant indicates the victim was "mentally incapacitated" at the time of the alleged crime.

Nassif's attorney, Joe Simon, declined to comment on the case this week.

Nassif is a criminal defense attorney and was a member of the Ann Arbor DDA since 2011. He is a partner with Model Cities Legal Services, with which the city contracts to provide legal representation to indigent persons charged with misdemeanor offenses in 15th District Court.

"I'm extremely disappointed that this happened — it's a tragic situation for everyone involved," Hieftje said of the alleged sexual assault.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

I will miss Newcombe :(


Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

I think if the Mayor wants to nominate people from fast-growing sectors of the local downtown economy, he needs to appoint one of the headshop owners from one of the smoke shops...pronto!


Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 10:52 a.m.

Not surprising, I guess.

The Eyes of Justice Team

Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 5 a.m.

Who is the mayor going to have cocktails with now????


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Removed another one of my non-violating posts I see. It directly addressed one of the mayor's comments. Weekend moderator?


Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

They do, and they are not even local. They are a farmed out Canada.

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

Funny how comments remain for hours on friday, and are okay by the friday mods. Then the weekend crew removes them. Wonder if they get paid for each removed comment?


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:25 a.m.

"I'm extremely disappointed that this happened — it's a tragic situation for everyone involved," Hieftje said of the alleged sexual assault. No, if the alleged sexual assault is determined to have occurred, it is not tragic for everyone involved. It is extremely tragic for the victim, not the perpetrator. Really, Mr., Mayor, feeling sorry for the perpetrator is a part of the problem. Also, being disappointed? How about being shocked? disgusted? angry? What is the world is wrong with these people?


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

Hizzoner cares more about his friends than he does about their victims.

Michigan Man

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 11:25 p.m.

One less democrat in an official public service capacity to wage war on women in Ann Arbor is always a really good thing!


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

Only "democrats" wage war on women?........ Very interesting! Suggest that you just might check out some of the "republican" behavior in Washington! LOL


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

If the true characted of the mayor is to say it is a tragic situation for everyone involved, then he needs to make amends to the other victims who were fired, under his watch, from 15th District Court. Words are a lot of hot air, to really make amends is being a real man or woman.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

Remember Brian Banks!!!!!!

The Infinite Jester

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

What was his plea?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

I guess on the up side of this, it's good our mayor does not work at a sexual assault crisis center providing support to victims. His comments if quoted accurately and in full are insensitive at best. If he is trying to say the community is harmed when people who have a connection to the mayor continue to steer the city planning with no real oversight, I agree fully.

Widow Wadman

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

I agree. He should have said nothing or simply stated that Mr. Nassif had resigned.

Elijah Shalis

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

I was a client of Mr Nassif. He did a good job. We also went to Cooley Law School around the same time. I never saw this coming.

Elijah Shalis

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 11:08 p.m.

a2citizen good for you. You might when it comes to estate planning later on in life if your smart.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

I've never needed a lawyer.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

The Mayor needs to involve Council in the discussion this time. The era of appointing his friends and political puppets is over.

The Eyes of Justice Team

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

Yes he does!

Colorado Sun

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Agreed. The Ray Detter and Eric Sturgis fiascos are the best examples of why the Mayor's apppointments should not be rubber-stamped. Also, Alan, everyone was wondering where you were for the Jack Eaton victory party?

David Cahill

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

Ryan, according to the warrant, when and where did the alleged offense occurred?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

C'mon, really. What does it matter?

John Counts

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

That would be listed in the complaint, which would be in the court record, which is still not accessible at the courthouse. I checked this morning. It is common for records to take a few days/a week -- sometimes longer -- to appear at the record's office as the file winds its way from different courthouses to judge's office, etc.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

Could we maybe just do with one less DDA board member?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

What would it hurt?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

What would that accomplish?

Albert Howard

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Wise decision from Mr. Nassif...Mayor John Hieftje, yes, it is 'tragic'

Widow Wadman

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

What about that lucrative contract that Nader Nassif has to act as counsel for indigents? Is that remaining in place while his own court case proceeds?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

a2roots He will probably be looking (encouraged to be looking) in any case.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

The contract is not to him but to Model Cities Legal which has been in operation for at least 30 years. My guess is he will be looking for other employment down the road if in fact convicted.