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Posted on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti Township Kmart owner held in contempt of court for demolition delay

By Tom Perkins


Cinder block in the ground at the site of a former Kmart was unevenly filled with cement instead of being leveled with the surrounding area. Sewage lines are also not capped properly and debris remains at the site.

Tom Perkins | For

It has been over 600 days since a Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge ordered the demolition of a former Ypsilanti Township Kmart to be completed within 60 days.

On Wednesday, Union Lake Associates — the company that owns the building — was granted another 35 days to complete the project.

But the Sylvan Township-based company’s managing partner, Michael McGlothin, was held in contempt of court for failing to complete the project. He will be fined $100 a day retroactive from April 24 if the project is not done by May 29.

The Gault Village Shopping Plaza store on Grove Road had been abandoned for more than 22 years.

Although the building itself has been torn down, Union Lake still has not completed the project to the court or Ypsilanti Township's satisfaction.

The demolition site was to be left level with the area and parking lot surrounding it. In a March inspection, township officials found a cinder block perimeter running throughout the site.

Township attorney Dennis McLain said inspectors requested that it be addressed, but Union Lake dumped concrete on top of the cinder block, leaving the area bumpier and more uneven than it was before.

McLain said Shelton gave Union Lake the option to either level-off the site or place a 10-foot chain link fence around it.

“The township would prefer to have the site completely level and not fenced, but we’re always grateful that Judge Shelton listens, and we certainly respect his opinion,” McLain said.

Union Lake also needs to properly address open sewage lines and clear debris from the area, McLain said.

The township first went to court with Union Lake more than two years ago in March 2011. The building had a collapsing roof, cracked outer wall and mold infestation, among other issues.

At that time, Shelton ordered the two parties to establish a timeline for demolition. When that failed, Shelton ordered Union Lake to demolish the property within 60 days in September 2011.

Union Lake told Shelton they didn’t have funds to complete the project, though township attorneys pointed out they continued to collect rent from other tenants in the plaza.

The project was slightly complicated because a new exterior wall next to Measurement Inc. — a business that grades standardized tests for Michigan schools — had to be erected. Measurement Inc. previously was attached to the Kmart, so a new exterior wall had to be built as part of the demolition project.

On April 9, Shelton ordered McGlothin to complete the project in full by Wednesday or be held in contempt of court.

“I don’t feel it was exactly the relief the township was looking for, but Judge Shelton thought it would be appropriate relief and he’s the judge,” McLain said. “We’re getting the order entered and we’ll see what happens from there.”



Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 3:33 a.m.

Cinder block? Those look like floor tiles, too!


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 11:38 p.m.

I loved that K-Mart back in the 70's. That is where my dad bought me and my brother a two man raft that we used at Heath Beach. Miss ya dad and mom. That K-Mart was rockin back in the day.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

If / when the project isn't complete on May 30, will McGlothin be thrown in jail?


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

Unbelievable...a bumpy, uneven surface!!! I know I won't sleep soundly until I know this horrific situation has been resolved. It must be pretty serious if we need to be protected from it with a 10-foot chain link fence!


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

For what it's worth, as of Friday AM the surface really didn't look all that different than the photo attached to this story. I wouldn't say it's at "WON'T SOMEBODY *PLEASE* THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?" level of concern, though it does make sense to push for the guy to complete cleanup in the manner which he agreed in court. It's really in McGlothin's best interest, as if he keeps things as is it's only a matter of time before someone gets injured and decides to sue him. There's a surprising amount of bike and skateboard traffic in that area, mostly neighborhood kids.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Spelling issue: "Ypsilanti Towniship" should be Ypsilanti Township. Thanks!

Julie Baker

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

Thanks, we've fixed the typo

Jack Gladney

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

You should spend more time proofing and editing your articles than you do on deleting comments pointing out shoddy journalism. The end result could well be a better product.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Working class people get put in jail for ignoring the orders of a judge.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

I contend the "managing partner" cited in the story is getting preferential treatment. Repeatedly ignoring the judge's order would likely get any of us thrown in jail.

harry b

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Working class? Are you assuming Union lakes associates don't work for a living. You have to shake this us and them mentality. Just because you put on work gloves when you go to work doesn't mean you work harder than someone behind a desk.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

K-Mart (Sears) has absolutely nothing to do with this situation, yet the way this story is written may leave readers with the notion that they are. The building was a former location of a K-mart store. "Union Lake Associates — the company that owns the Kmart" - K-Mart hadn't been in that location for 22 years as a tenant, and Union Lake Associates may have owned the building, but never the store itself. Please correct this story to accurately reflect the situation. K-mart is struggling enough without inaccurate local reporting that damages its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Did KMart LEASE or OWN the building 22 years ago? It appears KMart - now Sears Holding Corporation - leased the building space and Union Lake Associates is the OWNER of the building and land space surrounding the former location. If the latter is true, this is Union Lake Associates responsibility to complete and not Sears Holding Corporation/KMart; and if so, Colby's comment would be correct.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

It is NOT inaccurate reporting. Was this a former KMart store? The landlord has not torn down the store as they were required to do so BY COURT ORDER. Nobody has gone after Kmart on this, though I will say KMart likely broke the lease and left the landlord with a huge piece of property that could not be kept up. KMarts original bout with bankruptcy proved that to most people.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

He is getting off cheap. He should spend a couple of days in jail, and pay his own upkeep while there.