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Harassment Cited as Cause of Land Bank Chief's Firing

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Steve Neavling, who blogs as Motor City Muckraker, published a story late yesterday citing harassment and stalking—not to mention a full-fledged PPO—as the reason for Kevin Simowski's firing as head of the Detroit Land Bank. The Land Bank, probably best known for auctioning city-owned houses and, more recently, for its Rehabbed and Ready partnership with Quicken Loans and Home Depot, fired Simowski, who Neavling calls "a longtime friend and political ally" of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, on October 8th.

The firing came in the wake of revelations that Simowski (pictured above) had stalked and harassed Carrie Lewand-Monroe, then principal director of the Land Bank, even going so far as to visit her Ann Arbor home uninvited more than once. Neavling also reports Land Bank employees complained that Simowski frequently reported to work drunk. Lewand-Monroe has replaced Simowski as head of the Land Bank. Simowski was terminated for cause and will not receive a severance package.

The firing came fresh on the heels of scandal at Land Bank over the inexplicable rise in the agency's costs for demolishing blighted houses, a key responsibility of the organization. According to the Detroit Free Press, the average demolition cost rose from $10,000 or less while overseen by former Mayor Dave Bing to $16,400 under Mayor Duggan. The Land Bank insists that Simowski's termination had nothing to do with costs, though descriptions of his tenure at the agency make it clear that managing costs may not have the fired director's top workplace priority.

·Ousted Detroit Land Bank director was drunk on job, stalked employee [Motor City Muckraker]
·Land bank chief fired for drinking, stalking [Detroit Free Press]
·All Rehabbed and Ready Coverage [Curbed Detroit]