Lawsuits and police cause big problems in a small town

A new battle is sparking over insurance in the Shiawassee county community of Oakley.

Oakley is a small town where most people don't even stop but it has a big problem. Brandi Bitterman and her family have filed about a half dozen lawsuits against the village's police department.

"Harassment from its local police and its Chief Robert Reznick," said Bitterman.

The lawsuits are part of the Michigan Municipal League's reasoning for not renewing Oakley's insurance.

"Itâ??s really unfortunate what this town is going through right now," said Bitterman.

In an email sent to village administration, the municipal league also blames a lack of cooperation from Oakleyâ??s Police Department. Because of these issues Oakley Trustee Francis Koski is making a motion for the town to remove their police force.

"Our biggest liability is the police department. Itâ??s not a personal thing its a business deal," said Koski.

Other village officials were not available at the municipal center; however, NBC 25 did reach police Chief Robert Reznick.

"This is a couple people, mainly the Bittermanâ??s that are set on destroying the village," said Reznick.

If a motion to remove the police department gets support in the town hall meeting on Tuesday, trustees say they would save money and could afford a more expensive insurance plan.

"If the police money's not there, this is an assumption, we could end up with higher taxes in the village of Oakley." said Koski.

Because itâ??s a small town the people in Oakley are hesitant to go on record picking one side of the issue. But one part they all agree on, not wanting to pay more in taxes for insurance outside of the Michigan Municipal League.

Village trustees say insurance under the Michigan Municipal League cost the village around 11-thousand dollars per year...

Over the past three years, the municipal league has paid nearly $200,000 in attorney fees to defend the village against lawsuits.