In-Depth: Abuse of Power? The Nield-Walsh Stories

As we all know, sometimes answers to questions only lead to more questions and that was certainly true in this series of stories.

A Wayne County Prosecutor – Ray Walsh – filed a complaint with Northville Police that accused a Northville school board trustee’s husband – Jim Nield – of using public school resources in efforts to recalls officials of the Northville Township board of trustees.

Ultimately, Northville Schools, the Northville Township Board of Trustees, Northville Police, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Michigan State Police, and Michigan Attorney General all became involved in the case.

In the end, everyone involved were cleared of any alleged wrongdoing, though Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm said the resources used in the investigation were “hardly justified.”

Walsh died of apparent suicide Nov. 23, 1999.

Northville Police Investigate Possible Misuse of School Equipment (June 10, 1999)
Northville Police Investigate Possible Misuse of School Equipment (June 10, 1999)
Northville Police Continue Nield Investigation (June 17, 1999)
Northville Police Continue Nield Investigation (June 17, 1999)
Complaint Letter Might Not Exist, Prosecutor Claims (June 24, 1999)
Complaint Letter Might Not Exist, Prosecutor Claims (June 24, 1999)
Allegation Letter Can't Be Found, Prosecutor Says (July 1, 1999)
Allegation Letter Can’t Be Found, Prosecutor Says (July 1, 1999)
Nield Seeks Answers to Investigation (July 8, 1999)
Nield Seeks Answers to Investigation (July 8, 1999)
Nield Investigation May Take More Time, Michigan State Police Claim (July 15, 1999)
Nield Investigation May Take More Time, Michigan State Police Claim (July 15, 1999)
Investigation Continues in Nield Probe (July 22, 1999)
Investigation Continues in Nield Probe (July 22, 1999)
Nield Cleared on Charges as Investigation Concludes (July 26, 1999)
Nield Cleared on Charges as Investigation Concludes (July 29, 1999)
Police Refuse Release of Walsh Information (July 29, 1999)
Police Refuse Release of Walsh Information (July 29, 1999)
Nield May Seek Judicial Review of Investigation (Aug. 5, 1999)
Nield May Seek Judicial Review of Investigation (Aug. 5, 1999)
Wayne County Commissioner to Investigate Northville Resident's Complaint (Aug. 12, 1999)
Wayne County Commissioner to Investigate Northville Resident’s Complaint (Aug. 12, 1999)
Wayne County Commissioner Sends Ultimatum to Prosecutor (Aug. 26, 1999)
Michigan State Police Refuse Northville Record FOIA Request (Aug. 26, 1999)
Michigan State Police Refuse Northville Record FOIA Request (Aug. 26, 1999)
Wayne County Commissioner Ends Inquiry into Nield Charges (Sept. 2, 1999)
Wayne County Commissioner Ends Inquiry into Nield Charges (Sept. 2, 1999)
Nield Ponders Filing Lawsuit to Get Answers (Sept. 15, 1999)
Nield Ponders Filing Lawsuit to Get Answers (Sept. 15, 1999)
Is Wayne County Prosecutor Trying to Frame Local Resident? (Sept. 16, 1999)
Is Wayne County Prosecutor Trying to Frame Local Resident? (Sept. 16, 1999)
Editorial: Don't Let Investigation Keep Your Voices Silent (Sept. 16, 1999)
Editorial: Don’t Let Investigation Keep Your Voices Silent (Sept. 16, 1999)
Michigan Attorney General to Investigate Wayne County Prosecutor's Office (Sept. 23, 1999)
Michigan Attorney General to Investigate Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office (Sept. 23, 1999)
Reference to Nield in Northville Township Consent Agenda Shunned by Clerk (Sept. 30, 1999)
Reference to Nield in Northville Township Consent Agenda Shunned by Clerk (Sept. 30, 1999)
Michigan State Police Can't Locate Aug. 27 FOIA Request (Oct. 7, 1999)
Michigan Police Can’t Locate Aug. 27 FOIA Request (Oct. 7, 1999)
Michigan Attorney General Nears End of Nield Investigation (Oct. 21, 1999)
Michigan Attorney General Nears End of Nield Investigation (Oct. 21, 1999)
Northville Resident Was Target of 1998 Probe by Wayne County Prosecutor (Nov. 4, 1999)
Northville Resident Was Target of 1998 Probe by Wayne County Prosecutor (Nov. 4, 1999)
Informant's Identity Protected in Northville Investigation (Nov. 11, 1999)
Informant’s Identity Protected in Northville Investigation (Nov. 11, 1999)
No Evidence of Wrongdoing in Northville Investigation (Nov. 25, 1999)
No Evidence of Wrongdoing in Northville Investigation (Nov. 25, 1999)
Wayne County Prosecutor Ray Walsh Found Dead of Apparent Suicide (Nov. 25, 1999)
Wayne County Prosecutor Ray Walsh Found Dead of Apparent Suicide (Nov. 25, 1999)

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