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March 19, 2019 1:12 pm

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John Newland & Doug McIntosh

Gallery Owner Explodes At Council Meeting With Obscene Language, Gesture

   A local gallery owner who along with his business and life partner continue to accuse city officials of being unprofessional, dismissive and intimidating, interrupted the Saugatuck City Council meeting Monday night in a belligerent and obscene manner.
        “You’re out of order, asshole,” Doug McIntosh yelled at Saugatuck City Mayor Bill Hess after Hess struck his gavel in response to McIntosh and life partner John Newland blurting out antagonizing remarks during the council comments part of the agenda.
        Included among the inappropriate comments emnating from the red-faced McIntosh at Monday night’s meeting - attended by young and old Saugatuck area citizens - was when he called city council members “f—king assholes!”, apparently a favorite phrase of the pontificating pair who also recently voiced the same epithet against the editor of The Local Observer and other citizens who have challenged and been offended by their many baseless and repeated accusations.
        During his fit of anger, McIntosh also flipped off  (extended his middle finger in the well-recognized obscene gesture) to the council and stormed out of city hall, violently shifting some chairs out of place in the public seating area as he rushed  out of the room.
        McIntosh and Newland, who together own Roan & Black Saugatuck Contemporary Art Gallery on the Blue Star Highway, showed up Monday night continuing to aggressively level charges that the council and city staff are out to “intimidate” them, demanding explanations and an apology for an array of what they say are wrongdoings and unethical behavior on the part of city officials.
        Monday night’s Roan & Black owners’ anger-spewing circus  was not an isolated incident.
        McIntosh and Newland have been vocally belligerent and exhibited anger-fueled rage at other recent local meetings and gatherings  as McIntosh, in particular,  also violently stormed out of a Saugatuck-Douglas Area Business Association (SABA) meeting as well as a gallery-owner gathering, according to several eye witnesses at the events who have asked to remain unnamed for fear of reprisals from the volatile pair.
        McIntosh’s and Newland’s vocal diatribes - and vulgar public profanications - have also been caught on videotapes of city council and SABA meetings that are publicly available.
        The issue that apparently launched the explosive responses by Newland and McIntosh was their taking extreme umbrage at receiving a letter from the city notifying them they needed to register to vote with the township upon changing their residence out of the city.
        Newland and McIntosh moved from the City of Saugatuck to Saugatuck Township and, upon receiving the state-generated letter from the city,  began accusing city officials of legal and ethical violations. One of the pair’s supporters - Saugatuck resident Dan Fox - also filed an ethic’s complaint against city officials over the issue.
        Allegan County Clerk Joyce Watts was asked by city officials to review the matter.
        After reviewing all the information and documents, Watts in an April 18 letter stated that not only did Saugatuck city officials simply follow the law and did absolutely nothing wrong, but that both Newland and McIntosh were both in violation of state law for not having updated their new address with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office as required within 10 days of moving from the city to the township.
        In her letter addressing this legal issue, Watts wrote of Newland and McIntosh “…Would (they) prefer that the (Saugatuck City) Clerk send a patrolman to charge them each with a misdemeanor for not disclosing the accurate change of residence to the license bureau? Personally, I would find that more intimidating than the letter (they received)…”
        State records reviewed Wednesday night (April 30) show both McIntosh and Newland are still currently violating state law by not having updated their driver licenses with the state within the required 10 days of moving to their new township home.
        Both Newland and McIntosh have focused their anger - and verbal abuse - primarily at city council members and Saugatuck City Clerk Monica Looman who sent the pair the official state election/change of address notification letter shortly after they moved from the city.
        A review of Saugatuck city records show other residents during the past several years have also been sent identical letters when they moved, although not one of them has seen fit to launch a similar verbal and public profanication campaign as Newland and McIntosh.
        Looman has said the letter is standard practice and is actually mandated by the state of Michigan. As a result of all this furor caused by the two self-described “victims”, the city is ready to go one level up and ask the state of Michigan for its opinion in the matter, according to  Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier.
        Looman said she has been subjected to aggressive pressure and felt “intimated” by the gallery couple even though she was simply doing her job, as required by law.
        An example of this intimidation occurred last week (Thursday, April 24) when an angry Newland showed up at city hall and began making false accusations against Looman - such as accusing her of telling the newspaper she was the subject of a letter writing campaign by Newland and McIntosh. Looman never made any such statements.
        Newland’s agressive and loud verbal attacks on Looman were overheard by City Manager Kirk Harrier and other city residents visiting city hall that morning and he had to inform Newland to address his complaints to him and not disrupt operations in the government building.
        Newland demanded an apology from Looman at Monday night’s city council meeting, saying, “She (Looman) was either misquoted or she really said that…I am trying to figure this out.”
        Newland further charged that city employees are trying to ruin his and McIntosh’s reputations by spreading boldface lies about the pair, but failed to provide any evidence  to back up his claims.
        McIntosh made similar comments to the city council Monday night. He said he had spoken with Watts and asked her about the correspondence between her and the city.
        “She (Watts) said that you (Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier) were trying to intimidate us, and that you wanted her feedback (on exactly how to do that),” said McIntosh.
        Several citizens attending Monday night’s session - along with some council members - said they did not believe McIntosh’s alleged conversation with Watts. Watt’s was not available for comment by this week’s publication deadline.
        Council members’ responses Monday were brief and solemn.
        “I unequivocally support our city manager and city clerk in their professionalism through this whole issue,” said Saugatuck Mayor Hess. Others echoed his sentiment.
         “My point is, what is the point?” Saugatuck Mayor Pro Tem Bill Lint said with a puzzled look, trying to grasp exactly what McIntosh, Newland and Fox were concerned about.
        “This is such a time waste for our staff,” added Lint.
        Similarly, Saugatuck Council Member Mark Bekken noted, “It’s time to move on.”

Gallery Owner Explodes At Council Meeting With Obscene Language, Gesture

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