Saugatuck Township Supervisor Loses Court Fight With The Local Observer
An Allegan County Small Claims Court magistrate has ordered Saugatuck Township Supervisor William Wester Sr. to pay The Local Observer newspaper for a political ad he contracted for last November, but never paid for.
In a hearing Tuesday, Wester admitted he signed the contract for the half-page ad, that the ad ran, and that he never made any payments whatsoever on his bill.
Wester told the court he was willing to pay the $300 for the ad, but didn’t want to pay the finance charges incurred for failing to pay his bill.
The court explained that the newspaper was entitled to assess and collect the finance charges on his unpaid balance because he had clearly agreed to them in the contract.
With finance charges, court costs and service fees, Wester will now have to pay $400.86 for the original $300 ad. If he fails to do so, the newspaper will be entitled to enforce its judgment against him, including garnishing his township wages, and have a subpoena issued compelling him to attend a court-ordered Creditor’s Exam where he would be required to provide his financial records and proof of his asset holdings for review.
Additionally, because he now has a money judgment against him for failure to pay a creditor, the credit-reporting agencies will put that negative information on Wester’s credit report.
“This never had to happen if Mr. Wester had simply paid his bill,” said Observer Editor Mike Gallagher. “He’s an elected official. You’d think he’d be smart and honest enough to pay people what he owes them.”