CALEDONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — The Village of Caledonia is asking the governor to remove the newly elected village president from office over his conviction for felony drunk driving.
Todd Grinage, 53, already a member of the village board, was elected president on Tuesday while serving his jail sentence.
As he was returning to jail Thursday, he and his attorney held a press conference in the Kent County Correctional Facility lobby.
“I pleaded guilty to a DUI-third offense,” Grinage read from a prepared statement. “I apologize for my mistake.”
A Kent County deputy arrested Grinage after finding him sleeping behind the wheel of a pickup truck late at night along the road at Cherry Valley Avenue SE and 84th Street. His blood-alcohol level was 0.148 — nearly twice the legal limit, according to court records.
Grinage had been convicted of impaired driving in 2008 and drunk driving in 2010.
Kent County Circuit Judge Mark Trusock sentenced him Nov. 3 — five days before the election — to two months in jail, despite letters of support, including one from former Michigan Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus.
He is serving his sentence on work-release, requiring him to report back to jail every weekday at 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, while in jail, he defeated fellow village board member Danise Regan 371-260 to become village president.
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Then, on Wednesday, the village attorney asked him to step down, his attorney said.
“He (the village attorney) stated he was being asked by the village to send a recommendation to Gov. (Rick) Snyder to have him removed from office,” Grinage’s attorney, Andrew Rodenhouse, said.
A 1954 state law allows the governor to remove village officers for certain offenses, including habitual drunkenness or for a conviction for being drunk. Grinage’s attorney said the law doesn’t apply because his conviction happened before the election.
Grinage said he has no intention of stepping down.
“My conviction of the DUI has nothing to do with what I can do for the village and the people that live within there,” Grinage said. “I have a deep compassion for that town. I’ve lived there all my life.”
Grinage says his conviction was no secret before the vote, though the outgoing village president, who didn’t run for re-election, said he didn’t find out until after.
“I have no idea if it (was known) to the voters, if they knew or not,” Village President Glenn Gilbert said. “I was unaware of it.”
“Todd’s been a great asset to the village and to my council,” Gilbert continued. “He’s a very good person, very well-liked. Unfortunately, he’s in a tough situation right now and I think what has to happen is we have to let the legal process take its due course and see what happens.”
Grinage said he’ll be out of jail before his term starts in January. He said he is seeking counseling.