Allegan Public Schools settles suit over ex-terrorist talk

Kamal Saleem
This April 9, 2008 file photo shows Kamal Saleem, an activist against use of Islamic Shariah law in the U.S., at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas.

ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — Allegan Public Schools has reluctantly agreed to settle a lawsuit that claimed Allegan police and the school district wrongly stopped a speech by a man who claims to be a former terrorist.

The district has agreed to pay $500, which will be divvied up by three plaintiffs, including former State Rep. Dave Agema of Grandville.

The settlement is the same deal the plaintiffs thought they reached in 2013, only to be told the school district’s lawyer made the deal without getting appropriate approval.

The lawsuit was filed after police shut down an address by self-professed ex-Muslim terrorist Kamal Saleem on Jan. 26, 2012 at Allegan High School. Police said they had been alerted to a $25 million bounty on Saleem’s head and had safety concerns for the event.

In 2014, a West Michigan judge dismissed the claims against the City of Allegan and the police chief, but allowed the case against the school district to continue.

The school district’s attorney agreed to settle the case for $500. Agema and the plaintiffs announced they would split the money, with Agema, Elizabeth Griffin and Willis Sage get $2 each. Mark Gurley would be paid $494 to cover the cost of transporting Saleem to Allegan. However, the school district backed out of the agreement saying their lawyer acted without their knowledge or authority.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the settlement offer had been made and accepted.

Tuesday, Allegan Public Schools filed paperwork indicating that it does not admit any wrongdoing and stands by its actions, but does not want to continue to litigate the issue.