Hamtramck — The director of the city’s public works department has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the city as well as current and former city police officials.
In the suit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court last week, Steve Shaya of Hamtramck accuses the officials of framing him for a Nov. 15, 2013, hit-and-run accident after he complained about a Hamtramck police officer’s violation of the city’s ethics laws.
Shaya also says police charged him with leaving the scene of an accident, but dropped the charge after he requested a copy of the 911 call on the supposed hit-and-run. His suit also alleges city officials made derogatory remarks about his ethnicity. Shaya is Chaldean.
Shaya seeks damages and legal costs, said his attorney, M. Michael Koroi. “We may also seek injunctive relief,” he said to prevent any retaliation against Shaya, Koroi said.
A status conference on the case has been scheduled for May 15.
The lawsuit names Police Chief Max Garabino, Police Sgt. Det. Andy Mileski, Police Sgt. Det. Adam Tardif, former City Manager Kyle Tertzag, former acting city manager Erik Tungate and former Detroit police officer David Belcastro as defendants.
Shaya accuses Tardif of moonlighting with a towing company, using his position with the city to get business for the towing company and starting his own business to tow vehicles seized by police.
City attorney John Clark was not available for comment Wednesday.
On Dec. 11, police charged Shaya with leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor, according to his lawsuit. The same day, he requested a copy of all documents related to the alleged accident. Six days later, the charges were dismissed, the lawsuit says.
Koroi said Shaya had to wait 30 days after charges against his client were dropped before he could file his lawsuit.
Shaya continues to serve as the city’s public works department director, his attorney said.