Legal People ...


Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently appointed Richard Corriveau to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

Corriveau is a trial attorney and the president of Richard J. Corriveau Law PC. Corriveau is a veteran of the United States military and previously worked as a public school teacher and an adjunct professor. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Michigan State University, a Master of Arts in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan, and a law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Corriveau is appointed to represent Democrats for a term commencing January 1, 2021 and expiring December 31, 2024. He succeeds Jeffrey Sakwa whose term expires December 31, 2020.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution of 1963 to carry out the guarantees against discrimination articulated in Article I, Section 2. As further stated in Article V, Section 29, the State Constitution directs the Commission to investigate alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, and to "secure the equal protection of such civil rights without such discrimination." Public Acts 453 and 220 of 1976 and subsequent amendments have added sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disabilities to the original four protected categories.

Corriveau's appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

In addition, Gov. Whitmer appointed Laura Misumi to the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission.

Misumi is the executive director and board president of Rising Voices of Asian American Families and the managing director of Tides Advocacy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Latin American & Caribbean Studies from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the Northeastern University School of Law.

Misumi is appointed for a term commencing December 17, 2020 and expiring November 30, 2023. She succeeds Toshiki Masaki who has resigned.

The Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission's (MAPAAC) vision is to be an exemplary commission by adding public value to the State of Michigan and the Asian Pacific American community, by fully engaging Asian Pacific Americans across the state.

Misumi's appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

Gov. Whitmer also announced that Deputy Legal Counsel Suzanna Shkreli will serve as director of the Office of Children's Ombudsman (OCO).

Shkreli currently serves as deputy legal counsel in the Executive Office of the Governor. Prior to her service in the governor's office, Shkreli served as an assistant prosecuting attorney with the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office in the Child Protection Unit where she prosecuted crimes against children involving physical and sexual abuse. Shkreli has also conducted training for law enforcement officials throughout Albania on Crime Victims' Rights on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Prosecutorial Development and Training (OPDAT).

As a member of the Executive Office, Shkreli currently represents the governor on the Human Trafficking Commission and the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Tracking and Reporting Commission. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Oakland University and her law degree degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Shkreli is appointed to succeed Judge Lisa McCormick who was appointed to the 30th Circuit Court of Ingham County. She will serve for a term commencing January 4, 2021 and expiring at the pleasure of the governor. As director, Shkreli will serve as a member of the governor's cabinet.

"It has been an honor to serve the people of Michigan in my role as deputy legal counsel to Governor Whitmer," said Shkreli. "I am humbled and grateful to the governor for the opportunity to continue my work on behalf of the children of our state. Protecting Michigan's children is a tremendous responsibility, and I am deeply committed to the mission of this office."

The OCO is housed in the Department of Technology, Management and Budget as an independent agency. The mission of the Office of the Children's Ombudsman is to help improve Michigan's child welfare system through independently investigating complaints, advocating for children, and recommending changes to improve law, policy, and practice for the benefit of current and future generations.

This appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

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Bodman is pleased to announce that Damali A. Sahu, a member of the firm practicing in the Detroit office, has joined the board of directors of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion.

The Michigan Roundtable is one of the oldest human rights organizations in Detroit. Over its more than 75 year history, the Michigan Roundtable has expanded from being an organization focused on building bridges between Catholics, Protestants, and Jews to one embracing more diverse and inclusive interests. The Michigan Roundtable has adjusted to the rapid social changes and difficult challenges of the region by developing effective programs geared not only to combatting all types of discrimination but to building and sustaining a diverse and inclusive community.

Bodman is a long-time supporter of the Michigan Roundtable. Other firm attorneys who have served in leadership roles include Kathleen O'Callaghan Hickey, who is a current Michigan Roundtable board member and past board secretary, and Robert J. Diehl Jr., who is an ex-officio board member and past board chair.

Sahu is a member of Bodman's Executive Committee and Office of the Executive, the latter of which manages the firm's day to day business affairs, and serves as co-chair of the firm's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Her legal practice is concentrated in representing lenders in commercial loan originations with a focus on transactions involving venture capital-backed companies in the technology, energy, and life science industries. She has more than a decade of experience in transactions with companies in all stages of growth from seed/early stage to established pre-public stage companies.

She has been recognized by the Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Rising Stars, and DBusiness Magazine as one of Michigan's leading banking lawyers. In 2019, Lawyers of Color named Sahu to its "Nation's Best" list of distinguished attorneys and in 2018, Michigan Lawyers Weekly named her to its annual class of "Women in Law." In 2008, she received Michigan Lawyers Weekly's "Up & Coming Lawyers" award which recognizes practitioners whose accomplishments set them apart from their peers in their first ten years in practice.

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Lean & Green Michigan recently recognized four Michigan public officials with the 2020 "Most Valuable PACEsetter" award, in honor of their work to help businesses in their communities access capital to finance energy and water efficiency projects.

Among this year's PACEsetter honorees was Oakland County Senior Assistant Corporate Counsel Lisa Kavalhuna.

"On behalf of Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter's Office, I'm pleased that I had the opportunity to work with the team at Lean & Green Michigan to complete a PACE project in 2020," said Kavalhuna. "In a tough economic climate, PACE provided rescue capital to help an Oakland County business survive the pandemic by reimbursing previously implemented energy efficient upgrades."

Founded in 2012, Lean & Green Michigan is a public-private partnership that helps local units of government administer Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, financing.

Since its inception, Lean & Green Michigan has closed a total of 33 deals throughout the state, and helped Michigan businesses access over $68 million in capital.

PACE is a financing tool that allows a property owner to voluntarily enter into a special assessment agreement with a local unit of government, which can be repaid over a period up to 25 years. It enables cash flow positive investment in comprehensive energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy projects. By financing such projects through PACE, businesses can eliminate the need for upfront capital and benefit from PACE's long-term, fixed-rate financing structure so that the savings generated from the project are greater than the annual PACE loan repayment generating immediate positive cash flow.

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Secrest Wardle proudly congratulates Amanda M. Brithinee, Jeffrey Bullard Jr., and Ryan M. Tactac on passing the bar exam. Brithinee, Bullard, and Tactac all accepted associate positions with the firm.