Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Drug Deal Gone Wrong
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Drug Deal Gone Wrong

Fake money in a heroin deal leads to bad blood

Patrick Sullivan - October 15th, 2012  

It appeared at first to be a crime that made no sense at all.

A man was attacked on the side of a rural road in East Bay Township southeast of Traverse City Aug. 12, stabbed over 20 times and left to stagger to a nearby house to call for help.

The man, Gene Allen Perritt, told police he didn’t know his attacker or why he’d been attacked. He had been walking along Carlisle Road when a car drove up and a man got out and attacked him. He told police he was going to some guy named Ron’s house to fix a tire.

From the start, police knew the case was fishy. Grand Traverse County Undersheriff Nathan Alger, in a press release, said the victim was hiding something.

“Details of the stabbing are limited as the victim has not provided us detailed information,” Alger wrote.

Nonetheless, there were witnesses who enabled investigators to build a case.

The charges, filed almost two weeks later, were based on statements from two women -- one of them watched the stabbing take place and knew the attacker as “Whiz,” a drug dealer; the other could identify “Whiz” as the person charged, Dorian Dionne Lewis.

Lewis, 21, of Westland faces up to 10 years in prison on a charge of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. He is scheduled for a final conference Oct. 19 and a trial is scheduled for November.


By the time of Lewis’ preliminary hearing Sept. 10, Perritt had apparently decided to come clean with police.

By then Perritt, who is homeless, was in jail for unrelated trouble.

Perhaps Perritt, 26, was at first afraid to talk to police while his alleged attacker was free. Perhaps now that Lewis was in jail, Perritt believed he could talk about the person he knew as “Whiz.”

“Were you ever friends with the defendant?” Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider asked him at the hearing.

“I wouldn’t go as far as say friends,” Perritt responded, according to a transcript.

“What was the nature of your connection with the defendant?” “He was my drug dealer.” Perritt said he bought heroin and crack from Whiz. He said on the day of the attack, he tried to buy heroin with a badly-made counterfeit $100 bill.


Perritt and a friend had gone to a house on Four Mile Road to see Whiz to buy heroin that day, Perritt testified.

His friend would pay for the drugs and Perritt would go inside and negotiate the deal, he said. His friend gave him a fake $100 to buy the heroin and to settle an earlier debt.

Perritt said he thought the bill was too badly made to be considered counterfeit.

“It wasn’t really a fake, it was more just like a newspaper print, like a hundred dollars on one side and a comic on the other,” Perritt testified.

He handed the note to Whiz and Whiz handed him four bundles of heroin, he said.

Perritt left right away, ran down some stairs into the garage, and went out to the driveway, where his friend was waiting beside his green Jeep. Whiz soon figured out he’d been had and he was right behind him.


Perritt testified that he gave his friend the heroin and told him to get back into the Jeep. He knew they needed to get out of there fast, but he said he was prepared to fight Whiz.

“He (Whiz) appeared from behind, like, wanting to fight, and I turned around, and as I turned around, my friend drove off and left me in the driveway,” Perritt said.

Perritt said he thought Whiz went back inside to get a weapon so he ran off, down the road and through a field to Carlisle Road.

Meanwhile Whiz and two women took off in a car to look for the Jeep -- they drove around for about a half hour before they returned to the neighborhood, one of the women later testified.

Perritt was on foot, walking along Carlisle Road when he encountered Whiz again. A car drove by and then turned around and crept up along side of him. Whiz hopped out.

“I was expecting a physical altercation,” Perritt said. “I didn’t realize I was going to be stabbed.”


Perritt said Whiz grabbed him by the shoulders and started to jab him in the stomach.

“I thought that he had punched me in the stomach and then I realized he had a knife and was stabbing me,” he said.

Perritt broke free and ran into a field. He hoped someone in the house in the distance could see what was going on.

Perritt tripped and Whiz caught him and stabbed him some more, up and down his back, he said.

“At that point, I just lost all strength, there was really nothing left I could do,” he said.

Perritt said he thought he was dead and a threat to stay quiet seemed preposterous.

“He told me that if I told anybody anything about this, he would kill me,” Perritt testified. “I remember actually laughing. I thought I was going to die. I didn’t think there was any way, I mean, I was stabbed so many times.”


Lewis’ attorney, Robert Whims, opened his cross examination of Perritt asking him about his own criminal history, which is extensive.

Perritt has two prior felony convictions -- he spent time in prison after he was convicted of larceny from a building at age 17 and larceny from a person at age 16.

He currently faces a charge from an unrelated case of unarmed robbery.

Whims went after Perritt’s credibility at the hearing in other ways. He questioned Perritt about his admitted heroin use, about the fact that he said he used a counterfeit bill in a drug transaction, and about how he repeatedly told police a different story about the stabbing when he was first interviewed.

“Were you under the influence of narcotics when this happened?” Whims asked him.

“No, I was actually detoxing from narcotics when this happened,” Perritt answered.

Whims did not return a message seeking comment.


Even as Grand Traverse County Sheriff investigators searched for clues in the stabbing, Traverse City Police had already been at work for three days on the case of an unarmed robbery at Crusted Creations on 14th Street, a case that would eventually land Perritt in jail.

Someone had gone into the pizza store and ordered a pizza. The person attempted to pay with two credit cards which were declined. The person told the clerk a friend would call to pay.

As the customer waited and the clerk went to wash some dishes, the customer lunged over the counter and swiped some cash, around $340, and fled the restaurant, hopping onto a bicycle and telling the clerk who was chasing him, “You better not touch me, or else,” according to the police report.

After several days of investigation, TC Police focused on Perritt as their number one suspect, and on the day he was released from the hospital after being treated for the stabbing, police arrested him on an unarmed robbery charge.


Detectives had checked those declined credit cards used at Crusted Creations and learned they were prepaid cards, which meant there was not a name connected to the accounts.

So they looked into where they had been used. Det. Kevin Gay was on the phone with one of the card companies the Monday after the robbery to get a list of what purchases had been made when the person at the company’s fraud office told him the card had been declined 20 minutes earlier at Ace Hardware on Front Street. Someone had tried to use it for a $4.23 purchase.

Police rushed to the store and soon had a photograph from surveillance footage of the person who tried to use the card. The photo was shared around the department and another detective recognized the man as the suspect he was investigating in connection with a purse allegedly stolen from a hair salon.

They believed it was Gene Perritt. The pizza store clerk later picked Perritt out of a photo lineup.

Perritt has pled not guilty and has maintained he did not rob the pizza store. His attorney, Paul Jarboe, said his client had a final conference on Oct. 12 when his case will either be resolved or he will go to trial.


Things looked quiet on a recent afternoon at the house on Four Mile Road where the events unfolded that allegedly led to the stabbing of Perritt.

A neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, said things are usually pretty quiet at the house, until they aren’t, and then suddenly there is a lot of people around and commotion and a lot of activity for a little while. He said things have been quiet lately, however.

It appeared no one was home at the house when an SUV pulled up and a resident appeared.

The man did not want to identify himself or be interviewed, though he said the people involved in the drug dealing and stabbing were not his friends; they were friends of friends.

“I sent those people away from my house,” the man said.

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