FENNVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A city commissioner is calling on the newest board member to resign over his association with an alleged hate group.
The new member, Morgan Bolles, was expected to attend his first Fennville City Commission meeting Monday night and had been asked to make a statement.
“I’d like him to resign, to step aside, then run again for the next opening in two years, to let residents decide that,” said Commissioner Jim Hayden.
“It would have honor and dignity to step down. You know, ‘This is causing some controversy for the town, let me take a break for two years and I’ll run again in two years and see what people think,’” Hayden explained.
Hayden, a commissioner for the last four years, said he would consider resigning himself if Bolles doesn’t step down.
“I’m very concerned about having somebody who’s involved in a hate group on the commission,” Hayden said. “How does that show for the city?”
The commission recently appointed Bolles to fill a two-year seat without knowing about his criminal history, or about his association with Proud Boys — identified by watchdogs as a hate group.
“We made the decision and we did not have the knowledge of that,” Hayden said. “That’s disappointing that it’s all coming out after the fact, and we really can’t do anything.”
Photographs taken in September show Bolles holding the Michigan Proud Boys flag and flashing a known “white power” sign during a rally in Lansing.
State police records show Bolles has a history of misdemeanor convictions dating back more than a decade and ending in 2015, including assault, drunken driving and a car crash causing death.
But records in Kentwood District Court show more since then — two tickets for driving without a license and a conviction for possessing drug paraphernalia last year.
Secretary of State officials said Bolles hasn’t had a valid license since 2013.
“I’ll be honest, the criminal record is not a positive thing, but he has served his time, he’s been adjudicated. I can live with that,” Hayden said.
The only requirement to serve as a commissioner is living for a year in Fennville and not owing the city any money.
“I believe in redemption and that’s fine, then the stuff started surfacing about the hate group, the Proud Boys, which is certified as a hate group,” Hayden said.
News 8 could not reach Bolles for comment on Monday, but he has told city officials he plans to serve out the two-year term.
“I feel bad for Fennville,” Hayden said. “It’s a really good town, lots of nice folks and this doesn’t reflect well.”