Berrien County Commissioner Teri Sue Freehling Addresses Conflict Of Interest Issues, Thanks Colleagues

Berrien County Commissioner Teri Sue Freehling is speaking out to thank her colleagues on the commission for the kindness shown since the death of her husband earlier this year. In a statement to the board read at Thursday’s meeting, Freehling also addressed the issues that have led to both a police investigation and now an investigation by a special counsel hired by the commission into potential conflicts of interest with her late husband’s business. She noted she’s been on “a steep learning curve” since Patrick Freehling’s death, including “learning new information about requisitions for drain contracts presented to the Board for work done by Hartzler Excavating LLC in 2017-18 and REV Excavating LLC in 2018 and 2019.”

Freehling says she had no legal interest in her late husband’s Baroda Valley Farms LLC, which rented equipment for Berrien County Drain Commission projects to both Hartzler and REV. She abstained from votes on the largest project requisitions by both contractors, but not all because she didn’t know her husband’s company was involved on some. Since his passing, the LLC’s shares have been transferred to other partners, including her father-in-law. Freehling concludes by saying she intends to research fully and will abstain from votes in the future if there is “any doubt about their participation for any matter brought to this Board.”