District court contest pits judge against councilman

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — City voters will be asked to select one of two candidates seeking a seat on the 28th District Court bench Nov. 4 in a contest pitting incumbent Judge James Kandrevas against City Councilman John Graziani.

Kandrevas, 66, who has served on the bench for nearly 30 years, was one of 16 judges in Michigan to face primary election competition. During the August primary, Kandrevas and Graziani edged out Councilman Bill Colovos to advance to the general election.

Kandrevas and Graziani emerged from the primary election with solid support, garnering respectively 1,661 and 1,315 votes.

Colovos and Graziani announced their candidacies in the wake of controversies involving Kandrevas. A 2009 lawsuit had been filed by court employees who claimed he’d misused court funds, and the legal challenge was subsequently settled by the city for $300,000.

During the court proceedings Kandrevas made local and national headlines for invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent; Kandrevas reportedly said the settlement and his strategy saved the city millions of dollars in damages.

Kandrevas has served on the bench since 1990 and, if re-elected, would serve a final term due to age limitations.

Graziani, 52, previously ran for the bench in 2008 and has served on the Taylor City Council for more than 12 years and currently serves as president pro-tem. Graziani has practiced law Downriver for 25 years.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)