AG Dana Nessel expected to review Joan Jackson Johnson Case

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- Attorney General Dana Nessel's office has confirmed to News 10 it will review the case of Lansing's now-suspended Human Relations Director Joan Jackson Johnson.

Lansing's Director of Human Relations and Community Services Joan Jackson Johnson has been placed on paid administrative leave. (Source: City of Lansing)

The office said it will be reviewing the case to see if it warrants a full investigation.

Last week, Johnson was placed on paid administrative leave due to issues with contracts going through the city attorney's office, according to Lansing Mayor Andy Schor.

Johnson told News 10 the matter involves an alleged conflict of interest she’s had while serving on several non-profit boards in the community.

Johnson added city officials appear to take issue specifically with her role with a non-profit called One Church, One Family. It specializes in housing for the poor.

"It's disappointing because someone hasn't done their homework," Johnson said of being placed on leave. "There are no finances involved. It's just the position I've held with these different programs, that's the issue.”

Johnson said she was put on administrative leave Thursday and hasn’t been told how long that may last.

On Monday night, the Lansing community showed their support for Jackson at the city council meeting.

Mayor Schor was also at the meeting and said he appreciated the work Jackson has done for the city.

"There's a situation which forced the city attorney to place her on paid leave while it's investigated. I legally can't say anything else about that, but I do want to recognize that I certainly appreciate all that Joan has done for Lansing and the community," Mayor Schor said.

Regardless, the public said they feel Jackson was treated with disrespect.

"The people who decided to treat her in the manner that she was treated--shame on you," Joshua Gillespie, a community member said.

"I don't know what's happening up here. I've stopped a few people, you know, in the city's office and said 'what's going on?' I want to know what's going on because something's not making sense," Larry Trice Jr., Pastor Tabernacle of David Church, said.

Director of New Hope Community Center Sharon Dade said that people over the weekend were having a hard time because Johnson wasn't able to help those who didn't have a warm place to stay during the ice storm.

"The city is going to be at a loss without her. Even this weekend, I can't tell you -- I got calls from city officials 'well what do we do?' And I'm like 'the problem is if Joan were in this place she would be coordinating all of this.' That's what you need to do, you need to bring her back," Dade said.

Former Lansing Mayor Virgil Bernero sent a statement to News 10 a statement on Johnson's behalf:

"I stand behind Joan 100%. Triple J is a phenomenal human being who embodies the spirit of "love thy neighbor.' She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the least among us. Where there is difficulty, where there is adversity, where there is misery, you will find Joan with her should to the wheel trying to make things better. Joan sees people that are invisible to others. She believes everyone counts. She made me a better mayor and a better person."

Johnson’s department has 10 employees and a budget for the fiscal year of 2020 that’s $1,656,911, according to city documents.

Johnson has served as the department’s director since 2006.

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