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AG Nessel, EGLE Secure $300,000 Fine, Restoration of Wetland Acreage in Litigation Against Macomb County Real Estate Developer Chesterfield 5 LLC

LANSING – Today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the resolution of litigation initiated in March of last year against Macomb County real estate development company Chesterfield 5, LLC and its consultant Christopher Cousino, of Bloomfield Hills. On behalf of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), Nessel sued each for the illegal destruction of a multi-acre regulated wetland in Macomb County. A consent judgement (PDF) entered on June 3rd, 2024, by Judge James S. Jamo of the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County, holds Chesterfield 5 and Cousino responsible to pay a $300,000 fine to the State, to restore 15 acres of wetland to the property by June of 2026, and to monitor the newly redeveloped wetland for a period of five years.

Chesterfield 5 is a Shelby Township-based real estate development company which, in 2018, bought a parcel of land in Macomb County to develop and market as a commercial facility. The State alleged in its lawsuit that Chesterfield 5 and Cousino illegally drained surface water from the property and planted crops on it shortly before applying for a wetland permit to build a large commercial facility on the land. The effect of the illegal activities was to make it appear as if there was significantly less wetland on the property than was actually present.

During its review of the permit application, EGLE reviewed historical aerial photographs, which clearly showed a large natural wetland complex on the site shortly before the application was filed. The lawsuit charged defendants Chesterfield 5 and Christopher Cousino with violating Part 303 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA).

“The illegal destruction of our protected, regulated wetlands will not be tolerated in Michigan,” said Nessel. “We have a responsibility to defend the natural resources that define our way of life and support diverse ecosystems across the State. I am grateful for the rigorous efforts of our partners at EGLE, and to the attorneys in my office that secured this responsible and restorative resolution.”

“The destruction of these wetlands was illegal, unnecessary and indefensible,” said Phil Roos, EGLE director. “We applaud the Attorney General for reaching a settlement that will both restore the damage and send a strong signal that in Michigan – the Great Lakes State – we take our water resources seriously and will aggressively pursue those who illegally harm these valuable public resources."


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