A local businessman charged in connection to an incident in which he allegedly choked one of his employees is headed to trial.

42-year-old Mike Bouffard of Saline appeared in 53rd District Court Monday where a judge determined there was enough evidence to send his case to Livingston County’s Circuit Court. Bouffard is charged with a single count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.

Bouffard is the owner of The Original Mikey’s Burgers & Fries in Howell, which opened up on Grand River in February. He was previously a partner at now-closed locations in Genoa Township, Brighton and Hartland. The business appears to have been closed since the alleged incident on July 10th involving a parking lot altercation with a 20-year-old employee who maintains Bouffard choked him.

In a social media post, Bouffard explained he was in the process of building the restaurant when he was diagnosed with Pneumonia, which turned into a severe lung infection. He says he lost half his lung and was in a coma for two weeks. While Bouffard was in the hospital and rehab, Mikey’s was being run by other individuals. Bouffard says when he returned, some employees were not following certain processes and procedures, and that there was disrespect and resistance to him.

Other employees have since spoke out against Bouffard, saying he often talked inappropriately such as name calling, made sexual references, had bursts of outrage and basically has no filter. Other allegations include unsafe working conditions and not hiring people based on their physical appearance.

Future court dates for Bouffard have not been set at this time. (DK/JM)