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Macomb County leaders say clerk's "false statement" about residency are grounds for removal

Macomb Daily
Photo of Karen Spranger protesting smart meters in odd costume prior to her election

Macomb County leaders want a judge to legally disqualify its embattled county clerk from holding office.

The request is actually a legal counter-move on the county’s part, part of a lawsuit County Clerk/Register of Deeds Karen Spranger filed against it earlier this summer.

But County Executive Mark Hackel says as part of the county’s due diligence in that case, it has uncovered evidence Spranger lied about her address when she filed to run for office last year. He says that “false statement” is grounds for removal from office.

“I mean, there’s a pretty compelling case to establish that the question has to be asked,” said Hackel.

The county points to Warren city records showing the residence gave hasn’t received utilities for years and has been deemed “uninhabitable.”

Hackel says this is about whether Spranger meets a simple legal requirement to run for office. But Spranger’s lawyer says she lived there “at the time” she signed the affidavit and called the county’s move politically motivated.

Hackel denies that, but he acknowledges that Spranger’s brief tenure has been controversial, to say the least. Among other things, she’s fired her own top deputies and challenged the ban on weapons in county municipal buildings.

“This has nothing to do with a personal issue or her ability to do the job,” Hackel said. “All those are questions that are out there. People keep asking, and there’s concerns, there’s no question about it.”

Hackel says a “criminal investigation” into potential perjury is underway. He also says Spranger was supposed to submit a proposed budget for her department weeks ago, but failed to do so.

Spranger’s initial lawsuit asked the court to resolve several matters she’s fought with county officials over, including “who is the boss” of her departments. A hearing is set for Aug. 14th in Macomb County Circuit Court.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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