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Tempers Flare as Township Reels from Allegations of Election Fraud

Allegations against the Macomb Township clerk drew heated words from a crowd of residents and township employees at Wednesday's board of trustees meeting.

A “vicious political stunt” and “ploy to gain votes for the opposition” were only two of the phrases used by Macomb Township officials Wednesday to describe made against the township and county clerks. 

Stemming from a lawsuit filed by Macomb Township resident Mark Maiuri on July 19, these allegations call to question the validity of more than 50 signatures on 's nominating petitions and claim wrongful denial of a Freedom of Information Act request.

For more than an hour, township employees, representatives of the township’s employee unions and residents addressed the board on this controversial issue, arguing both for and against the integrity of the clerk’s office and its ability to supervise the upcoming Aug. 7 primary election.

The lawsuit hinges on two points: that the clerk’s office did knowingly accept invalid signatures on Dunn’s nominating petitions as well as deny a FOIA request for a letter that the lawsuit suggests may support the allegations of fraud.

Maiuri, who was present at Wednesday’s meeting, once again requested the letter's release.

“If there is nothing to hide, then the light of day should support you,” he said. “Or maybe there is something to hide and it's called election fraud. Maybe the letter supports the allegations set forth in the lawsuit against the township. The public has the right and deserves to know that our liberties are not being trampled on.”

Residents request third party to oversee primary

Maiuri’s subsequent request to have a third party oversee the August primary election was supported by .

“I’ve been going door-to-door for several weeks now and the hot topic as of yesterday and today is the news story that broke about the alleged voter fraud,” Missig said. “I don’t know if there is any credence to it. My only thought is we don’t want to lose the trust of our citizens here and it might be a good idea if we had somebody come in on Aug. 7 and perhaps oversee the election.”

Deputy Clerk Jim Gelios, Elections Supervisor Ed Carey and Records Supervisor Charles Pierce all rose to defend the ability of the clerk office’s to oversee a fair elections process.

“I am here tonight to defend my professional reputation, that of Mr. Koehs and that of our dedicated staff in the elections division,” Carey said. In response to the lawsuit’s claim that a handwriting expert found “extensive fraud” in the signatures on Dunn’s petitions, Carey said, “I find that statement not only utterly preposterous, but personally offensive.”

While Carey admitted finding duplicate signatures, unregistered names and “other deficiencies” on Dunn’s petitions, he said the same issues were noted on the petitions of “just about every candidate” and that those signatures were not counted in the final tally.

Deputy clerk calls out 'Mickey Mouse' signature on Imbronone petition

To illustrate this point, Gelios invited residents questioning the validity of Dunn’s signatures to look at petitions, where one individual has signed his or her name as “Mickey Mouse.”

“My staff did not count this signature, nor did we file any lawsuits or accuse anyone of fraud,” Koehs said, referring to the section of Michigan election law which states that by signing a petition, a candidate acknowledges that it is to his or her best knowledge and belief that each signature is “the genuine signature of the person purporting to sign the petition.”   

“I guess she met Mickey Mouse then because Mickey Mouse signed her petition,” Gelios said. “This is a misdemeanor under Michigan law.”

Of having her petitions cited in this lawsuit Dunn said, “This is primarily a political attempt to smear my good name and all of the good work done by this board to allow us to be one of the most financial stable communities in this state.”

That the lawsuit was filed 64 days after the deadline for challenging petition signatures and less than a month before the election date suggests this suit was filed “solely to generate negative publicity toward myself and Ms. Dunn,” Koehs said. “I refuse to have my staff, myself or this Township wrongfully accused by this vicious political stunt.”  

While Supervisor Mark Grabow voiced support for having the county clerk oversee the August primary – if only to "set the record straight" – it is unknown at this time if such action will occur.

Watch this meeting in full, or in part on the township website.

Is this lawsuit a 'vicious political stunt' or a valid question of township transparency? What do you think?

Mary Jo Imbronone July 26, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Danielle, please review Janet dunn's supervisor sigs The double sigs were not crossed off. Yes I overlooked the mickey mouse signature, but I am not trained or paid to do so. No it is not about revenge, it's time for change. Johnson is a political consultant, just like Dick Saubaugh who was retained by micheal koehs. That's politics. Yes. It gets nasty. The vision of the new candidates are clear. Seek out business, create jobs, make people want to live by their jobs. Commercial tax revenue is much larger than residential. More business, more business taxes, more money for twp. With that revenue means more amenities for residents. Actively seek business example is m59 south side partridge creek, walmart, lakeside, the south side of macomb on m59 is vacant. Let's get a city planner with vision and growth. I don't have children, but don't you want to see a better macomb for your kids and grandchildren? It's time for some young, aggressive candidates to bring macomb back. Yes. It's a great place to live, it can be better. Government has to be run like business. Bottom line is dollars. Let's get developers back, small businesses and generate a huge tax revenue It can happen, but not with this current board. They have become complacent. Why go to Clinton, shelby or Rochester? Keep our dollars here. For our residents. We are not bad people, we have worked hard many years and built thriving businesses. Help us take macomb to a new level. It's just common sense..
Danielle Closs July 26, 2012 at 09:21 PM
you don't have to be trained to see Mickey Mouse! Really? "It's time for some young, aggressive candidates..." Saw Ms. Imbronone's ads on the road today, she is not young, young is <40. And it's apparent she's aggressive, by making the false accusations, makes no one want to vote for that. Who wants to vote for someone who can't even get her facts straight before starting a smear campaign? You guys had so much time to "investigate" Dunn's signatures, you should have spent more time checking your own making sure they were good, 50% invalid is TERRIBLE collection!
Kyle H July 26, 2012 at 10:45 PM
It is pretty horrendous the way that mr Koehs treated mr grabow last night. If there were duplicate signatures why not cross them off. And why won't he just release this letter. What is he hiding ?
KEN July 27, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Lisa , wrong about the weeds...... and D. Closs you must really THINK your something I read your rude remarks about myself and the others (attacking someones age are you kidding me?) you remind me of some juvenile that resorts to name calling because that is really all you have to offer.
Bethany July 27, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Koehs seems to be a bit sketchy, but he sure has some snazzy shirts.
Mary Jo Imbronone July 27, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Danielle if that is not an alias. The truth is one. This board needs to go. The residents know it. They are very smart . We don't smear we speak the truth and the voters know it .
Tom Tocco July 27, 2012 at 03:49 AM
The whole mudslinging in politics is funny. Freedom of speech is one thing, but come on. Anyone that knows Cathy knows she has integrity. As a voter you not only have the right to do your home work, but owe it to the other residents. People are afraid of change, but it is necessary. Look at Detroit people were comfortable with Young, but more worried about change. He was there a long time. Hmmmm. I don't know Koehs so I cannot say anything about him. Ask yourself before August 7th if you want someone that represents you the people. I know I would be proud to have Cathy Imbronone represent this township.
whatthefrack July 27, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Why hasn't Imbronone filed any campaign contributions statements with the county? Is she afraid everyone will see who is REALLY backing her and who is paying for those hundreds of signs littering the township? Anyone remember the multiple lawsuits that she and her sister brought upon the township? The ones where they refused to obey regulations and ordinances while trying to open their tavern? How much did that cost the township? How can someone with no experience in government even think that they are capable of succeeding in such a high position as township clerk? I shudder at the thought.
Nancy July 27, 2012 at 01:44 PM
whaththefrack, what'd just get to work at the township offices? Go do your work instead of wasting your time with your false statements
whatthefrack July 27, 2012 at 05:13 PM
What false statements?
Danielle Closs July 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM
http://www.candgnews.com/news/chamber-commerce-calls-dunn-more-qualified-supervisor-grabow An independent analysis of the candidates qualifications...Imbronone has the second LOWEST that can be given out and Michael has THE highest. Hmmm, decisions decisions, NOT!
Danielle Closs July 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM
http://www.candgnews.com/news/chamber-commerce-calls-dunn-more-qualified-supervisor-grabow
Danielle Closs July 27, 2012 at 10:20 PM
none, don't worry about her :)
Shannon July 28, 2012 at 02:57 AM
“Our evaluation process is truly bi-partisan,” said Grace Shore, CEO of the county chamber. “This process is not about party affiliation. Our committee looks for individuals with the skill set and innovation to move our state and county forward.” That's a very true and accurate statement...considering that all the candidates are running as Republicans. Nice work, Chamber, for thinking outside the box and not rattling any cages. Keep sticking in the pockets of our current board. "Shocking" that Koehs is the only "preferred" candidate. I hope my fellow residents can read past this continued nonsense and will make educated and thought-out election decisions, based on fact and for candidates who exemply high integrity through their historic actions.
Billy Shears July 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM
It's amazing what a kind and generous guy John Johnson is. He paid for a hand writing expert. He is clearly the puppetmaster of at least four candidates. He has put out press releases and mailings smearing Dunn and Koehs, that his candidate Missig admitted he did not see. Yet, he only appears in one candidates( Missig) campaign finance report. Not John or his son, Little Johnson, appear in Cathy Imbronone's report. Must be getting a lot of free food and drink at the Tavern. As far as the Chef's hat goes Ms Imbronone, you have a very short memory. It didn't seem to bother you when Brennan was crowned king. I read the piece and I agree with you, the residents are smart.The piece was not only entertaining, but all points on each candidate were all proven facts, look it up. I'm sure the voters will figure out the truth.
Lisa Nash July 28, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Well said Billy! I got a chuckle out of Shannon's response this morning, especially the last sentence about "high integrity" and "historical actions". When I started taking a look at the candidates all I had to do was Google the names Grabow, Imbronone, and Michal to see all the lawsuits against the Township. And the allegations now about the Chamber of Commerce? So our Township Election Department and the County Chamber of Commerce are corrupt? What's next, the County Executive's Office?
Shannon July 28, 2012 at 01:53 PM
On the continuing issue of integrity, judge a person by who supports them. Take a look at the County Clerk's Election Department website (http://campaignfinance.macombcountymi.gov/). For contributions to Mr. Koehs: 1 of 13 contributors are Township residents, the rest are vendors to the Township. For Mrs. Goodhue, our Treasurer: the three banks that the Township deals with are her contributors, Huntington, Comerica and Flagstar (via their PACs). The winner is Mr. Bucci: $17,475 in contributions, with the majority from individuals associated with engineering firms that are paid to review Township projects (Spalding Dedecker, Giffels and our Township staff engineer.) Makes me wonder if the "status quo" in Macomb is similar to the "status quo" by Mr. Ficano's Wayne County? Is this "business friendly," as referenced by Ms. Shore of the Chamber, keeping friends in position to continue to do work for the Township and receive contributions from them?
Billy Shears July 28, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Shannon, Mr. Ficano really? FYI 42 of the 66 contributions to Ms. Imbronone are from non residents. One third of Mr.Christ's money came from Matty Moroun, and Mr. Grabow wasn't even smart enough to file on time, so there's nothing view. Three of the candidates have sued the Twp. numerous times and clearly have an ax to grind. This is who you want running our Twp. If Grabow and Imbronone get in, then it's welcome to Detroit North. Macomb Twp. will be up for sale. All business will have to go through John Johnson, and everyone knows how ethical he is.
John Johnson July 29, 2012 at 07:02 PM
even more of reason not to eat at your place probably drunk doing it....
John Johnson July 29, 2012 at 07:17 PM
(3/5) The other two candidates Maria Napilitano has a great record of keeping finances together...NOT...lol... can we say over 360,000 in bankruptcy. I hope she watches the townships budgets..... Not to mention her facebook page is available for friend request, I heard girls gone wild was casting on her site.......And what about Renee Micheal's, she trashes our land and decides to run for payback because of previous lawsuits, thats definitely the right reasons..... And last but not least there ring Leader John Johnson, what a great human being, I mean he was a political crook in warren and they let him go and told him not to come back. He lies to people and ruins city's. He can't be in politics himself due to his scandalized past so he finds drunks, and people willing to believe his lies and then runs them for office......What a stand up guy.
John Johnson July 29, 2012 at 07:17 PM
(2/5) Lets move on to Mark Grabow who only got in office due to a heavy democratic election when Obama won. When in office he only showed up 20 to 30 hours a week. So over 4 yrs we payed him 440,000 plus to have a name tag on his door…. That’s awesome…..lol. The other two candidates Maria Napilitano has a great record of keeping finances together...NOT...lol... can we say over 360,000 in bankruptcy. I hope she watches the townships budgets..... Not to mention her facebook page is available for friend request, I heard girls gone wild was casting on her site....... And what about Renee Micheal's, she trashes our land and decides to run for payback because of previous lawsuits, thats definitely the right reasons.....
John Johnson July 29, 2012 at 07:17 PM
(1/5) I just truly find it comical that everybody is ripping on the current board, they have saved us money, put us in a surplus and made the township prosper while they where in office. All the posts above are nothing but other candidates having friends write blogs and its childish. To have such statistics posted on a site like this is nothing but opponents of the current board writing to sway the voters. So lets look at hard facts. Kathy is running because she had problems running and starting her business Tina's. She cannot publicly speak, she doesn't know how to vote or hasn't because her voting record is terrible. She sued the township several times, yet lost every time, so I wonder if she is so concerned with the township then why waste there money in court? She probably can't even answer that one. Her sister on the other hand which acts likes she is smart might be, but lets not forget she is drunk 95% of the time, so I will eliminate that idea completely.
Jenny Whalen (Editor) July 29, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Several comments were deleted for violating Patch's terms of use. These terms can be reviewed here: http://macomb.patch.com/terms
Steven July 30, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I was at Tinas Tavern on saturday July 28. The owners had hired a band. Whil the band played outside we ate dinner inside. Mary Jo made many rude comments about the band she hired. Loudly, and to anyone who would listen. The bands cime? They played rock and roll instead of motown. The band was told to turn it down, and play motown many times. The band turned it down, but didnt know any motown. They made the best of it till Mary finally literally pulled the plug on them in the middle of a song. I felt bad for the band, who were only doing what they were hired to do. If she does the same amount of homework in a political position as she does at her bar, if she plans on treating the citizens nearly as bad as the people she hired to play at her bar, the people of macomb township should do themselves a favor, and vote in mickey mouse instead.
Milano July 30, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I was there Saturday as well and could not believe that MJ actually Schiavo'd the band in the middle of a song! Milano
Frank Cusumano August 01, 2012 at 07:00 PM
I think it is a throw away lawsuit that will be dismissed after the primary. Here is the link to my scribd.com account to the print out from the County Clerk's Office. Take a look. Not much activity huh? Seems to me that if this litigant was serious he would be asking for a TRO and Preliminary Injunction. I have not read the lawsuit, but I would bet $1 (not $10,000 like Romney casually does during the GOP debates) that it is just a big splash with little or no substance under the election laws. http://www.scribd.com/doc/101767658
Frank Cusumano August 01, 2012 at 07:10 PM
"Schiavo'd?" Here is a lyric the band can play, "Take this job and Schiavo it, I ain't working at Tina's tavern no more...."
Lisa Nash August 02, 2012 at 03:38 AM
So who witnessed the fraud taking place? And who allegedly demonstrated fraudulent actions? Now I am really confused??? http://www.candgnews.com/news/recording-contradicts-election-fraud-lawsuit
Kristin August 04, 2012 at 07:42 PM
MJ - Is it true that if I vote for Cathy I get free food and drink at Tina's?? Lucky for me I am an active Republican in the community and had the pleasure of being able to hear you offer that same treat to others who were in attendance at the Macomb Twp Republicans Q&A held at CMPL or I would have missed out on that great deal!
Danielle Closs August 17, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Besides the fact that you embarassed a band that YOU hired, here's further proof that you're working with a bunch of scum bags and incompetent people....http://macomb.patch.com/articles/macomb-twp-moves-to-refute-election-fraud-allegations-in-court

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