July 25, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Challenge dismissed over candidate Warren Evans' residency

Evans (Steve Perez / The Detroit News)

Detroit— Former Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans can resume his bid for county executive after a judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging his residency on Friday.

But his campaign to be the county’s CEO still faces a similar challenge filed by another rival that will be heard in court on Monday.

Wayne Circuit Judge Robert Colombo dismissed a lawsuit filed by former Canton Township Supervisor and Republican Thomas Yack that challenged Evan’s residency Friday.

Colombo said the lawsuit was filed too late and Evans met residency requirements under the county charter.

Yack was at the hearing, but Evans was not.

Evans’ attorney, John Pirich, said it was a “both a happy day and a frustrating day.”

“It’s sad we had to go through this,” he said. “We’re glad the judge issued the ruling he did.”

In his complaint, Yack alleged Evans isn’t eligible for the office because he didn’t live in the county for 30 days before the April 22 deadline to file.

Evans moved from Salem Township in Washtenaw County into Grosse Pointe Park in January, according to Richard Kaufman, Evans’ campaign manager. Evans then moved into a Detroit apartment April 1.

John Harrington, Yack’s attorney, said his client was disappointed.

“We don’t think Mr. Evans has met the requirements,” he said. “We think he simply saw a political opportunity and tried to jump in at the 11th hour.”

Harrington said his client hasn’t decided he if will appeal.

Evans, who is also a former Detroit police chief, is one of the frontrunners in a crowded Democratic field in the race.

Other candidates include incumbent Robert Ficano, state Rep. Phil Cavanagh of Redford Township; Wayne County Commissioner Kevin McNamara of Belleville; and six other Democratic candidates.

Cavanagh has filed a similar challenge to Yack’s. A hearing before Colombo is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday.

“For far too long, Wayne County residents have suffered from leaders who have bent the rules for their own benefit and ignored the needs of the community,” Cavanagh said Friday at a press conference..

“This lawsuit is about upholding the law. Filing this lawsuit is one way for us to show that we’ve had enough of government leaders who operate under a different set of rules than everyone else.”

cramirez@detroitnews.com