Spranger appealing ouster as Macomb County clerk

Mike Martindale
Associated Press

Troy – The former Macomb County Clerk removed from office for falsifying her residency on election campaign applications filed a formal notice Tuesday that she would appeal her ouster.

Karen Spranger could not be reached for comment Tuesday but others familiar with her challenge, including Macomb County Corporation Counsel John Schapka, confirmed she filed a notice of intent with the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Schapka, who was served with a copy of the filing, said his office would not oppose the initial intent to appeal, part of a legal process that is expected to require several months to complete.

“This was predictable,” said Schapka. “We expected this to happen today. The county has no interest in delay tactics or slowing down her appeal.”

Officials said this is the first in a series of steps Spranger must take in her hope to overturn last month’s ruling by St. Clair Circuit Judge Daniel J. Kelly that she falsely claimed a Warren address to run for office. Kelly heard the matter after the entire Macomb Circuit bench recused itself.

Spranger must still file a legal brief detailing her arguments against Kelly’s action after a transcript is filed with Macomb Circuit Court. Spranger ordered the transcript April 4 and the court reporter has 91 days to file it.

Spranger then will have 56 days from the date of the transcript filing to file her brief but could also seek an extension from the court. If she fails to file, the Court of Appeals could dismiss her appeal outright.

After she files her appeal, Macomb County has the option, but isn’t required, to file a response within 35 days.

After all of the legal steps are met, the Appeals Court can decide whether to consider arguments or not.

A county investigation determined there were no utilities at the address on Hudson Avenue owned by Spranger and a sister. Neighbors reported not seeing anyone living at the house for several months.

The same Warren address is listed as Spranger’s residence on Tuesday’s notice of appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Spranger’s application included a $375 payment and a simple request to “move this court for immediate dismissal of Quo Warranto (Kelly’s action in March) for “acts of Ultoa Vitres” – Latin for acting without authority. No explanation for that legal premise was included in the filing.

The filing also stated Spranger is entitled to and never waived any rights to demand a jury trial.

Spranger, a Republican, won the November 2016 election by a narrow margin, defeating Democrat Fred Miller by 635 votes — 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent. Political observers credited her win in part to President Donald Trump’s popularity in Macomb County, which was seen as a national bellwether in the 2016 presidential race.

Since taking office in January 2017, Spranger had been embroiled in a series of political fights with other officials and clashed with the county workers’ union over rules for the 85 employees she supervised.


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