County clerk files complaint against Google over subpoena

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published November 8, 2017

 Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has filed a complaint against Google in hopes of squashing a subpoena from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has filed a complaint against Google in hopes of squashing a subpoena from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

File photo by Deb Jacques

MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has filed a lawsuit against Google, Inc., in an attempt to squash a subpoena filed by the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office to get her account information.

A subpoena was filed Sept. 19 in the 41-B District Court in Clinton Township by the Sheriff’s Office that asked for all the information associated with Spranger’s Google email address, including subscriber information and IP addresses from where the email account was accessed.

Google emailed Spranger in regard to the subpoena and gave Spranger seven days to file an objection. Spranger asked for a copy of the filings and received the subpoena with several pieces of information redacted, including the court official who signed it.

The subpoena comes as a Warren resident last year alleged possible perjury by Spranger tied to her election affidavit not having her actual address on it. The Sheriff’s Office began a criminal probe shortly after.

Spranger alleges in her complaint against Google that there is no pending case against her at the district court, therefore the subpoena is invalid. Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said he does not know the legality for an investigative subpoena, but there is an active case number in his office despite there not being a case number in court.

“This is related to the question of residency at the time she filed for candidacy,” Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said. “We are still in the investigatory stages.”

In an email, Spranger, who is representing herself in the complaint against Google, said she cannot comment at this time. Google did not respond to a request for comment.

The investigation by the Sheriff’s Office is separate from court proceedings between Spranger and Macomb County that also calls into question whether Spranger lied on her election affidavit about her address in Warren.

In June, Spranger filed a lawsuit against Macomb County, listing numerous complaints, from her alleged violation of the county’s IT policy to seeking the court’s judgement as it pertains to her duties and authority as county clerk.

On Aug. 1, the county announced a countersuit that questions Spranger’s residency on her affidavit. Spranger was elected county clerk in last November’s election.

The countersuit, which was filed on Sept. 26, asks the court to determine if Spranger was legitimately elected due to her possibly not living on Hudson Avenue in Warren as she stated.

Warren city records indicate the water service was turned off at the home in Spranger’s name on April 1, 2014.

Spranger’s attorney in that case, Frank Cusumano Jr., filed a motion Aug. 11 for all Macomb County Circuit Court judges to recuse themselves as Spranger also serves as a clerk of the circuit court. The case was then transferred to St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Kelly, who ruled the county’s countersuit was permissible.

In a brief filed Sept. 7 by Cusumano, Spranger answered several accusations on her address, admitting there was no water or electricity service at the Warren house due to finances. She also admitted to using her Michigan Bridge Card in western Wayne County, where the county alleges the card was used exclusively between November 2011 and the end of 2016.

In both instances, Spranger denied that the facts were relevant to her residency.