State police turn over campaign investigation to county prosecutor

By: Brad D. Bates | Shelby - Utica News | Published October 3, 2012

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — What most consider junk mail could end in arrest warrants from the Macomb County prosecutor, following a Michigan State Police investigation.

Following a look into campaign literature by the MSP and the United States Postal Service, Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Joseph White said he turned in his findings to the prosecutor for possible “campaign law violations.”

“I gave my investigation to the prosecutor last week,” White said Sept. 28.  “I put my report under campaign law violations, and the prosecutor is going to have to determine what charges to go with.”

“I’m waiting for instructions on whether they give me a warrant or not,” White added.

At the center of the investigation is a possible illegal mailing sent out during the campaigns leading up to the Aug. 7 township primary elections, which could be in violation of a state law, because of “harassment” and “malicious intent.”

“A statute exists that you shall not mail things with malicious intent, and that is what we are investigating,” White said Aug. 29.

‘‘Harassment encompasses (malicious intent),” White added. “(Specifics) will come out upon presentation of the investigation to the (Macomb County) Prosecutor’s Office.”

Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said he had been contacted by officials from the USPS and MSP as part of the investigation, and he told both parties he wished to press charges against whomever was responsible for the mailer.

“It’s not about my election,“ Stathakis said of why he felt it was necessary to involve the MSP and county prosecutor in the case. “It’s about following the rules and regulations that are set up to run campaigns.”

Stathakis said the investigation focused on an anti-Stathakis piece with a return address from Taxpayers Protecting Shelby at 30500 Van Dyke Ave. in Warren, which is the office of Allied Risk Services, a private insurance company where Stathakis is a senior partner.

“This is the first one I ever had like this,” White said of the false return address. “I’ve never seen a charge like this.”

There is no record of a group called Taxpayers Protecting Shelby with the Michigan Secretary of State or the Macomb County Clerk’s Election Department.

When asked about the Taxpayers Protecting Shelby last month, former Shelby Township Police Chief Bob Leman, who opposed Stathakis in the primary, declined to comment.

David Erickson, who is running against Stathakis Nov. 6 as an independent, said no one from Taxpayers Protecting Shelby or any investigators from the MSP or USPS had contacted him.

“They would not be acceptable to me,” Erickson said Sept. 28 when asked if he had contact with anyone claiming to be from Taxpayers Protecting Shelby, after noting that he had not.

“I’m staying true to what I said, and that’s that I will not run a negative campaign. I said I don’t want them and don’t need them.”

Leman could not be reached for comment following the conclusion of the MSP investigation, but said Aug. 29 that he had not been contacted by anyone from the MSP or USPS.

White said part of his investigation was into whether the illicit mailer could have been done by accident.

While he could not comment on what the findings of that part of the investigation were, he did confirm that was part of the materials he gave to the prosecutor.

“I wanted to interview all the parties involved to ascertain whether this was accidental or done on purpose,” White said.

Calls for comment from the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office were not returned at press time.