Shelby TownshipAugust 29, 2012
State police, USPS investigate Shelby Township campaign literature
By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer
The campaigning for the Aug. 7 Shelby Township primaries could have ramifications beyond deciding nominees for the Nov. 6 general election.
The Michigan State Police and the United States Postal Service are investigating a possible illegal mailing sent out during the campaign, which could be in violation of a state law citing “harassment” and “malicious intent.”
“A statute exists that you shall not mail things with malicious intent, and that is what we are investigating,” Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Joseph White said Aug. 29.
White could not comment on the exact nature of the malicious intent because his investigation is ongoing, but he did say that the investigation was focused on one particular mailer.
“Harassment encompasses (malicious intent),” White said. “(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.
“The post office and state police contacted me, and both asked if I wanted to press charges,” Stathakis said. “And I said, ‘Yes.’”
Bob Leman, who ran against Stathakis for the Republican nomination in the Aug. 7 primary, and David Erickson, Stathakis’ opponent in the Nov. 6 general election, said they had no knowledge of any investigation and had not been contacted by the USPS or the MSP.
Stathakis said he believed the investigation centers on a piece of literature that was sent out by a group called Taxpayers Protecting Shelby.
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 group, Leman declined to comment, and Erickson said he had never been contacted by anyone from the group and did not know anyone associated with it.
“I am in no way associated with that group,” Erickson said. “If I knew of anything that could help the state police with an investigation, I would come forward with that.”
The mailer featured 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.
“I was surprised to see a negative piece,” Stathakis said of his reaction when he first saw the mailer. “I was surprised someone would write something like that and shocked that they would use my address on it.”
White said that the scope of the “harassment” exceeds what is in normal campaign literature, and this investigation was unique. He also stated that the “content” of the mailer made it stand out and was the cause of the investigation.
“Not this particular one, no,” White said when asked if the MSP regularly conducts investigations similar to this into campaign literature.
White said part of the investigation is into whether or not the illicit mailer could have been done by accident, and that would be part of the information he forwards to Macomb County Prosecutor Erik Smith in “ a couple of weeks.”