City Council District 5 incumbent files lawsuit

By: Gena Johnson | Warren Weekly | Published August 31, 2023

 Eddie Kabacinski

Eddie Kabacinski


WARREN — Incumbent City Councilman Eddie Kabacinski filed a lawsuit in Macomb County Circuit Court on Aug. 18 against three candidates, the Warren Election Commission and the Warren city clerk for allowing those candidates on this year’s primary election ballot.

Kabacinski, who came in fourth place in the primary race, has named the top vote-getter, Henry Newnan, and second-place finisher Brittani Tringali in the lawsuit. Both Newnan and Tringali will be on the ballot for the general election in November. Third-place finisher Jay Michael Jackson was also a named defendant.

According to the civil complaint, the order of finish — with Newnan, Tringali and Jackson coming in first, second and third respectively, and Kabacinski coming in fourth — “Constitutes a criminal fraud that has been perpetuated upon the good and decent people in the 5th Council District for the city of Warren by having ineligible and unqualified candidates voted upon the primary election ballot.”

In the complaint, Kabacinski contends that information in public records searches indicated Newnan no longer resides at the Warren address he listed on the application when he filed for candidacy, but rather resides in Royal Oak.

“I have a lawyer investigating it (Kabacinski’s claims). I’ve lived at the same house in Warren for 30 years. And the documentation he sent by certified mail came to that very same address,” Newnan said. “The research that he gathered indicates the Gail (Warren) address is my current address.”

Newnan further explained his reaction to the lawsuit.

“I don’t think he has anything on me whatsoever. He also attacked the other two candidates who got more votes than he did, which makes me presume he is basically a sore loser,” Newnan said. “I came in first, and I guess he just can’t handle the truth.”

Kabacinski contends in his complaint Tringali has used various aliases, committed felonies, and currently does not live in Warren but in the state of Georgia, therefore, making her ineligible to run for Warren City Council.

“First of all, I am eligible to run.  If I wasn’t eligible, then I would have been disqualified many months ago,” said Tringali. “The other allegations he is claiming are fictitious. I never lived in North Carolina. I never lived or did any crimes in any of the states (he said). Nor did I use the aliases he is claiming.”

Tringali expressed disappointment with Kabacinski’s behavior as a sitting council member.

“Is this what your time and effort go into, causing drama and chaos?” said Tringali. “I thought you were supposed to uphold this city with dignity, honor and integrity.”

Tringali refutes the characterizations Kabacinski alleges in his complaint.

“I am a part-time student at Wayne State (University) in the social work program. I volunteer at my church and other church organizations. I coach basketball,” said Tringali. “I am a single mom with two boys, who works hard, very hard, to make a better life for my children.”

Tringali plans further action.

“I have contacted to dispute the information Eddie Kabacinski was provided and will have an attorney do the same thing,” said Tringali.

Jay Michael Jackson was also named in the lawsuit. According to the complaint, Kabacinski contends Jackson was ineligible because he is currently serving as a Warren Police Department chaplain and as the city of Warren Crime Commission’s sergeant-at-arms.

Jackson said, “I was appointed to the Crime Commission, I was not elected. And upon me winning the election, I would have been stepping down from the Crime Commission. According to the (Warren) city charter, I could run but once elected, I would have to step down. I don’t think he understood that much.

“I truly believe Eddie had a problem getting beat in the election, especially by a first-timer like myself,” Jackson said.

Jackson added, “The people in District 5 want somebody that’s going to be transparent, willing to work for them, willing to listen to them, and also willing to make himself available to them. That has not been the case for the last four years.”

Also named in the lawsuit are Warren City Clerk Sonja Buffa and the Warren Election Commission composed of Warren City Attorney Ethan Vinson, Warren City Assessor Jennifer Czeiszperger and Buffa.

“It comes with the territory,” Vinson said when asked about the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, Kabacinski has no attorney of record and is representing himself. As stated in the complaint, the remedy he seeks is, “City of Warren Clerk and city of Warren Election Commission to remove candidate Henry Newnan, candidate Brittani Tringali, and candidate Jay Michael Jackson all (from the ballot) as ineligible and unqualified from the votes cast from Tuesday, 08 August 2023 on the primary election ballot.”

The complaint further asks the court to “Order Eddie Kabacinski as the only remaining candidate that is eligible and qualified per the city charter of Warren.”

Kabacinski also wants $135,638.64 in damages, which the complaint states is “The equivalent to the amount of the four-year term of service on the city of Warren Council.”

He is also requesting the defendants be fined for each civil infraction. The fines are $10,000, $1,000 and $500 for each violation.

Calls made to Kabacinski were not returned.

Oral arguments were scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5 in Macomb County Circuit Court before Judge James Biernat Jr., after the Warren Weekly went to press.