In late July, a judge denied Macomb Township attorney Frank Cusumano’s motion to remove Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn from office.

In late July, a judge denied Macomb Township attorney Frank Cusumano’s motion to remove Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn from office.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

Motion denied to remove Macomb Township supervisor

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published August 21, 2019


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — An attempt to remove Macomb Township’s top elected official has failed.

Macomb Township attorney Frank Cusumano recently lost his pursuit to have Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn removed from office.

Cusumano claims that Dunn didn’t fill in her precinct number on her affidavit of identity when she filed for re-election in 2016. The legal action is known as “quo warranto.”

A status conference was scheduled for Aug. 14. That came prior to a July 29 opinion and order signed by Macomb County Circuit Court Judge James Biernat Jr. denying Cusumano’s motion to remove Dunn, thus closing the case.

Court documents show that on Dunn’s affidavit of identity, she provided her name and address, but not the precinct number.

Dunn’s response was that a person’s residence automatically dictates their precinct.

“It’s a very minute thing that he’s picking on,” she said. “Why waste everyone’s time if it’s for something that tiny?”

Biernat Jr. ruled Cusumano’s claim was not valid.

Quo warranto is used to resolve a dispute over whether a specific person has the legal right to hold the public office that he or she occupies, not to evaluate the person’s performance in the office.

“I had just moved to my condo and I came across that, so I looked to see if it was the same precinct I was in before,” Dunn said. “I finished it, signed my name and totally forgot about checking with the Clerk’s Office. Even the Clerk’s Office didn’t catch it.”

Biernat wrote that Michigan courts have determined that the purpose behind the affidavit of identity is to insist upon full and complete identification of candidates for public office.

In February, Cusumano filed a motion for leave to proceed in quo warranto action for Dunn’s removal.

The following month, a brief was entered of the defendant’s response to the motion.

“A person’s precinct is necessarily determined by their residence,” Biernat said. “There is no dispute the defendant properly provided correct residence address on the affidavit of identity.”

On Nov. 14, 2018, Cusumano applied to the Michigan attorney general to have the attorney general bring a quo warranto action to remove Dunn from office. On Dec. 7, 2018, the Attorney General’s Office notified Cusumano that the attorney general was not persuaded that the circumstances warranted his participation.

In August 2018, Cusumano filed a similar lawsuit to have former Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci removed from office. In that lawsuit, Cusumano alleged that Bucci accepted bribes, disqualifying himself from holding office, and was ineligible for the 2016 ballot.

Cusumano said he was disappointed with the recent decision and intends to file a motion for reconsideration.

“She’s violated election law twice,” Cusumano said.

In 2013, Dunn pleaded no contest to election fraud.