Here’s a cautionary Tale for the normally sane who might be tempted to drink the Trump kool-aid again.
Karen Spranger, the now former Macomb County (Michigan) Clerk/Register of Deeds, was the center of a political storm that started the day she was elected as a Tea Party Republican last November. She had never run for, or held any previous political office, and some attributed her unlikely election to the prevailing mood of Macomb County voters who bought into the Trump movement – she was new to politics, so that had to be good.
The drama finally ended last Tuesday when a judge ordered Spranger removed from office for lying about her residency.
Like Trump, this political novice thought that she had complete authority over her office, and could do whatever she wanted. That included interfering with the normal functioning of her office in numerous ways, like firing anybody she wanted without going through human resources. The result was an office in disarray with a backlog of work that required a judge to intervene and order a swift resolution. (Which didn’t happen – the backlog remains for others to fix)
During Spranger’s fifteen months in office, there were 43 occurrences that contributed to an atmosphere of chaos within the office, and convinced many in county government that she lacked the requisite competence for the job. (Sound familiar?)
A sample of her brief but dramatic tenure:
- Had her computer access cut off for a time after she allowed non-county workers to use it, resulting in a fine for ethics violations.
- Fired the two top deputies who had helped her get elected, and who are now suing her.
- Asked the county to fund an independent council so she could displace, reassign or demote unionized workers. The request was rejected.
- Totaled her county car when she rear-ended another vehicle.
- Sued by the county for obstructing a plan to move 2 of her offices to a new building.
- She sued the county to lift a ban on weapons in her office.
- She sued the county to have the court to declare her as “The Boss” in her office.
- Caused the aforementioned work backlog which dismayed residents and confounded local businesses.
Running parallel to all of this was the charge that Spranger lied about her county residency. When an investigation was finally undertaken, it found that the house in which she claimed to be living had five feet of garbadge piled up throughout, making it impossible enter. A bulldozed had to punch an opening in the exterior to gain entry.
Spranger is now facing three criminal cases, including battery for kicking an employee and taking a non-employee to a conference in Washington, D.C. at the expense of the county – in addition to perjury for signing an affidavit with knowledge that what she reported was not true.
But as might be expected, Ms. Spranger is not going quietly. In a rambling document filed in federal court, she is seeking to have her position returned, and is demanding an immediate investigation and audit into possible crimes against the clerk’s office.
The document appears to be seeking intervention by Gov. Rick Snyder and makes mention of the use of the Michigan National Guard to “execute, suppress insurrection and repel invasion.”
The 11-page document is titled “administrative claim notice of administrative overthrow of a constitutional office clerk of court of Macomb County by rogue county agents.” Spranger wants the return of “all illegally removed files by those public officials who are in insurrection and rebellion and who have gone on strike against the constitution. Who have withheld and removed books, records, files from my County Clerk office.”
The topic listed on the document is “overthrow of a Constitutional Public Office violation” and the investigation and injunction would be to “stop the overthrow of a Constitutional Public Office.” The letterhead on the document is listed “class, Rodney-Dale, Private Attorney General, 14th Amendment section 4, Constitutional Bounty Hunter” out of Cleveland, N.C. Rodney Dale Class is listed as a “private attorney general” from North Carolina on the AntiCorruption Society website.
The document is filed to the attention of Gov. Snyder; U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart (whose district covers West Virginia); David Gelios, the former head of the Detroit FBI; the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, and President Donald Trump. It also lists a number of county officials who it claims violated the constitution and are guilty of insurrection and rebellion and “are committing mutiny”.
County Executive Mark Hackel appropriately labeled the filing as “gibberish.”
The best possible outcome would be for Karen Spranger to get the help she obviously needs. It’s also a cautionary tale of warning about making uninformed assumptions concerning what’s best for a community, state – or country.
Source: Detroit Free Press & michiganradio.org