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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 02/12/14
Ray residents ask for
action on alleged perjury
by CHRIS GRAYRay Township residents are seeking action against Treasurer Doug Stier, claiming he doesn't live in the township.
Observer Staff Writer
Stier, however, argues that he does reside within township limits, and is only visiting his parents in another township to take care of them.
The issue first surfaced in 2012 prior to the primaries. Stier's affidavit for the election has a Ray Township address listed as his residence. A letter to Clerk Paula Artman dated June 21, 2012 challenged Stier's registration under Michigan election law 168.512.
William Kehrer Jr., who wrote the letter, said he brought it forward after being at his son's house in Macomb Township and noticing Stier and his vehicle in the area.
"Everybody started putting two and two together and we just knew it wasn't right," Kehrer said.
Michigan law states a person is not eligible to hold a township office unless they are a registered and qualified elector within the township. When asked, Stier said he went through a divorce and relocated from his original home as a result. He said he now stays on Romeo Plank Road in Ray Township.
He said he has spent time at the home of his parents in Macomb Township to help care for them, something he said he has done prior to his divorce.
"If they (the residents) have a problem with that, then shame on them," Stier said. "Family comes first."
The law for challenging registration gives the challenged elector 30 days to respond in person or through a letter, with Stier submitting a letter. He said attorneys have been involved, and as far as he knew they said to leave it alone.
Michigan law says if a township clerk is made aware of illegal or fraudulent registration, they can make a full investigation to determine if the allegations are true. They can do so by enlisting the aid of law enforcement.
Artman said she has approached the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office about the matter but hasn't received any word on if an investigation is going forward.
"If you lie on your affidavit it is perjury," she said.
Perjury is a felony punishable by a fine up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both. If Stier resigned or was removed, a new treasurer would be appointed by the Board of Trustees.
State Representative Ken Goike was contacted by the group to see if an investigation can take place. Goike said he would assist residents in receiving services from state agencies like the attorney general.
"We need to make sure that the system is supposed to be working right, and we're doing what we get paid to do by constituents," he said. "Maybe it's just an accusation, but that is what the court system is supposed to do."
Kevin Brown is part of the group of residents accusing Stier. He said a recall effort shouldn't be necessary when they've done their own investigations to try and show Stier isn't in the township.
"It shouldn't take this long," he said. "Nobody wants to spend any money doing what we did."
The group hired private investigators to follow Stier in February 2013. According to their report, Stier's vehicle was seen parked at the rear of the garage at the Macomb Township home multiple times and wouldn't leave until the next morning.
The investigators claim they saw Stier in the home through windows at late hours of the evening. The report also details inspecting discarded mail with Stier's name on it along with the Macomb Township address.
Brown's wife, Susan, is a part of the group and ran against Stier for treasurer in the 2012 election. She said they aren't pursuing the matter out of revenge or retaliation.
Supervisor Charlie Bohm said as far as he knows Stier is living within the township, and is aware of Stier spending time at his parent's home.
"As far as I know he is living with his brother on Romeo Plank," he said. "It was an issue some time ago, but I'm not aware of any current goings-on."
Bohm said if it was proven that Stier was not residing in the township he wouldn't have an issue with any investigations or recourse. However, he said he believes the accusation is politics as usual.
"I've got no problem with the job that he does, as far as I'm concerned, in an elected position you're only required to do the job, and that is being done," he said.