Karen Spranger residence battle: Sergeant says clerk's 'home' barricaded wall-to-wall with garbage
Sgt. Mark Morfino conducted search warrant at house listed as Spranger's home
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – A judge ruled that Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger was to be removed from the office Tuesday amid a battle over her primary residence.
Throughout Spranger's tenure, Macomb County officials have been fighting her over the house she listed as her primary residence to run for office. When a judge removed her from her position, some of the details listed in the opinion were shocking.
Sgt. Mark Morfino of the Macomb County Sheriff's Office said he was part of a team that executed a search warrant Oct. 25, 2017 at the Hudson home. He said the team found entryways barricaded from the inside by wall-to-wall garbage, feces and animals to a depth of four to five feet.
Macomb County provided the judge with a video that showed the search warrant.
Morfino said the team found mail that had been sent to Spranger at her sister's Clinton Township address, but none that was dated after 2011.
Judge Daniel Kelly pointed to several pieces of evidence that suggest Spranger doesn't primarily live at 7520 Hudson Avenue, which was the residence listed on her application to run for Macomb County clerk. Kelly said the home last had electrical service in April 2015 and natural gas service in July 2015.
In addition, mail sent to the address was returned to the sender by the U.S. Post Office because the property was vacant.
Records from the Department of Health and Human Services show that Spranger used her Bridge Card exclusively in western Wayne County from November 2015 through the end of 2016, Kelly said. Specifically, she regularly shopped at Zerbos Health Foods in Livonia, Kroger in Westland, Better Health Marker in Novi and Plymouth and Costco in Livonia.
Three neighbors of the Hudson home provided witness statements saying nobody had lived at the home for years.
Officials respond to Spranger's removal
Spranger's removal came as Macomb County officials were challenging Spranger's residency in a countersuit to her lawsuit. Kelly issued the order to remove Spranger to the Macomb County Executive's Office.
"It feels like 100 pounds off of my shoulders," Macomb County Deputy Executive Mark Deldin said.
Macomb County officials said Spranger will be forced out when the judge's writ is received, which is likely to be in a few days. Spragner can appeal, but she'll have to leave the office during the appeal process, officials said.
Employees in the clerk's office said human resources workers and county lawyers took Spranger's keys and security badge to remove her from the office.
"I'm confident the judge's ruling is appropriate," Macomb County Board of Commissioners Chair Bob Smith said. "The Board of Commissioners is ready to assist as appropriate or needed."
Full coverage of Karen Spranger
March 13, 2017: Spranger seeks lawyer for court battle with Hackel
June 28, 2017: Spranger's employees working in fear after security removed
Sept. 22, 2017: Spranger accused of moving, hiding computers overnight
Sept. 28, 2017: Judge rules against Spranger in 'toxic work environment' case
Oct. 25, 2017: Spranger caught on video covering up court order
Nov. 9, 2017: Spranger fails to meet judges' backlog deadline
Nov. 21, 2017: Union files motion to hold Spranger in contempt of court
Nov. 29, 2017: Contempt of court hearing held for Spranger
Nov. 30, 2017: Spranger appears before Board of Commissioners
Nov. 30, 2017: Spranger grilled over massive backlog in her office
Dec. 11, 2017: Judge hears arguments on Spranger's firing of employees
Jan. 8, 2018: Spranger puts Macomb County hiring on hold
Jan. 31, 2018: Attorney for Spranger says register of deeds threatened him
Feb. 27, 2018: Spranger takes conspiracy allegations to federal court
March 27, 2018: Spranger to be removed from office immediately, judge says
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