Macomb County official on Karen Spranger removal: 'It feels like 100 pounds off of my shoulders'

Long battle between Spranger, county officials ends with her removal

Deputies at the Macomb County Clerk's Office after Karen Spranger allegedly kicked an employee on Monday, March 26, 2018. (WDIV)
Deputies at the Macomb County Clerk's Office after Karen Spranger allegedly kicked an employee on Monday, March 26, 2018. (WDIV)

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Macomb County officials have fought numerous battles against Clerk Karen Spranger since she took office, but it appears that will come to an end as Spranger was removed from office Tuesday by a judge.

Spranger and county officials battled in court over the Warren home she listed as her primary residence to run for Macomb County clerk. While Spranger argued she did everything required to run for office by Michigan law, officials insisted she didn't live at the address.

A judge sided with Macomb County on Tuesday, ruling that Spranger didn't live in Macomb County and was not eligible to be county clerk.

County officials appeared to be relieved.

"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."

Judge rules Spranger didn't live at Warren home

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.

RECORDSSpranger only used Bridge Card in Wayne County, far from supposed primary residence

Three neighbors of the Hudson home provided witness statements saying nobody had lived at the home for years.

Sgt. Mark Morfino of the Macomb County Sheriff's Office said he was part of a team that executed a search warrant 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.

MORESergeant says clerk's 'home' barricaded wall-to-wall with garbage

Morfino said the team didn't find any mail at the home that was dated after 2011.

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