MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger is facing new allegations that she harassed her employees, with her chief court clerk saying she was forced to lock herself in her office.
The employee is one Spranger has already been found guilty of harassing before, so the case could be even more serious. County officials are looking into whether the clerk threatened the employee to illegally alter an old court document.
The incident began with a letter from Spranger in response to an inquiry from a woman regarding her 2012 court case.
"Former court clerk Carmella Sabaugh was complicit in fraud and set up a default to conceal corruption," Spranger wrote. "In my investigation, all of the cases listed above were improperly done and with obvious intent, and it caused inappropriate Register of Action false statements. So, I will forward my findings to the necessary authority."
That was sent Nov. 30. On Jan. 11, Spranger emailed Chief Court Clerk Lisa Emerson to make a change. Emerson consulted with the county's top lawmaker, who told her to ignore the email.
On Jan. 17, Spranger sent another email.
"Please file the correction today, or I will be forced to take immediate action with immediate dismissal for not correcting the misrepresentation/fraud statements," Spranger wrote.
Shortly after the email was sent, Emerson said Spranger walked into her office with the woman's husband. In an incident report, Emerson said she was forced to lock herself in her office out of fear.
"As a result of this confrontation, I am not only afraid during normal business hours, I am also forced to continue to work in my office behind a locked door," Emerson said. "No employee should have to be forced to work under such threatening, intimidating and harassing conditions."
The woman's husband said the court decision was fraudulently not entered, and there is a pattern of corruption in all four cases. He said Spranger agreed.
He confirmed last Wednesday Emerson had two deputies with her, saying she isn't afraid of Spranger, she's afraid of the fallout because so many people are involved in the cover-up of those four cases.
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. 23, 2018: Employee says Spranger pressured her to illegally alter record