Former McCotter aide gets probation for petition fraud in 2012 primary election

Mary Turnball sentenced for guilty plea to conspiracy

By Lisa Ray , Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®
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Turnbull, Yowchuang, O'Brady, Seewald

A former high-ranking aide has been sentenced to probation for her role in an election scandal that ended the congressional career of Thaddeus McCotter.

Mary Turnbull was accused of asking someone to sign as the circulator on a McCotter petition last year, although that person didn't actually collect the names.

Oakland County Judge Leo Bowman says cases like Turnbull's can erode the public's confidence in elections.

Turnbull apologized Tuesday. She pleaded no contest to two crimes in May.

McCotter, a Livonia Republican, didn't qualify for the 2012election after aides failed to turn in enough valid signatures.

Turnbull and three more McCotter assistants were charged with crimes.

Turnbull didn't live in McCotter's district and believed she couldn't collect signatures.

That's why another person signed as the circulator.

McCotter files lawsuit against other former staffers

In April McCotter filed a lawsuit against his former close aide Don Dale Yowchuang.

Yowchuang, who had a $100,000 a year salary, was tasked with making certain McCotter's name appeared on the ballot. Yowchuang, along with 20-year-oldd Dillon Breen, a failed Livonia School Board candidate and former McCotter volunteer, are named in the suit.

McCotter accuses them of fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, silent fraud, conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty, among other crimes.

"The actions of the defendants, Yowchuang and Breen, taken either together or separately, constitute egregious, unconscionable behavior ... intentionally and improperly copied, altered or otherwise forged McCotter's nominating petitions which caused him to suffer public humiliation, embarrassment and scorn," the suit reads.

After Local 4 exposed the duo last week, the lawsuit spells out Yowchuang's money problems with the Delta Alpha Association.

While acting as landlord of the former Sigma Pi fraternity near Central Michigan University, Yowchuang paid himself roughly $25,000 instead of paying bills such as taxes. The DAA wanted its money back.

The lawsuit questions how Yowchuang could lose his Dearborn Heights home to foreclosure and within a year buy his New Hudson home.

"Given Yowchuang's professed immediate need for money, he and his wife's contemporaneous major purchase ... from going $252,000 deeper in debt, his loss of employment ... it is unclear how Yowchuang managed to settle his embezzlement debt with the DAA," the suit reads.

Read more: Did Thaddeus McCotter's advisor take bribe to pay off debt?

The implication is one the Attorney General's office asked Yowchuang about -- whether he took a bribe and took McCotter down.

Local 4 attempted to contact all parties in the lawsuit on Thursday but no one was interested in appearing on camera to discuss the details.

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