Genoa Board Tables Motion To Pay Clerk's Legal Fees
May 5, 2021
By Mike Kruzman / firstname.lastname@example.org
The decision on whether to allow taxpayer dollars to assist the legal defense of Genoa Township’s long-time clerk will come after the case is ajudicated.
A single misdemeanor charge of Election Law – Failure to Perform Duty was filed by against Genoa Township Clerk Polly Skolarus. A Michigan State Police report obtained by WHMI revealed multiple election officials, including several Livingston County clerks, stated that they saw Skolarus wheel in unapproved canvas bags with excess absentee ballots used in last November’s election. She reportedly admitted at the time that it was her fault and that she had instructed election workers to use the bags. However, in a memo to the Genoa Township Board of Trustees dated March 30th, Skolarus claimed she was not aware that workers placed ballots in the unapproved canvas bags.
Treasurer Robin Hunt said that she found these inconsistencies troubling disappointing and inappropriate. She was wary about using taxpayer dollars for the clerk’s defense.
At the meeting, Skolarus said her lawyers are telling her not to comment, but that she is not guilty of the charge. She claimed 36 years of “no bad record” and said she deserves to be heard in a court of law.
On the agenda was a request to have the township reimburse her up to $5,000 for her defense. Skolarus amended to ask that she pay her lawyer fees out of pocket, and then be reimbursed only if she is found not guilty or the charge is dropped. Her memo states that a criminal defense lawyer for her case is likely to charge between $5,000 and $10,000. Trustee Jim Mortensen said if she is acquitted or if the charges were dropped then he would be in support. He made a motion to accept her request, but it failed 4-2.
Hunt then moved to table the request until after the hearing is complete and then bring it back for consideration when they have more facts. That motion passed unanimously, with Skolarus abstaining from each motion.