By Charles Sercombe
Michigan State Police are now part of this year’s city election.
On Wednesday, state police confirmed a rumor that had been circulating around town for the past several weeks that they are investigating election fraud.
Answering an inquiry by The Review regarding a possible arrest on Monday evening, state police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw said investigators have been here for two months looking at possible incidents of fraud.
He could not go into great detail, but did confirm that search warrants had been acted on, people have been questioned, and items and documents have been confiscated.
“This is going to be a very intensive investigation,” Shaw said.
No arrests have been made so far.
Shaw said it is hoped that the investigation will be wrapped up before the city’s Nov. 7 General Election, and if there is evidence of wrongdoing, arrests will be made and charges will be filed.
Once that is done, he said, a press release will be issued detailing the findings and allegations.
Shaw said he could not comment on what initiated the investigation. City Clerk August Gitschlag also said he could not comment on the matter.
The investigation came to light at Tuesday’s regular council meeting when council candidate Nayeem Leon Choudhury spoke about his father being “detained” Monday evening and having his car impounded and election items seized.
It was not clear what Choudhury expected the city council to do about the matter, but he said he would take the issue to federal court.
Outside of the council chambers, Choudhury declined to elaborate on the matter. He did say, however, that he, too, was detained by state police and that investigators used “derogatory words.”
State police raided Choudhury’s business on Conant Wednesday morning, but no further details were available.
Choudhury is a Bangladeshi-American. He finished second in the August Primary Election.
A hint of what was to come this week appeared as an unusual entry in the Hamtramck Police Department’s daily incident report issued on Saturday.
On Friday, it was reported that Hamtramck officers were called to support Michigan State Police in an election fraud investigation that took place in the area of Conant and Prescott.
No other information was made available.
While authorities may not be talking, there have been plenty of others who have accused some candidates of illegally handling absentee ballots, and others of buying votes in this election cycle.
None of it has been proven, but that hasn’t stopped speculation that there is election fraud happening here.
As for election results, it appears the council race may be wildly unpredictable. The six candidates vying for one of three seats could easily slide up or down from their primary finishes.
There are two council incumbents, Andrea Karpinski and Ian Perrotta. Karpinski was the top finisher. Perrotta came in third place, but was behind Choudhury by only five votes.
Karpinski and Perrotta have formed an unofficial slate with council candidate Fadel Al-Marsoumi.
Mayor Karen Majewski is seeking her fourth term, and is facing councilmember Mohammed Hassan, who decided to run for mayor instead of another term on council. It is believed that Majewski will likely win another term.
The General Election is Nov. 7.
AV ballots was focus of past election fraud
By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck is no stranger to election fraud.
In 2014, four men, Salim Ahmed, Armani Asad, Russell Mohammed, and Mohammed Rahmon, pled guilty to felony charges for illegally handling absentee ballots.
Three of the men, Ahmed, Asad and Mohammed, had planned to fight the charges on the basis that the law regarding the handling of absentee ballots was unconstitutional and that the city clerk’s office unfairly enforced the law.
The Wayne County Circuit Court judge handling the case, Timothy Kenny, threw out their defense arguments. After that the three followed the path that Rahmon took previously and entered a plea of guilty.
Their punishments were suspended sentences, but one has to wonder how a federal court judge will act if there are a new round of convictions.
Correction: Timothy Kenny is a Judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court.
Published October 27, 2017
October 27, 2017 at 7:24 pm
“….[i]t is believed that Majewski will likely win another term.”
Believed by whom?
She only won 43% of the primary vote and the Bengali community that voted for Mr. Rahman, the third place finisher, is unlikely to vote in droves for Karen.
“The federal judge handling the case, Timothy Kenny…”
Judge Kenny is a state circuit court judge – and always has been.
Judge Kenny worked on plea negotiations with both the prosecution and defense counsel as to the 2014 convictions in cases prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Greg Townsend and it was understood no jail time would be imposed if guilty pleas were entered.
“No arrests have been made so far……….”
Nayeem was quoted that both he and his father had been “detained”; detained and arrested mean the same thing.
October 27, 2017 at 8:08 pm
“…….and if there is evidence of wrongdoing, arrests will be made and charges will be filed.”
Do you mean all of this targeted discrimination against a Bengali candidate is based upon “rumors” not evidence?
And where non Bengali candidates investigated too?
October 27, 2017 at 8:10 pm
If no charges are filed, hopefully whoever initiated this investigation should be fired from their position. Going on a witch hunt does not reflect nicely on a city like Hamtramck.
October 28, 2017 at 2:01 pm
This recent raid against Nayeem and his family are not going over well in the Bangladeshi community and it is going to cause more from the community to go out and vote who would have otherwise stayed home for the election – it is strongly believed that well-connected political insiders in Hamtramck engineered this investigation to save the seats of non-Bengali incumbent candidates on the ballot in November.
Mr. Choudhury’s successful primary candidacy and his prominence in the Bangladeshi-American Political Action Committee, it is believed, has made him a target for these extreme law enforcement actions that Lieutenant Shaw of the Michigan State Police makes no compunctions about disclosing to the news media.
The article above makes reference to the 2014 guilty pleas involving election law violations. What should have been mentioned was that Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy declined to file charges despite police recommendations that charges be sought – thus resulting in police turning the matter over to a Republican Attorney General – William Schuette – whose Michigan Republican Party had tried to stress how Democrats were engaged in vote fraud. As the post above indicates, the only way the Attorney General was able to induce guilty pleas was with the understanding that no prison time was forthcoming in their respective sentences – thus saving the cost of a trial. Schuette was free then to trumpet the case as a “successful” prosecution.
The State Police are involved in pre-election political grandstanding that is fooling no one. I am sure the incumbents facing re-election see the State Police “election fraud investigation” as a godsend to rescue their political careers.
October 28, 2017 at 9:04 pm
If no charges are filed, Any upright person, whether Bengali or not, should make a statement against discrimination and vote for him.
October 30, 2017 at 8:18 am
No, detained and arrested doesn’t mean the same thing.
Holding and questioning someone is a detention.Common example is an officer pulling over a driver for some kind of traffic or equipment violation. An arrest, on the other hand, involves the police taking someone into custody through a more significant restraint on movement. The quintessential example involves the use of handcuffs and an advisement that the suspect is under arrest.
October 30, 2017 at 2:36 pm
There was no “equipment violation” here and no traffic stop. Yes, a traffic officer may detain a motorist to give him a ticket – but a motorist should not likely e stopped for a suspicion of violating election laws.
Also, police may “stop and frisk” a suspect and question him if there is a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot – but police have not indicated any such detention occurred.
The story Mr. Choudhury related in City Council was that his dad was taken to the local police station – Hamtramck P.D. – and that Nayeem went down to the police station and got detained himself while being treated in a derogatory manner.
The “detainment” of the Choudhurys as described by Nayeem at the City Council meeting were an “arrest” type of detainment of each.
That’s why he vowed a federal lawsuit when appearing before City Council.
October 30, 2017 at 11:47 pm
Contrast this to our Attorney General Schuette’s selective prosecution when the culprit is not a minority.
November 1, 2017 at 11:26 pm
Trooper Klomparens must have committed one of the most embarrassing episodes in the history of the Michigan State Police.
Skillful anticipated cross-examination at a hypothetical criminal trial:
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Trooper Klomparens, have you always made truthful police reports?
TROOPER KLOMPARENS: Well, uhh…………
November 4, 2017 at 1:57 am
“Shaw said it is hoped that the investigation will be wrapped up before the city’s Nov. 7 election….[o]nce that is done, he said, a press release will be issued detailing the findings and allegations.”
Why does Lt. Shaw “hope” the investigation will be wrapped up BEFORE the city general election? Does he WANT his press release to influence city voters?
Why would he want his unproven allegations before voters PRIOR to an election and why does it appear he may want to SPEED UP that investigation so he can make his PRESS RELEASE before the general election?
Why would Shaw WANT to make a PRESS RELEASE about unproven allegations?
Would he be as publicity conscious and zealous to issue a press release on Trooper Klomparens? Likely not!
Why would Shaw NOT want to comment on who initiated the investigation or how it was initiated? Is it possible such an answer could embarrass some local political insiders?
Why were search warrants – part of the public record – that were allegedly “acted on” not released to the press so they could be published as part of this article?
What judge signed the search warrants?
Why could NOT City Clerk Augie Gitschlag comment on the matter? Does he know something?
Something really smells here – I just cannot put my finger on it just yet; something just MAY be rotten in the state of Denmark.
November 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm
Hopefully someone will he held to account if no charges are filed. Trying to destroy the reputation of a candidate before the election is a mean thing to do especially if done by the government who is supposed to safeguard the election process, not tarnish it.