Lawsuit accuses Warren Evans of violating residency rules in Wayne County CEO race

He may be in the lead for the race for Wayne County Executive, but Warren Evans is facing a new legal challenge.  

Evans has been leading the crowded field in the race for Wayne County Executive.  But now Tom Yack is taking the Election Commission and the County Clerk to court, saying the former Detroit Police Chief did not move back to Wayne County in enough time to qualify for the race.

“So you’re saying he shouldn’t be on the ballot,” asked 7 Investigator Heather Catallo.

“Amen,” said Yack.

Yack happens to be a Canton Township Trustee, but says he did not file this lawsuit as part of his official duties.  Yack says Evans changed his address from Salem Township, which is in Washtenaw County, to Wayne County one day before the filing deadline for the CEO’s race.

“The state law says if you’re going to be a qualified elector, and you’re going to run for one of the county-wide positions, you have to be a resident of the county 30 days prior to filing.  And he wasn’t. He was a resident one day before filing,” said Yack.

Yack alleges that when Evans changed his address back in April, Evans said he had followed the laws of the Wayne County Charter.  But Yack says he kept doing research and he now believes state election law should prevail.  That’s why he’s asking a judge to weigh in.

“State law really should trump local law,” said Yack.

If the judge won’t order the Wayne County Clerk to remove Evans name from the ballot, Yack is asking that absentee ballots already cast for Evans be set aside.

Yack denies that he’s working with any of Evans’s Democratic opponents in the primary.   He’s actually a Republican who claims to have nothing against Evans personally.

“I’m a Republican, but I care about the rule of law.  And whether it was a Republican or a Democrat, I’d raise the same issues.  It should have been dealt with at the time of filing,” said Yack.

Richard Kaufman, campaign manager for Warren Evans, issued the following statement Monday night about his candidacy:

“Warren meets all the requirements to qualify him to run in the August 5 primary for Wayne County Executive. This is a meritless, desperate challenge that is being leveled against the frontrunner. All information regarding Warren’s residency in Wayne County has been known for months and they have waited until the eve of the election, after thousands of the voters have cast their ballots to make it. Wayne County residents should be offended by such backroom politics.”

Another campaign representative, attorney Mark Zausmer, views the lawsuit as a "desperate attempt to challenge Mr. Evans, who's clearly recognized as a front runner." Zausmer calls the court challenge "legally and factually inadequate" and says this does nothing but disenfranchise voters. 

All of the parties will be in court Thursday morning for a hearing.  7 Action News will keep you updated.

If you have any story tips for 7 Investigator Heather Catallo please call 248-827-4473 or email her: hcatallo@wxyz.com


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