Macomb Co Exec wants prosecutor investigated for $1.8M in forfeiture spending

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Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith is defending his office after allegations of questionable spending of forfeiture funds.

"These are public funds," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "They do not belong to prosecutor; these belong to the public."

Hackel has asked for a forensic audit into how Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith has been using money from a forfeiture fund, also wanting the attorney general to launch a criminal investigation. In turn, Eric Smith is now asking for Hackle’s offices to be audited as well.

"There's only one thing that has changed, that has caused our county executive to make these allegations," Smith said. "Mark Hackel was caught with his pants down."

Hackel along with county Treasurer Larry Rocca, says Smith has been violating the uniform budgeting act and state law by writing checks from a fund from drunken drivers and drug forfeitures for trips, parties and charities.

"I found out there wasn't one account, there were four accounts," Hackel said.
Hackel and Rocca showed a $600 check to Care House Monday that Smith signed back in August of 2017 - that he says was for a golf outing.
"This is one of $1.8 million in checks that were written," Hackel said.

Smith says he's been welcome to an audit.

"Never have we ever objected to an audit," Smith said. "We don't object to an audit now."

Hackel says Smith was not cooperative when they approached him two years ago.

"He and I have always gotten along," Hackel said. "The question is not about politics, it is not about Republicans and Democrats. It's about doing the right thing."

But Smith calls the move political. The company hired, then fired UHY Advisors - which has ties to Hackel's campaign.
"I commend the board of commissioners for finding this," Smith said. "We had no idea about this, we didn't look into any of this because I don't care who does the audit."

But Hackel says Monday that he only asked for an audit and did not choose that company. Hackel points out that Smith's brother is on the county board of commissioners and shouldn't be involved in the process.

"There needs to be an investigation," Hackel said. "I can't walk away from that."