Redford clerk and staff barred from office over defamation claim

With less than two weeks before Michigan's August primary, the clerk in Redford and his entire staff have been ordered to leave the office because of a defamation lawsuit.

Clerk Garth Christie in Redford Township was ordered to not report to work at the city by a judge, stemming from a defamation lawsuit filed against him by township trustee Linda Jackson.

Redford Township attorney James Allen said this was an unprecedented decision that barred Christie and his staff from work.

"Currently the employees are not working they've been removed from township hall," Allen said. "This is an order that's unprecedented in nature and we believe it was invalidly and improperly entered."

City Superintendent Diane Webb said they do have one employee who has been cleared by the Secretary of State and Bureau of Elections to empty the ballot box but are waiting on information Christie.

"It will be key that we get the information we need from them in order to move forward with this election. We need to know who their inspectors are, have they been tested, where are they at in the process, who do they have set up to work what polls," Webb said. 

Allen said they're waiting for a hearing and hope the judge will set aside the restraining order. 

"There's never been an issue with election integrity and the township clerk has a sterling record administering fair and just elections," Allen said.

Webb says they've received support from the community and other clerk's offices.

"It's wonderful to see so many people in our community and in clerks offices in other communities have reached out to assist we will work with the parties to get everything in order and to carry out the election," Webb said.

The legal team is looking into whether the clerk's office employees can be utilized in some way on August 4th.