Outside Legal Counsel PLC

Rare Court Proceeding Challenges Township Supervisor's Authority to Hold Office

For Immediate Release | Dec 20, 2013

In a first of its kind legal action, a request for "special leave" has been filed with the St. Clair County Circuit Court seeking judicial permission to conduct a legal challenge on whether the Cottrellville Township Supervisor is illegally holding her local municipal office.

On December 17, 2013, Outside Legal Counsel filed on behalf of Trustee Michael Zoran a written request with Circuit Court Judge Michael West for "special leave" to file a quo warranto action against Kelly Ann Lisco, the current supervisor of Cottrellville Township. A quo warranto action is an old "writ" or court procedure used to challenge the legality of a person serving in a public office.

According to court papers filed, Lisco moved out of Cottrellville Township in early 2013 after selling her and her husband's home to prevent foreclosure. After the sale, Lisco moved to Marine City, outside of Cottrellville township limits.

Michigan law requires township officials to be an inhabitant of township within which the duties of his or her office are required to be discharged.

The legal action also alleges the Marine City Police Department charged Lisco after an automobile accident with a telephone pole with providing the Secretary of State an address where she claims she was residing, which was an empty vacant lot on Marsh Road. In exchange for a lessor charge, Lisco pled guilty to making a false statement on a license or permit application before Judge Hulewicz on May 22, 2013, according to court records.

The statute being used in this case requiring township officials to be an inhabitant of township dates back to 1846. If ultimately successful, the circuit court may order Lisco to be ousted from her public office immediately and permanently, and fined up to $2,000.

The quo warranto action is being brought with other allegations that the township violated the Open Meetings Act. Judge West previously ruled the township violated this sunshine law at the township board's May 8, 2013 meeting.

Attorneys for Lisco and Zoran are scheduled to appear before Judge West on January 6 for a hearing on the request.

A copy of the filing may be downloaded here.