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McCormick seeks to disqualify two for residency

Burt Leland in front of Bentler St. home

Burt Leland in front of Bentler St. home

By T. Kelly
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Monique Baker McCormick is challenging the right of Burton M. Leland and Ramon J. Patrick to compete against her for the seat of District 6 Wayne County Commissioner for northwest Detroit.

McCormick is requesting Wayne County Clerk Cathy M. Garrett disqualify the two candidates for not living in the district they want to represent.

According to Michigan law, “a candidate for the office of county commissioner shall be a resident and registered voter of the district that he or she seeks to represent and shall remain a resident and registered voter to hold his or her office, if elected.”

Monique Baker Mccormick

Monique Baker Mccormick

McCormick provided court documents that show Leland admitted in an Ingham County court that “his domicile is 1703 Colorado Dr., East Lansing.”

Leland continues to list a 750-square-foot, two-bedroom townhouse at 17254 Bentler as his residence to qualify for the county commission seat he currently holds.

McCormick says voters should watch a YouTube video that questions Leland’s home, “Why Doesn’t Burt Leland Live in Detroit?” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQYXgbZc6ek).

“Sometimes I’m here; sometimes in Lansing; sometimes I’m in Florida, the Carribean; I just talked to my brother in California about going to see him,” Leland said during an interview in front of the Bentler address. “This is a part time job. Nobody says anything about the African American representatives in Lansing. Kwame (Kilpatrick) went to school (while he served in the legislature) and (Jackie) Vaughn lived four years in a nursing home there. There’s only a problem because I’m a white man in a 92 percent Black district.”

Leland said McCormick “wasn’t wrapped too tight” and that she “needed the job. I don’t need the job, but as long as I have the passion I’ll stay in it.”

He said McCormick made the same allegations several times before taking the issue to the state Supreme Court.

“I was forced to spend too many dollars in responding to her accusations — monies that would have normally been spent on my annual neighborhood cleanup efforts in my district because of my cost in responding to her frivolous lawsuits, I had to suspend the program in 2013,” Leland wrote in a prepared response to McCormick’s charges.

McCormick was not available for comment Leland’s allegations at press time.

In her challenge to Patrick, she says he cannot be living at 17807 W. 7 Mile Road. It houses a business, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Application Center.

McCormick says state law defines residence as “that place at which a person habitually sleeps, keeps his or her personal effects and has a regular place of lodging.”

The marijuana dispensary is in a commercial strip mall and zoned commercial, McCormick said. “I don’t think he is living there.”

McCormick raised the same questions about Leland’s residency in the 2012 election and filed an appeal with Wayne County Circuit court, which was dismissed by Judge Ryan and after her second attempt by Judge Colombo.

To prove her allegation, McCormick provided the clerk with a copy of a deed Leland and his wife filed March 2011 with the Ingham County Register of Deeds in which the couple swear their address is in East Lansing.

McCormick will appeal again, she says, if the county clerk does not disqualify Leland and Patrick.

“I’m running because I think the people of District 6 deserve to have representation,” she said.

Leland’s Bentler address is a gated community in the midst of blight and blocks of abandoned houses. The neighborhood school where his children would have attended is open and abandoned.

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