Sandra Keais is an elected Treasurer for Cottrellville Township. Sandra Keais is also a resident of the city of St. Clair and even a registered voter of St. Clair. The reason Sandra Keais has been forced to become a registered voter of St. Clair is because Sandra has lived in St. Clair for over 18 months! St. Clair is now legally classified as the place of permanent inhabitance for the domicile of Sandra Keais and her children – who now attend St. Clair schools rather than Marine City schools.
During the Cottrellville Board meeting of December 10, 2014, Sandra Keais officially revealed to the board that she was no longer living in Cottrellville Township. Sandra did not say where she lived or for how long she illegally lived out of Cottrellville Township. This matter was talked about very briefly with very little information being provided to the public.
Supervisor Kelly Fiscelli-Lisco simply asked Sandra "Do you intend to return to Cottrellville?" Sandra simply responded "Yes." Kelly Fiscelli-Lisco then said to Cottrellville Attorney John McNamee "Is that good enough, John?" People watching the meeting gasped in disbelief and disgust when Attorney John McNamee responded by saying "Yes. Intent to return is good enough."
What is equally disappointing and equally disgusting is the way Supervisor Kelly Fiscelli-Lisco asked the other board members if they had any problem with Sandra living outside of Cottrellville or any questions to ask. New Trustee Matthew Kovalcik simply said "No." Trustee Kenny Chartier – a man known to be corrupt – also said "No." Kelly Fiscelli-Lisco said "I have no problems with this."
Clerk Lori Russelburg sits on the end of the desk and was the last board member to reply. Lori said "The part I have a problem with is that you are no longer a registered voter of Cottrellville Township, and that is a requirement of your job."
Even though Clerk Lori Russelburg specifically brought this matter to the attention of the other board members, the other board members did not do their duty of making sure Cottrellville Township has a Treasurer who lives in the township as a legal "Inhabitant" and "Qualified Elector" as Statutory Law requires.
MCL 201.3 is a law from 1846 about Vacancies and how they are created. Treasurer Sandra Keais has clearly violated MCL 201.3(4), because Sandra is no longer an "inhabitant" of the "township" she performs her "duties" at.
Revised Statutes of 1846 (EXCERPT)
201.3 Vacancies; creation.
Every office shall become vacant, on the happening of any of the following events, before the expiration of the term of such office:
1. The death of the incumbent;
2. His resignation;
3. His removal from office;
4. His ceasing to be an inhabitant of this state; or, if the office be local, of the district, county, township, city, or village, for which he shall have been appointed, or within which the duties of his office are required to be discharged;
5. His conviction of any infamous crime, or of any offense involving a violation of his oath of office;
6. The decision of a competent tribunal, declaring void his appointment, or,
7. His refusal or neglect to take his oath of office, or to give, or renew any official bond, or to deposit such oath, or bond, in the manner and within the time prescribed by law.
The fact that Sandra Keais is illegally serving as the Treasurer of Cottrellville Township is confirmed with Statutory Law MCL 168.368 from 1954. MCL 168.368 uses the word "resident" rather than the word "inhabitant." MCL 8.3f defines the word "inhabitant" as "A resident of a city, township, village, district, or county." Whether you are using the word "inhabitant" or "resident," Treasurer Sandra Keais has violated Statutory Law.
MICHIGAN ELECTION LAW (EXCERPT)
Act 116 of 1954
168.368 Events creating vacancy in township offices.
The township offices become vacant upon the happening of any of the following events: Death of the incumbent; his resignation; his removal from office for cause; his ceasing to be a resident of the township where his office is located; his conviction of an infamous crime, or of an offense involving the violation of his oath of office; the decision of a competent tribunal declaring his election or appointment void, habitual drunkenness; his refusal or neglect to take and subscribe to the oath as provided in section 2 of article 16 of the state constitution and deposit the same in the manner and within the time prescribed by law; his refusal or neglect to give bond in the amount and manner and within the time prescribed by law; or the failure of the office to be filled at an election which is scheduled for the purpose of filling the office.
There is also another law that has been violated by Treasurer Sandra Keais. This law is MCL 168.342, which explains how residents are required to be "qualified electors" while living in the township they serve. MCL 168.342 makes the key point that qualified electors are not only required to live in the township while serving as an elected official, but the candidates must live in the township for months before being elected. All candidates must live in the township by the filing deadline prior to submitting the paperwork needed to apply for an elected position.
MICHIGAN ELECTION LAW (EXCERPT)
Act 116 of 1954
168.342 Township office; eligibility; eligibility for membership on board of review; violation of MCL 38.412a.
(1) A person shall not be eligible to a township office unless the person is a registered and qualified elector of the township in which election is sought by the filing deadline. A person shall not be eligible for membership on the board of review unless, in addition to the qualifications for eligibility to a township office, the person is a landowner and taxpayer in the township.
(2) A person who has been convicted of a violation of section 12a(1) of 1941 PA 370, MCL 38.412a, shall not be eligible for election or appointment to an elective or appointive township office for a period of 20 years after conviction.
When Clerk Lori Russelburg exposed Treasurer Sandra Keais for violating Statutory Law at the board meeting of December 10, 2014, many people had a lot of questions. People wanted to know where Sandra Keais currently lives. And people wanted to know how long Sandra Keais has lived there. This information was not provided at the board meeting.
The Freedom of Information Act reveals Cottrellville Township Treasurer Sandra Keais currently lives in the City of St. Clair, Michigan. What is particularly devastating is the length of time Sandra Keais has illegally lived in St. Clair – over a year and a half!
Sandra Keais and her children have lived in St. Clair for such a long time that Sandra is now a registered voter in the City of St. Clair rather than the Township of Cottrellville! This means Sandra Keais is not a registered and qualified elector in Cottrellville Township.
Attorney Eric Doster, a specialist in the area of Election Law, has made it 100% clear that the factor of "Intent" to return to Cottrellville Township is not a factor that plays any role in this area of law associated with MCL 168.342. The local township office of Treasurer automatically became vacant when Sandra Keais became a registered voter of St. Clair.
Attorney Philip L. Ellison, a specialist in the area of the Michigan Open Meetings Act and Quo Warranto Statutory Law, has also said "Intent" is not a factor with Statutory Law MCL 201.3 or Statutory Law MCL 168.368.
Treasurer Sandra Keais waited 1.5 years before she told the other Cottrellville Board members she lived outside of Cottrellville! If Sandra Keais had an honest "intent" to return to Cottrellville as soon as possible, Sandra would have honestly and openly told the people of Cottrellville she was no longer living in Cottrellville Township when she and her children first moved out of the township in 2013.
During the Fall of 2013, there was an article in the Sports section of The Times Herald newspaper. This article talked about the excellent Cross Country athlete named Jack Keais. This article showed a picture of the backs of the St. Clair High School Cross County team running together while Jack Keais was standing alone facing the camera. This article talked about how sometimes kids get caught in the crossfire when parents decide to divorce or separate.
Sandra Keais is the mother of Jack Keais, although the Sports article did not mention the names of the parents of Jack Keais. The Sports article was talking about how the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) made an official ruling that Jack Keais would not be allowed to participate in sports at St. Clair High School for one full year.
The reason the MHSAA made this decision is because it is very common for high school athletes to want to transfer to other schools for reasons associated only with sports. This is not something the MHSAA approves of, because the primary purpose of high school is the area of Education, not the area of Sports.
If kids were automatically allowed to participate in sports at each school they transferred to, we would often see kids attending one school in the Fall to play Football, another school in the Winter to play Basketball, and another school in the Spring to play Baseball. In order to prevent this, the MHSAA has a policy that says new students cannot participate in sports during their first year of enrollment at their new school.
Jack Keais gained a reputation with local Cross Country fans as an excellent Cross Country athlete at Marine City High School when he lived with his mother, Sandra, in Cottrellville Township. But Marine City High School is not known for being a perennial powerhouse as a Cross Country program.
St. Clair High School, on the other hand, was known for having an excellent group of Cross County athletes capable of winning a State Championship. This would be very appealing to any skilled individual who would want to garner as much attention as possible as a runner in order to obtain some form of scholarship to help pay for college.
Although Jack Keais was not allowed to participate in sports during his Junior year at St. Clair High School, it didn't take long for Jack Keais to prove how valuable he was to the team during his Senior year. The St. Clair High School 2014 Cross Country team won the 2014 State Championship.
1.5 years have passed and Sandra Keais is still "separated" from her husband. Many people now say if a "divorce" were going to happen, it would have happened by now. Many people are now saying the real reason why Sandra Keais moved to St. Clair is because she wanted her son to be on an excellent Cross Country team in order to get attention from scouts capable of offering college scholarships.
Quite a few people are now saying Treasurer Sandra Keais has the "intent" to move back to Cottrellville Township after the 2015 Track season comes to an end in June after her son Jack graduates from St. Clair High School.
Over the last 1.5 years there have been plenty of homes, apartments, and duplexes available for purchase and rent in Cottrellville Township. If Sandra Keais would have wanted to remain a qualified elector in Cottrellville Township, Sandra Keais easily could have done so during a period of time lasting that long.
Sandra Keais was also elected as a Republican Precinct Delegate of Cottrellville Township during the Primary of August 2014. Sandra Keais did not live in Cottrellville Township at the time she submitted her paperwork to be a candidate for this position. This means Sandra's position of Precinct Delegate is actually Vacant.
People have asked "What can we do to correct this problem?" The law says there are several paths we can take:
1. We can ask Sandra Keais to resign as Treasurer and Precinct Delegate.
2. We can ask the St. Clair County Republican Party to insist that Sandra Keais resign as Republican Precinct Delegate.
3. We can ask Governor Snyder to remove Sandra Keais as Treasurer. Keep in mind that in the history of Michigan, no governor has ever removed any elected official from office.
4. We can seek a Quo Warranto against Sandra Keais. This is the most realistic option to have Sandra Keais removed from office. The first step is to write a letter asking the State Attorney General to seek legal action against Sandra Keais. This first step is a requirement, but it is merely a formality. The "State" Attorney General will decline the option to seek legal action against a "Local" Elected Official.
After the State Attorney General declines the option to seek legal action against a "Local" Elected Official, it opens two doors for legal options. Citizens will then have the ability to ask St. Clair County Prosecutor Michael Wendling to seek legal action against Cottrellville Treasurer Sandra Keais in a Quo Warranto case to remove her from office. If the County Prosecutor brings the legal case, it will not cost anyone any money to file the Court Case. However, people often question the level of enthusiasm an elected position such as Prosecutor will possess when removing another elected position from office.
This is why the law gives citizens the ability to hire a civil attorney to perform a Quo Warranto legal action after the State Attorney General declines the offer because other options are available. A civil attorney would likely perform the legal case with the highest level of enthusiasm; however, a civil attorney is the one legal option that costs money. It would likely cost several thousand dollards to file a Quo Warranto case in Circuit Court against Treasurer Sandra Keais.
How do you feel about this subject? Should Sandra Keais resign as Treasurer? Should the St. Clair County Republican Party insist Sandra Keais resign as a Republican Precinct Delegate? Should the people of Cottrellville recall Sandra Keais or ask the Attorney General Bill Schuette to remove Sandra Keais from office?
Share your comments here.