By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor
Charlevoix County Chief-Assistant Prosecutor Shaynee Fanara seeks a retraction of numerous statements she claims her boss John Jarema, Charlevoix County Prosecutor, has made about her.
Fanara’s request came in a written statement to Jarema dated July 12.
“You have in the recent past and continue to this day to defame me in numerous ways including but not limited to claims that I have had inappropriate relations with defense attorneys,” she stated. “Also, that I have given those said defense attorneys special deals on cases. You have stated that I have compromised the integrity of cases by giving special deals. You have stated that I have authorized warrants in bad faith or without probable cause, even though it was cross-checked by a police officer and the magistrate.”
Fanara added, “You have stated that I fraudulently filled out my time slips. You have stated that I am suing the county. You have stated that, ‘This employee has unfortunately chosen to conduct a media campaign in an effort to secure a financial windfall upon departure from this office.’ Furthermore, you have some of these lies posted on your web site.”
Fanara said the claims in question are blatant lies designed to impugn her reputation, destroy her career as an attorney and harm her relationships with others, including her husband.
“You are maliciously telling various individuals these statements with knowledge that they are false and in reckless disregard of the truth,” Fanara said. “I am demanding an immediate retraction of these slanderous statements and request proof of such retraction.”
Jarema responded with a statement of his own.
“I have not spread false rumors about anyone. I had an internal personnel issue which I was dealing with privately and not publicly,” Jarema stated.
“Mrs. Fanara and I have worked together successfully for eight years and she is a tremendous trial attorney. To my knowledge, neither Mrs. Fanara nor any member of my staff has given special consideration to any attorney for any reason. Let me be clear, if someone in my office jeopardized a case due to outside influences they would be terminated immediately.”
He added, “Mrs. Fanara has not done anything inappropriate. I told her that many times and this, again, is a non-issue.”
Jarema said that, despite the previous hard feelings, he and Fanara resumed their working relationship with her return to the office on Monday July 9 after a couple months of medical leave Fanara previously attributed to stress due to her work environment.
“I arranged donuts and coffee and had various law enforcement officers there to greet her and welcome her back,” Jarema stated. “She resumed her office and her position as my chief-assistant prosecutor. The team was glad to have her back.”
Jarema said the following day Fanara requested and was granted a personal/vacation day.
“She left the office at approximately 9:30 a.m. to 10 am. I was shocked when I received an e-mail from (a) newspaper reporter at 4:30 p.m. asking to comment on this story,” Jarema said. “New office policies have been implemented since she was on leave and she questioned some of them. Obviously, there are private personnel issues that we are trying to resolve, however I continue to consider Mrs. Fanara a valued member of this office and wonder what and who is the source of all these rumors and ill will.”
According to Jarema, Fanara is still his chief-assistant prosecutor.
“We spoke in person and on the phone on Thursday (prior to her coming to work the following Monday) and we agreed to start fresh on Monday. Monday went well and she resumed her position and her office,” Jarema stated. “On Tuesday, she came into my office and demanded that I issue a public apology to her.”
Jarema said he has been working with a mutual friend of Fanara’s to secure a meeting in order to work out any unresolved issues, but has since not heard back from Fanara.
“I do not know how long she will be out,” Jarema stated.
“That is up to Mrs. Fanara and how much time she has accumulated.”
“I have three weeks of vacation I took at the suggestion of the human resources department,” Fanara said during a phone interview on Sunday July 15.
Fanara said Jarema told her, last week, that he would not retract any of his alleged statements.
“He said he was going to investigate me and still grieve me,” she said. “He also said I can’t handle any cases against the defense attorney he thinks something happened with—which it did not.” [Editor’s note: Fanara claims rumors have been spread that she had an inappropriate sexual relationship with one or more attorneys with whom she said it has been rumored that she was giving special concessions in court. Jarema said he has in no way contributed to the spread of this rumor.]
Fanara said she plans to return to work when her vacation is over regardless of whether Jarema apologizes.
“I will still come back but I think it will be difficult to work for somebody who has issues trusting you and is spreading rumors and lies about me and my family,” she said. “I’m not the one that lied to the judge and I think it’s frustrating to take it out on me.”