Michigan Appeals Court denies most of complaint against Charlevoix Prosecutor

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Except for an apparent technicality, the Michigan Court of Appeals has denied all complaints against Charlevoix County Prosecutor Allen Telgenhof.

The full seven-page opinion document is included in the paid version of this story.

The opinion reaffirms a lower court’s finding that Bay Township resident Bob Taylor’s grand jury investigation request had no merit.

“Petitioner (Taylor) sought a judicial investigation—one-person grand jury… The petition alleged that the subject of the complaint (Telgenhof) violated election law. It also contained allegations of an episode of domestic violence, misuses of a county credit card, and an instance of forced entry of a storage facility,” wrote State of Michigan Appeals Court Justices Michael J. Kelly, Christopher M. Murray and Douglas B. Shapiro in their seven-page opinion released Tuesday Oct. 27. “After consideration of the petition and the documents submitted in support, the trial court issued an opinion and order declining to initiate grand jury proceedings and denying the petition. Petitioner appeals as of right. For the reasons stated in this opinion, we affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand for further proceedings.”

The “further proceedings” referred to involve a conciliation agreement between Telgenhof and the state regarding a campaign finance issue which was resolved several years ago.

The lower court told Taylor the conciliation agreement barred any further action against Telgenhof regarding an issue with his campaign finance reports and a campaign finance compliance affidavit—again, both issues were already resolved.

The technicality arises in that the appeals court ruled that the conciliation agreement only covered the campaign finance reports and not the compliance affidavit.

So, the appeals court has sent the matter back to the lower court to reconsider the initial finding to see if:

1. The lower court judge found any evidence that there was intent to defraud on Telgenhof’s part. The judge already ruled that there was no such evidence.

2. The lower court judge is also being asked to determine whether Taylor ever mentioned the issue concerning the campaign finance compliance affidavit in his complaint to the Michigan Secretary of State. He did not.

The lower court’s ruling will be made available as soon as it is released. Gazette subscribers can read the appeals court’s full opinion with this story online.