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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Former Flint Township clerk takes plea deal, gets no jail time in ballot tampering case

GENESEE COUNTY, MI — The county’s former elections supervisor has reached a plea deal with prosecutors, avoiding a trial on criminal charges tied to alleged ballot tampering while she served as the Flint Township clerk following the August 2020 primary election.

Kathy Funk, who was terminated as the county elections supervisor in December, agreed to make the deal minutes before a Genesee Circuit Court jury was scheduled to hear her case on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Funk was not required to testify about the incident that led to the charges against her, but her attorney stipulated to the underlying facts of the case — that while she was working as the Flint Township clerk following the August 2020 primary election, Funk broke the seal on an election ballot canister so that the votes inside would not be counted.

Funk was a candidate in that election, defeating her opponent by a narrow margin. She had previously denied charges of wrongdoing.

As part of the plea agreement, Funk will not receive jail or prison time and a felony charge of ballot tampering against her will be dismissed.

Genesee Circuit Judge Mark W. Latchana set a March 20 sentencing date for Funk on the felony charge she pleaded no contest to — misconduct in office.

Funk had been placed on unpaid administrative leave by former county Clerk-Register John Gleason in March, four months after she was hired by the county, and was terminated from the position in December, current Clerk-Register Domonique Clemons said on Wednesday.

The charges against Funk were brought by prosecutors from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office after county Prosecutor David Leyton recused himself from the case because Funk and Leyton were both county employees when she was initially charged last March.

The charges were filed after a Michigan State Police investigation into suspicious activities in the days following the Aug. 4, 2020, primary election in Flint Township.

MLive-The Flint Journal received a heavily redacted copy of the MSP report through the Freedom of Information Act.

The report says an MSP trooper was dispatched to the Flint Township Hall on Dye Road on Aug. 11, 2020, in response to a possible breaking and entering complaint filed by Funk, who told the trooper that she believed a room had been broken into sometime between 7 p.m. on Aug. 7 and noon on Aug. 9.

Funk told police that she left work at approximately 7 p.m. on Aug. 7 and was the last township employee to leave the building, the report says. She said that at approximately noon on Aug. 9, a Sunday, she returned to work to submit a report to the state of Michigan and was at the hall for approximately five hours.

The report says Funk told police that when she came to work on Aug. 9 she was accompanied by her husband and there were no other township employees present.

“Funk stated at some point she entered a locked storage room which is next to her office. Upon entering the room she observed (that) it was in disarray and noticed a shelf on the west (left) wall had been knocked down,” the police report says. “She observed several items had been moved but it did not appear that anything was missing.”

Township officials have said Funk’s report to police indicated that a seal had been broken on a ballot canister in the room, meaning votes inside the container could not be recounted.

Funk won re-election with 2,698 votes compared to 2,619 for challenger Manya Triplett, according to official results from the Aug. 4, 2020, election.

Read more at The Flint Journal:

Genesee County elections supervisor facing ballot tampering, misconduct charges

Flint councilman thrown out of meeting after barrage of racial slurs

Flint opens door for groups to administer $15.6M in ARPA community grants

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