Prompted in part by some comments Patch readers have raised, White Lake-Highland Patch has obtained court and police records via the Freedom of Information Act regarding incidents involving Matt Sprader, a challenger in the race for township supervisor.
Sprader, a businessman and newcomer to politics, is seeking office against fellow Republican, and incumbent, Greg Baroni and the two will face off during the Aug. 7 primary.
The documents highlight a history of claims against Sprader that include the following:
- A personal protection order (PPO) was filed in Oakland County Circuit Court against Sprader in 2009, claiming he threatened a White Lake Township Police Officer.
- In addition, a PPO from Livingston County Circuit Court was filed against Sprader claiming he made threatening phone calls to a Hartland man.
In both PPO cases, a judge granted the request ex parte, meaning it went into effect immediately, even though Sprader had yet to receive notice. Also, in both cases, the PPOs were dismissed after a hearing.
"With ex parte there is no due process, these can be filed and put into place without the other party being notified," said Chuck Kronzek, a partner at a Lansing based law firm called Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC who specializes in criminal defense and PPOs.
He also said a PPO can be dismissed at hearing for a number of reasons depending on the case, but it's possible there is no evidence to support the claims in the PPO, or that the statements made in the PPO weren't true. The person that filed the PPO could also change their minds about the order and have it dismissed.
Sprader said in the case of the PPOs, no threat was made on his part. He said the first incident with the police officer was dismissed after three days of testimony. A court dismissal document Sprader provided does not indicate why.
Regarding the other PPO, Sprader said it was dismissed after a two-minute hearing. Court documents obtained by Patch indicate it was because "circumstances do not exist that would require continuation of the term of the order."
The other incidents involving Sprader:
- In a report from White Lake Police in 2008, a tenant of Sprader's claimed her landlord (Sprader) kicked in the door of her apartment. The police report stated there was evidence of the door being damaged.
- In 2012, a White Lake Township employee filed a police report claiming Sprader blocked the doorway and would not let the employee leave his office. According to the report, when police arrived, Sprader was sitting in the office with the door closed. When asked to leave, he complied.
- Lastly, in January of 2012 a 5-year-old lawsuit was settled between Sprader and a woman who claimed he had defaulted on a $40,000 loan to purchase the bar he currently runs, .
Sprader denied that the situations regarding the PPOs and police report incidents took place as described. Regarding the lawsuit, he said he had been paying his loan in installments – and on time – until there was an understanding that the payments would stop.
"I have never been charged with a crime of any kind," Sprader said. "I am a business person and as such, I am exposed to many situations, professional and personal, that make me vulnerable to such allegations."
When asked to comment on these incidents, his opponent, Baroni, responded: "To be honest I've tried not to pay any attention to the comments and what people are saying."
To learn more about Sprader, . Patch has also posted a .