2017-05-17 / Front Page

Judge Konschuh sues officials citing defamation of character

LAPEER — Judge Byron Konschuh, 40th Circuit Court, through his Flint attorney Tom Pabst, on Monday filed a six-count lawsuit against a host of Lapeer-area officials he contends maligned his reputation stemming from multiple felony charges in a contentious embezzlement case. The lawsuit said damages to the injuries he sustained far exceed $100,000. The suit was filed in Lapeer County’s 40th Circuit Court.

In April 2016 Lapeer Chief Circuit Court Judge Nick Holowka reinstated Konschuh to the bench after 20 months of administrative leave.

Konschuh was placed on leave after being charged in 2014 with five felony counts of embezzlement following an investigation by the Michigan State Police. The allegations focused on funds Konschuh was accused of using inappropriately from 2009-2013 while serving as Lapeer County prosecutor.

Prosecutors alleged Konschuh used funds his office received from a third party that ran a bad-check recovery program that were placed in his own personal bank account. He was also accused of putting money his office received from Genesee County as reimbursement for a training program into the account.

Prosecutors claimed Konschuh used the funds, which were not reported to county authorities, to finance purchases that were not allowed under state law. Purchases included donuts, staff gifts and drinks at a local bar.

In the end, an agreement was reached to dismiss the felony counts and have Konschuh enter a no contest plea to a misdemeanor charge. 

Principal defendants named in the lawsuit include former Lapeer County Prosecutor Tim Turkelson, former Asst. Prosecutor John Miller, Asst. County Prosecutor Cailin Wilson, County Treasurer Dana Miller, County Controller John Biscoe, and the County of Lapeer.

The lawsuit lists six counts: malicious prosecution, abuse of process, invasion of privacy, libel/slander, tortious interference with contractual relations/business expectancy and gross negligence.

The defendants have 21 days to file a written answer with the court.

Biscoe told The County Press he was served with the lawsuit notice Tuesday and is wading through the document. He refrained from comment as he has yet to read the entire suit, and said per protocol involving lawsuits it will be forwarded to the risk management authorities at the county’s insurance company.

Look to Sunday’s edition of The County Press for the full story.

Jeff Hogan

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