Controversial Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger is apparently appointing another political gadfly, George Brikho of Troy, to fill the post of deputy clerk.
Brikho, who holds a number of odd political views, hinted at this new job a few days ago when he posted a photo of him with Spranger on Instagram (at right) and offered these comments:
“What a sweet, kind and respectful lady Karen Spranger is!
She has definitely won my heart.
I can’t wait until Karen and I drain the Macomb County swamp together!”
Brikho would join Spranger’s other newly appointed aide, Jackie Ryan, who is a well-known gadfly in the city of Sterling Heights.
Brikho, who opened a medical marijuana dispensary last year, also owns a hydroponic garden store, a fertilizer company and Evergreen Management, a firm that lobbies for legislation friendly to the marijuana industry in Michigan. In a 2012 press release for his businesses, he claimed that hydroponics, an alternative means of growing plants, is “saving the economy in Michigan.”
An unsuccessful Republican congressional candidate in 2014, Brikho would replace Paul Kardasz of Warren, who was hired by Spranger when she took office in January then fired by her less than three months later when he accused his boss of unethical behavior. Kardasz has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Spranger.
Spranger hired and fired her Register of Deeds, Erin Stahl, in similar fashion and Stahl also filed an ethics complaint and a whistleblower lawsuit. On Wednesday, the county Ethics Board voted 2-1 to find Spranger in violation of two ethics rules and they fined her $100.
Brikho reacted to the Ethics Board decision by sharply criticizing Stahl and Kardasz on Facebook for their complaints against Spranger:
“Erin Stahl and Paul Kardasz are the incompetent ones, just look at those 2 helpless bums trying to hit the lottery and stick it to the Macomb Co tax payers.
An online search of Brikho’s background turns up a federal lawsuit he filed against the county while serving time in the Macomb County Jail in 2002. According to the online court record, he claimed that a sheriff’s deputy kicked and injured him while he was in his cell.
The case was dismissed as the U.S. District Court Judge concluded that there was “not a shred of evidence” to back up Brikho’s claim that the officer maliciously harmed him. The court documents do not specify why Brikho was in the jail’s work-release program at the time, when he was 27 years old.
On Facebook, Brikho lists his education as the “University of Life,” a reference to a website that teaches readers about spirituality and “how to love yourself.”
His page features praise for Ron Paul and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He is a frequent critic of Jews and Israel and apparently is a vaxxer who believes childhood vaccinations are dangerous. In the November 2014 elections, Brikho lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Sander Levin by near-landslide proportions.
Ryan, the new Register of Deeds, also lost an election in 2014. She was defeated in the GOP primary for a state House seat. In a follow-up attempt, Ryan finished last in a four-person GOP primary field for the 30th District seat, attracting less than 10 percent of the vote. An accountant, Ryan has held several provocative political positions: She loudly claimed that DTE “smart meters” created radioactive waves that harm homeowners; she campaigned against Sterling Heights and Macomb County ordinances that guaranteed basic rights for the LGBT community; and she advocated creating a city tribunal that would vet immigrants who move into Sterling Heights.
Meanwhile, the controversies faced by Spranger continue to add up. After the Ethics Board hearing on Wednesday evening, Spranger crashed her county car into a vehicle stopped at a traffic light. She was not injured or under the influence. But the vehicle was significantly damaged and the clerk told police that she was driving without insurance.