Sept. 14 2016 12:46 AM

Prosecutor won’t press charges against LCC trustee candidate

Ingham County Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer has declined to prosecute a candidate for the Lansing Community College Board of Trustees over violations of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act stemming from her 2014 run for the same office.

However, Whitmer encouraged the candidate, Angela Mathews, to pay $1,300 in fines to the Ingham County Clerk’s Office “so that she is in good standing with that office.”


Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum asked the Mason Police Department to investigate Mathews for perjury after Mathews signed an affadavit of identity this year swearing she did not owe any campaign fines or fees and had filed all required paperwork and reports.

Mathews dropped out shortly after filing in 2014. She was still supposed to file paperwork for a campaign committee but did not.

Her attorney, Joseph Garcia, contended that Mathews was unaware of the violations because she had moved from the residence where the Clerk’s Office was sending her letters about the situation.

However, Jennifer Shuster, who was Bryum's elections coordinator in 2014, said she spoke with Mathews by phone in late July or August 2014 about her obligation to file for a candidate committee.

"It's the only time I have had to call a candidate," she said. She added that she did so because she was trying to help Mathews avoid a violation.

In a letter dated Aug. 31 to the Mason Police Department, Whitmer cited Mathews’ lawyer’s argument that Mathews had moved and also that Mathews was caring for her ill mother, “which caused some delay in handling her own personal matters negating her intent.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe we can sustain the legal intent necessary to proceed with criminal charges,” Whitmer said. Perjury is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Mathews is one of four candidates for three LCC board positions in the Nov. 8 general election. The others are incumbent Alex Azima, a retired LCC physics professor; incumbent Robert C. Proctor, an attorney and the board’s chairman; and Ryan Buck, chief deputy court clerk of Ingham County.

Incumbent Larry Meyer, the board secretary/treasurer, is not seeking reelection to his own seat but is running to complete the four years left on the term of Judith Berry, who was elected in 2014 and quit last year.

Mathews was serving as outreach coordinator for the Ingham County Register of Deeds’ Office until she was fired in August.