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Posted on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

Eavesdropping case against Augusta Township clerk dismissed

By Kyle Feldscher

Augusta Township clerk Kathy Giszczak told in May she would defend herself against charges she illegally recorded a conversation in the township hall. She said she expected to be exonerated.


Kathy Giszczak

From Kathy Giszczak's campaign website

On Tuesday, her prediction came true.

Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Donald Shelton granted the motion made by Doug Mullkoff, Giszczak’s attorney, to quash the decision to bind the case over made by a district court judge. With that decision, the case against Giszczak was dropped and charges of eavesdropping and one count of use or divulgence of information unlawfully obtained were dismissed.

The decision comes at an opportune time for Giszczak — she’s up for re-election on Nov. 6, facing off against Kathy McDonald.

Giszczak said after the hearing she felt confident throughout the process the case would be dismissed without going to trial.

“There was no evidence to support the accusations that were made and I feel very confident the judge made the right decision,” she said.

Giszczak was accused of illegally recording a conversation between township Supervisor Pete Hafler and former Deputy Treasurer Janice Blair. The allegation surfaced in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Blair in 2011 when Giszczak said she “might have provided information to the treasurer (Angela Sherbine) that influenced the treasurer terminating Janice Blair,” according to a legal brief. Sherbine is no longer the township treasurer.

However, Shelton ruled Blair and Hafler did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they had their conversation in the township hall. Giszczak had placed the recording device on her desk in her cubicle — intending to collect evidence against a man who she alleged was harassing her — and it happened to pick up the conversation between Hafler and Blair.

Mullkoff told Shelton the room where the recording was made is an open space, approximately 30 feet by 30 feet, with only cubicles to separate work areas. He pointed to preliminary exam testimony when witnesses stated conversations in the township hall could be openly heard by anyone in the room.

Two decisions from the Michigan Supreme Court — People vs. Stone and Dickerson vs. Raphael — were cited to show the legal standard for eavesdropping in Michigan not only requires the intent to have a private conversation but the reasonable expectation of privacy as well. Mullkoff argued, and Shelton agreed, Hafler and Blair had no such expectation in the township hall. He pointed toward Hafler’s own testimony in the preliminary exam.

“He conceded he did not have the expectation of privacy in the township hall,” Mullkoff said.

After the hearing, Mullkoff said Giszczak would never consider the possibility of a plea deal.

“There was no middle ground in this one,” he said. “Kathy would not admit any wrongdoing, especially because the Michigan State Police advised her to place a recording device (to gather information about the alleged harassment).”

Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Nimish Ganatra argued Blair and Hafler made attempts to keep their conversations private. He said they would schedule meetings during times when the township hall would be empty or less full than usual, and would often sit close together to keep what they were talking about quiet.

“Their intent was to have a private conversation free from any overhearing or eavesdropping,” he said.

However, Shelton said he did not believe Giszczak intended to record Hafler and Blair’s conversation and, if she did, it was not illegal to do so.

The evidence presented in the case showed Giszczak was attempting to gather evidence against a man who had been harassing her at the township hall, Shelton said. The prosecution did not present enough information at the preliminary hearing to show probable cause Giszczak committed a crime and the judge that bound the hearing over made a mistake, he said.

“There is no evidence the defendant intended to record the conversation between the two complainants in this case,” Shelton said.

Speaking to by phone after the hearing, Giszczak said the case was another attempt by forces within the township government to get her off the board after eight years.

She said she’s been the victim of bullying and intimidation for years while she’s actively tried to be financially responsible for the township. According to Giszczak, she first began to face issues with members of the township’s board after she attempted to bring the bookkeeping under the control of her office after it had been outsourced to a private company.

Giszczak has faced two recall elections since 2004 and had numerous disputes with C.J. McDonald, an Augusta Township man who filed the petitions for her last recall election in 2011.

Giszczak said she’s determined to keep serving Augusta Township, despite the politics and other issues that have plagued her time on the board.

“My dad brought me up to be an honest and hard-working person and I value hard work,” she said. “This is part of the hard work, being able to let attempts at bullying and intimidation roll off my back.”

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 6:20 a.m.

Ethics and morality win in this case. A seemingly rare event in Michigan politics and the justice system.


Wed, Oct 10, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

Good for upi Kathy. I hope you win in the election. Good Luck!!!!

Captain Obvious

Wed, Oct 10, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

It is VERY NICE to see that something positive is happening in Augusta. If the Supervisor had been doing his job, maybe someone would not have been coming in to the Township hall harassing the Clerk. (or maybe he was sent by Pete?) Either way, the time to get Augusta on the map for a good reason and be rid of all this wasted time. I fully support Brian Shelby for Supervisor. He has dedicated his time to serving the citizens of Augusta Township. He along with Kathy Giszczak for Clerk, Susan Burek for Treasurer, and Dennis Chie for Trustee, all will work to make Augusta Township a better community.

Susan Burek

Wed, Oct 10, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

At what point do we finally realize that the clerk is doing her job, and we have a group of vindictive malcontents in this township who want to see her lose her job. Why? If you look closely at this group many of them have been on the board (some multiple times) or desperately trying over and over again to get there. Are they simply being mean, or is there a larger stake at hand by being in a position of power within the township? They profess their love of the township, yet with recalls and lawsuits, township business suffers because of the distraction and time needed to address it. And they are spending YOUR taxdollars with each failed attempt. The current supervisor, Pete Hafler, has been either directly or indirectly involved with the last 4 recall/lawsuits attempts against the clerk. Is that helping our township do business? This is Lynda Dews 4th attempt to be on the board. Kathleen McDonald, too, running over and over again. They also detest the clerk. Do you need these people to be on the next board to continue this draining legacy of our tax dollars?

Stuart Brown

Wed, Oct 10, 2012 : 5:34 a.m.

This case stinks. It figures Bryan Mackie's office would be behind this. For people who don't recall (this happened a few years ago), Bryan Mackie was seen by a police officer pounding on a pay phone and then recovering coins which had dropped from the mechanism. Bryan does not think this behavior is criminal and anyone who points this out is just being petty and serving a political agenda. This incident shows the character of this individual--do as I say, not as I do. Remember this in November, anybody is better than him.

j shelden

Wed, Oct 10, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

And now the worm turns..... I too could have told you the outcome of this one. Who in their right mind could ever fall in for the baloney of the smear campaign that is authored by a very bitter Mr Hafler. His war machine runs deep in a community that is very divided along lines of intelligence. And on which side of the line do you think Mr Hafler and his minions lurk on? It is the brilliance of people like Kathy Gisczcak and the Honorable Circuit Court Judge Shelton which should and must prevail in a civil and intelligent community. Bravo to the Judge and Hooray for Ms Gisczcak!! I will not be surprised if and when Ms Gisczcak sue the pants off these indecent people who continue to create falsities and publicly harass and try to humiliate her... It is for good people I shall vote for....People like Gisczcak, Shelby, Todd, Howard, Okeefe and WRITE-IN for Susan Burek as Treasurer These are the people that will do the right things in a civil and orderly way. The rest of them need to head back to their nasty spider holes.

The Secret Team

Wed, Oct 10, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

This case was outrageous as there was no probable cause to bring it. There was no reasonable expectation of privacy plus the fact she was acting at the direction of the Michigan State Police. I wonder if Ms. Giszczak will be filing her own suit at this juncture? This is another reason why Prosecutor Brian Mackie should be voted out of office. Vote for his opponent Justin Altman.


Wed, Oct 10, 2012 : midnight

Thank goodness. The circumstances surrounding the charges against Giszczak sounded ludicrous from the jump. Glad she (and her attorney) were successful in fighting this and getting the case dismissed.