DAVISON, MI — A Davison State representative is asking a member of the Davison Board of Education to resign after police reports linked his phone to a threatening early morning phone call to the Houghton County Clerk.
“Given the ongoing investigation into (…) Matthew Smith, for alleged harassment, threats and intimidation of a friend’s political opponent, I call on Mr. Smith to resign (…)”, said Kennedy, a Democrat from Davison, in a statement. released by his campaign on Wednesday, October 21. “As a teacher, one of the first things I taught my students was that bullying is wrong and will not be tolerated in the classroom. It’s too bad that a leader in our school board didn’t seem to have learned that lesson.
Smith, a Republican running for a seat on the Genesee County Board of Commissioners, was the subject of a criminal investigation after Houghton County Clerk Jennifer Kelly told police that a man harassed her, used profanity and threatened to kill her dogs over the phone earlier. This year. Police reports say the call appears to be from Smith’s phone, and have referred their investigation to the Michigan Attorney General’s office for possible action.
A spokesperson for the attorney general said Wednesday that the office had asked the Coordinating Council of Prosecutors to assign the case to a special prosecutor.
Smith called the allegations against him false but did not say whether he called Kelly around 1 a.m. on March 6.
In a written statement to MLive-The Flint Journal, Smith said he would not resign from the school board and said Kennedy “has been critical of me and the way I vote” for the past two years.
“I think she is confused and believes that I am her opponent,” the statement read. “She needs to stop playing political games and focus on her own election.”
Smith’s statement says he never threatened the Houghton County Clerk or his animals, but doesn’t say if he called Kelly.
“The Democrats are using this false allegation as a desperate attack to move this (county board of commissioners) seat from Republican to Democrat,” he said. “I find it interesting that the Democratic candidates are driving these false allegations.”
Kennedy’s campaign also called on his opponent in the Nov. 3 election — Genesee County Commissioner David Martin — to ask Smith to resign from his school board position and rescind any final appearances with Smith.
Martin said Wednesday that he had no plans to campaign with Smith in the final weeks of the campaign and had no intention of asking him to resign.
“Allegations are allegations,” he said. “Matthew will have to answer for himself.”
Smith told police he did not call Kelly, according to police reports, and said his phone number must have been spoofed – a practice in which a caller deliberately falsifies information given on the screen caller ID to conceal their identity.
However, police reports indicate that a warrant used to access Smith’s phone records showed a call made to Kelly at the same time on the same day in question – something that would not have appeared in the log if his number phone had been stolen.
Kelly said Wednesday that she wants Smith and others involved in the phone harassment charged and told by a judge that “this type of activity is absolutely wrong.”
“My story never changed… They changed their story,” Kelly said. “They really messed me up…I want to get on with my life.”
Kelly, a Democrat, is running for re-election against Justin Kasieta, a Republican, in Houghton County on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Through his attorney, Kasieta told police he was listening in on the phone call Smith made, according to police reports.
During the call, Kelly said the man on the phone first identified himself as a TV station employee and said he wanted to film her at her home. After Kelly denied the request, the caller said he was with the TV show “Hoarders” and his house and office were a mess, according to police reports.
Kelly said the caller used profanity and threatened to poison his dogs, kill them and throw them in the trash.
Kasieta, through her attorney, told police that Smith used foul language during the call but did not threaten to kill Kelly’s dog, “only that the state of Kelly’s house Kelly is dangerous to the dog,” according to police reports.
“Kasieta indicated that the idea to make the call was Smith’s,” the police reports said.