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MI GOP faction threatens anti-Karamo wing with lawsuit

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One faction of the Michigan Republican Party is threatening another wing of the party with a lawsuit. The central question is which group is running the Michigan Republican Party.

A feud between competing factions of the Michigan Republican Party escalated Thursday with a threat of legal action by a camp led by embattled GOP chair Kristina Karamo. This is ahead of a meeting of the Michigan Republican State Central Committee on Saturday with plans to vote on a new chair in an attempt to replace Karamo.

A large faction of the State Central Committee voted earlier this month to oust Karamo. The group said she fomented internal feuds, is an anemic fundraiser and took on mounting debt amid collapsing finances.

But Karamo says the group cannot kick her out. The latest twist is a cease-and-desist letter from Karamo, her executive director and general counsel to the group that voted to remove her. It accuses the group of defamation and trademark and copyright infringement.

The letter accuses the anti-Karamo group of “…maliciously spreading inaccurate and unfounded information that is damaging to the personal and professional characters and reputation of the aforementioned parties.”

“Under the laws in the State of Michigan, it is unlawful for an individual to make deliberate statements that intend to harm a person’s reputation without factual evidence or based on hearsay,” the letter says. “The defamatory statements include, but are not limited to, the following: false claims of authorized operation in the name of MIGOP, claims of criminal felony convictions, claims of fraudulent and/or misleading activities.”

The letters signed by Karamo, executive director James Copas and legal counsel Daniel Hartman threaten legal action unless the competing faction does not reply within 10 days with assurances to stand down.

When reached by Michigan Public Radio, Hartman, the legal counsel for the Karamo-led faction, confirmed the authenticity of the letters. He did not comment further.

The acting chair appointed by the anti-Karamo group, Malinda Pego, did not respond to a voicemail requesting comment.

There are even competing websites.

Karamo’s group appears to still control the website while the competing faction has created a separate website. Both sides say they are “paid for by the Michigan Republican Party.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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