by P.D. Lesko
A2P Notes: This is filed under Scoops & Scores because you read it here first!
Fibbing about oneâs academic credentials can have dire consequences. Scott Thompson, the former CEO of Yahoo was brought down in May 2012 by making false claims that he had earned a degree in Computer Science from a small New England College. On Ward 1 City Council candidate Eric Sturgisâs campaign website he claims: âEric has a an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Oakland Community College and is finishing his Secondary Education degree at Eastern Michigan University.â The image, below, is a screen shot created on June 25, 2012Â of the âAboutâ page on Sturgisâs campaign website:
According to an official in the Registrarâs Office at Eastern Michigan University, 26-year-old Eric Sturgis is not currently enrolled at the institution and has never been enrolled at Eastern Michigan University. He has applied to the college no fewer than five times, according to records at the Registrarâs Office, the last time to attend for the Fall 2012 semester. Official records show that he has not been accepted to study there for Fall 2012. He was accepted to EMU in 2004, but did not attend. He updated his status in Spring 2010, Fall 2010 and Winter 2011. However, he was never enrolled as a student in any of those years. His 2012 application for admission, perhaps the result of his multiple no-shows, according to EMU officials, has not been accepted.
Sturgisâs repeated claims that he is finishing his Secondary Education degree at Eastern Michigan University are completely false.Â His claim that he earned an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from from Oakland Community College is being scrutinized by school officials, and could not immediately be confirmed by an official in the OCC Record Department.
As early as May 2012, Sturgis openly claimed to be a student at EMU. He told AnnArbor.com that, he was âworking on finishing a bachelorâs degree at Eastern Michigan University.â AnnArbor.com government repeater Ryan Stanton did not confirm Sturgisâs story. Sturgis repeated the deception about his EMU enrollment at a June 20th candidate forum in Arrowwood. There, he told audience members, again including Stanton, that he (Sturgis) was studying at Eastern Michigan University.
The Sturgis Story is that he is running as a the âLocal Boy.â It could be construed as a sly dig at his opponent who is not a native-born citizen.Â Voter registration records, however, poke holes in the Local Boy story. Between July 28, 2005 and July 4, 2010, Eric Sturgis was never registered to vote in Ann Arbor. He was registered to vote in multiple other Michigan cities during that period. On July 8, 2010, Sturgis again registered to vote in Ann Arbor, using an address on Longshore. Two months later, however, he became ineligible to vote in the city when he registered himself as a Scio Township voter. He remained registered in Scio Township until June, 21, 2011. Here is a list of Sturgisâs voter registratons between 2004 and 2011:
2004: Ann Arbor, Michigan
7/28/2005: Scio Township
7/2/2007: Rochester, Michigan
7/2/2008: Port Huron, Michigan
1/28/09: Rochester, Michigan
7/2/09: Auburn Hills, Michigan
8/12/09: Scio Township, Michigan
5/5/10: Auburn Hills, Michigan
7/8/10: Ann Arbor, Michigan
11/9/10: Scio Township, Michigan
6/21/11: Ann Arbor, Michigan
The City Charter requires City Council candidates to be resident in the Ward in which they run for 1 year prior to the election, in this case the August 2012 primary. According to officials at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, Eric Sturgis was enrolled between January 16, 2012 and May 4, 2012, but did not graduate. He played on the collegeâs tennis team. Sturgis also attended Oakland University, but did not graduate from that college, either.
Along with this evidence that Sturgis is misleading voters about his enrollment at EMU and, possibly, his degree at Oakland Community College, a fact which is pending confirmation by school officials, A2Politico uncovered evidence that in 2010 Sturgis had placed himself on the same August ballot for election as a Precinct Delegate in both Oakland and Washtenaw Counties. According to officials in the Oakland County Clerkâs office, appearing on the same ballot in two counties is election fraud. A2Politico received a copy of a formal letter of complaint concerning the 2010 incident which an Ann Arbor resident has filed with the Washtenaw County Clerk, Oakland County Clerk, and Michigan Secretary of Stateâs Elections Division. The letter asks the county and state officials to, ââ¦conduct an investigation of the dual, inconsistent candidacies of Mr. Sturgis in 2010.â
Voting and academic records would seem to indicate that Eric Sturgis is, obviously, a young man whose life has taken many twists and turns, politically and academically, a young man who might have a tough time passing even the most simple check of the story concocted for his campaign website and, more disturbingly, for Ward 1 voters.
During a two hour conversation at which his opponent was present, Eric Sturgis said heâd been strongly encouraged to run for City Council by a woman whom he refers to as âGramma GunnââWashtenaw County Commissioner Leah Gunn. Sturgis also said Gunn promised him donations from her PAC, as well money from a variety of Hieftje cronies. Campaign finance forms are due in July, so it wonât be possible until then to determine who has donated thus far.Â Sturgis said that Gunn was in charge of furnishing him with campaign signs, literature and, in July, volunteers who will drop his literature door-to-door. Allegedly, those volunteers will include Hieftjeâs wife and grown son, Josh, but not Hieftje himself. When asked if Council member Sandi Smith would go door-to-door with him, Sturgis laughed and said that heâd heard from Gunn that it had been extremely difficult to get Smith to campaign for herself. âSandiâs just really lazy,â Sturgis said.
At the Arrowwood candidate forum, Eric Sturgisâs closing statement did not focus on his platform. Instead, he looked squarely at the audience and said, âThese are the people who are endorsing me: Council member Sandi Smith, County Commissioner Leah Gunn, Janis Bobrin, DDA Board member Joan Lowenstein, Mayor Pro TemÂ Marcia Higgins, and Ann Arbor Board of Education member Simone Lightfoot.â Sturgis is also being endorsed byÂ Ray Detter Old 4th Ward Vice President, and 1st Ward resident, andÂ Christine Crockett Old 4th Ward President, and 1st Ward resident.
Is âGrammaâ Gunn a complete doddering fool, shamelessly taken in by a young man whoâs obviously had a tough time finding a place to fit in, live and finish what he claims is his degree in Secondary Education? Or are âGrammaâ Gunn and her local Dem pals using a troubled young man to try and fool Ward 1 Ann Arbor voters into believing a âLocal Boyâ story, complete with fabricated attendance at Eastern Michigan University (perhaps to lull voters into thinking that âstudentâ Sturgis would not be moving on anytime soon)? Regardless, âGramma Gunn,â Lowenstein, Sturgis and local politicos who are endorsing him have some explaining to do concerning just why theyâre telling Ward 1 voters that a candidate who lies about his college attendance, and who committed election fraud in 2010 is the best choice for voters this August.Â