TRAVERSE CITY -- James Schmidt says he's a homeless man, but his run for local office could earn him a bed in the county jail.
Acme Township Clerk Dorothy Dunville filed a criminal complaint against Schmidt that alleged he lied when he registered to vote in Acme Township, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
Schmidt, who seeks a seat on the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners, contends he lives on the corner of Shore Road and U.S. 31 in Acme.
Acme officials believe he instead lives in an East Bay Township house.
"He has a right to register homeless, but if he has a roof over his head 24/7, is he really homeless?" Dunville said. "He just doesn't live here and he's using it to run for office."
Schmidt registered to run as an independent in District 2, though he listed a phone number for a house in East Bay Township, which is nestled in District 3. Schmidt did not return several messages a reporter left at that residence.
Bob Cooney, an assistant county prosecuting attorney, said Schmidt is required to list his primary residence, the place where he commonly resides, when registering to vote. Schmidt has received services from the county's Commission on Aging at the East Bay Township residence of Wendy McIntire, Cooney said.
The county sheriff's department is investigating Schmidt's residency.
"So far there is no evidence to support that (Schmidt) has any connection in Acme Township," Cooney said.
Schmidt sent a faxed message to the Record-Eagle that lists state and federal civil rights complaints he recently filed against Acme Township in which he said he was disabled. He also threatened to individually sue township board members.
Since 2006, Schmidt filed 16 different actions in 13th Circuit Court alone, including an attempt to sue the entire city commission of Traverse City and its manager. Judges dismissed all 16 actions.
"He sues the whole world, he (sought) personal protection orders against everybody, and all the PPOs go to that (East Bay) address," Dunville said.