SAGINAW, Michigan — Three of the Saginaw County Republican Party’s previous leaders are the target of a federal lawsuit filed by the party, which claims they have been preventing their successors from utilizing the party’s Facebook page.The SCRP on December 19 filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Bay City, naming former Vice-Chair Thomas Roy, former Treasurer Janet Stoney, and former Executive Committee Member Scott Gilmore as defendants. The lawsuit was filed through Northville attorney Christopher G. Darrow.The Saginaw County Republican Party, a closed group with over 2,300 members, and the public Saginaw County Republican Headquarters, with 492 followers, have been the SCRP’s two Facebook groups for years. The lawsuit claims that all three defendants were appointed administrators of the pages between 2009 and 2018.
The SCRP convened a conference in November 2022 to choose its Executive Committee and promote new delegates. Darrow said that Roy issued a resignation letter the day before in an attempt to influence delegates.The lawsuit claims that printed ballots and other documentation were taken out of the convention before voting started, and that Roy, Stoney, and other members of the vacating committee locked them in Roy’s car. In addition, Roy caused significant disturbance when he informed prospective delegates that the convention had finished when in fact it had not.
In the lawsuit, images of Roy seeming to carry boxes to a car in the convention center parking lot are included.Stoney and Gilmore did not run for reelection to the committee, they resigned, or they lost.
The lawsuit claims that since the election, the three have resisted giving the newly elected executive committee executives authority over the SCRP Facebook sites. The lawsuit goes on. They also prevented the new committee members from accessing the pages.The SCRP started emailing the three in January 2023 to request passwords, administrative permissions, and access to the pages. In response, the committee and delegates sent a cease-and-desist letter in June, the SCRP’s counsel sent another one in November, and the Saginaw County Commissioners made demands.While the official leadership is still shut out, the trio has continued to have influence over and utilize the pages without permission, according to Darrow.
Three counts are listed in the lawsuit: conversion, unfair competition/trademark infringement, and violation of fiduciary responsibility.
At the conclusion of the lawsuit, Darrow asks the judge to grant the SCRP administrator privileges over to Roy, Stoney, and Gilmore and to prevent them from accessing the accounts directly. In addition, Darrow asked the court to prevent the three from representing themselves as part of the SCRP and to award fair legal expenses in addition to compensatory and punitive damages.On January 3, the three defendants received summonses, and they have twenty-one days to answer.