A Michigan candidate for state representative has been asked by her own party to suspend her campaign after she was accused of embezzling more than $100,000 while working at a law firm.
Jennifer Suidan, 34, is the Democratic nominee for state House in the 39th district. On Monday, Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner accused Suidan, who was his re-election campaign committee’s record keeper, of having “misappropriated money” from his campaign.
Suidan “has betrayed my trust and the trust of all who expected her to perform her duties honestly and in compliance with the law,” Meisner said, adding he withdrew his endorsement of her campaign.
Suidan allegedly took more than $100,000 from Meisner’s campaign when she was employed with Goodman Acker, a Southfield, Michigan-based law firm, WJBK-TV reported. Goodman Acker said Suidan’s employment has been “terminated” and the findings have been “reported to Oakland County law enforcement.”
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The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the alleged embezzlement has been referred to the sheriff’s department for an investigation, but no charges have been filed yet, WXYZ-TV reported.
“The allegations against Jennifer Suidan are serious, and the only appropriate response is for her to suspend her campaign and we expect her to do so immediately,” the Michigan Democratic Party said in a statement. “These allegations have no impact or connection to the rest of our candidates and we remain focused on the issues that matter to Michigan families.”
In his statement, Meisner, who has held the office of county treasurer since 2008, said the stolen money was from his campaign coffer and “no taxpayer resources were affected.”
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According to the Detroit Free Press, Suidan was Meisner’s campaign manager in 2012 and 2016. She worked for Goodman Acker for five years – not as a lawyer, but in a position where she managed the campaign funds for Meisner and others, according to the newspaper. She had reportedly taken a leave of absence from the firm to run for office.
Suidan faces Republican Ryan Berman and libertarian Anthony Croff in the general election for the state House seat. It was largely seen as a potential pick-up for Democrats since incumbent Rep. Klint Kesto, a Republican, is term-limited, the Detroit News reported.
Suidan has yet to make a public statement about the allegations, according to local news outlets. Her Facebook page appears to have been taken down or made private.
Michigan House District 39 encompasses part of Oakland County, just outside of Detroit.