HAMTRAMCK — Reports of tax delinquency and voter fraud could change who is facing off in Hamtramck’s upcoming mayoral race during the November general election.
Both the Hamtramck Police and Wayne County Prosecutors Office are investigating both issues.
Hamtramck City Council member, Dr. Abdul Algazali’s chances of becoming the City’s first Arab American mayor could be in jeopardy now that allegations have been made about him having a record of tax delinquency on properties here.
Records show that Dr. Algazali, who works as a chiropractor, is behind on property tax payments.
According to the Wayne County Treasurer’s online site, for the year 2011, Dr. Algazali owes $9,498.67 in taxes, fees and interest for his chiropractor’s office. The property located at 9222 Jos. Campau is at risk of foreclosure.
The Detroit News reports that County records also show he owes an additional $4,886.41 on another property at 9214 Jos. Campau that’s at risk for foreclosure; $2,303.07 on a property at 8542 Jos Campau that’s facing foreclosure and lastly $370.38 for delinquent taxes at 2925 Lehman.
|Records show that Dr. Algazali, who works as a chiropractor is behind on property tax payments.|
The Hamtramck City Charter states that any elected official, who is in default to the City, will have their votes termed “void.”
A section in the City Charter reads: “No person shall be elected or appointed to any office who is a defaulter to the City or to any board, or office, or department thereof, or to any school district, county, or other municipal corporation of the State, now or heretofore existing. All votes for the election or appointment of any such defaulter shall be void.”
Hamtramck Deputy City Clerk August Gitschlag says, to his knowledge, there haven’t been any similar election cases such as this in the past.
Hamtramck City Attorney, John Clark is currently reviewing the information.
Clark was not able to be reached as of press time, but is expected to come up with findings soon that will determine whether Dr. Algazali stays in the race. Dr. Algazali was reached by phone Tuesday, and said he’s on City Council, working with the State, to clear the matter up, and wouldn’t comment further.
During the Aug. 6 Primary Elections, Dr. Algazali managed to beat incumbent mayor Karen Majewski by 61 votes. The City known for its diversity, is home to 22,000 residents.
As of now, both are still expected to square off against each other in the upcoming general election. There is speculation that based on the findings of Clark’s review, Algazali could be eliminated as an opponent in the upcoming election. In that event, John Ulaj, another candidate for mayor in the primary, who came in third place, would run against Majewski. Ulaj, is the owner of the Hamtramck Review Newspaper, which was first to report the allegations about Dr. Algazali being behind on property taxes.
Potential ballot fraud
Residents who submit absentee ballots are required to turn them in personally, or have a household member do it, but that wasn’t the case the week before the Aug. 6 primary election when three men showed up separately to the Hamtramck City Clerk’s Office with several absentee ballots, that featured the same handwriting on return addresses, that didn’t match voter signatures.
Gitschlag then filed a police report in response. Dr. Algazali says he and his campaign have nothing to do with the issue concerning potential ballot fraud. A total of 46 absentee ballots are in question, and that still would not alter the outcome of the mayoral race, because Ulaj came in hundreds of votes behind Dr. Algazali and Mawjeski. The absentee ballots could still make a difference in a City Council race, where the top vote getters would square off in the general election for a two-year term. Darwa Swint, a city council candidate in the race, has called for a recount, because the results had only shown a 26 vote difference.