Eric Smith, Macomb County Sued Over $28K Legal Bill Racked Up Fighting Document Release

WWJ News
May 22, 2020 - 8:00 am
eric smith

Eric Smith addresses reporters following a raid of his office on April 17, 2019. (Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)


(WWJ) Beyond a ten-count criminal case, former Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith is now facing a civil suit brought by a law firm that was representing him and the county. 

Howard and Howard in Royal Oak filed the lawsuit in Macomb County Circuit Court earlier this month. 

The firm alleges Smith and Macomb County owe $28,000 in legal fees connected to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on Smith’s refusal to turn over documents that have become the center of his criminal case. The firm was to be paid $250 an hour to defend Smith's refusal to turn over the documents, and the county Board of Commissioners committee recommended approval in April 2019 to retain outside counsel on the matter.

In a statement to the Macomb Daily, the county's legal team says it expects to prevail since they claim Howard and Howard never had a finalized contract approved by Macomb County to provide the services. They may have had a contract with Smith, but he was not authorized to spend county money on outside counsel, officials said.

“There was never a contract with the county. He (Smith) has no contracting authority on behalf of the county.”

And Chief Macomb County Attorney John Schapka put it bluntly to the Macomb Daily, saying, "I’m comfortable this money will not be coming out of Macomb County’s pocket.”