Recall Effort Begins For Bert Johnson After Indictment

(WWJ) A lawyer from Highland Park has filed petition language for a recall campaign against state Sen. Bert Johnson, who was indicted Tuesday on federal charges of conspiracy and theft of government money.

If the petition language is approved, attorney Robert Davis could have 180 days to gather signatures to force a vote to oust Johnson from office.

Johnson, a Democratic senator, is accused of allegedly hiring a ‘ghost employee’ that received compensation from the state of Michigan for work she did not perform as a “community liaison.”

The indictment came after federal agents searched Johnson’s home and office in March.

That ghost employee was allegedly paid more than $23,000, yet “contributed no work on behalf of Johnson’s staff,” according to the indictment. The alleged co-conspirator was not immediately named by authorities.

[View a copy of the indictment]

This case was investigated by FBI and IRS-CI agents who raided Johnson’s Highland Park home last month, carrying out boxes and computer equipment.

“Senator Johnson’s alleged actions abused the trust of his constituents and amounted to simple theft,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel of the Detroit Field Office. “It is in these cases that the IRS takes particular interest in individuals, allegedly abusing the power they have been entrusted with – for their own personal benefit. This investigation exemplifies interagency collaboration and the United States’ commitment to combat the abuse of power and to elevate transparency and accountability.”

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