Commisioner Kurt Kramer charged with domestic violence [November 26, 2002]
Man to take county post despite charges
Commissioner-elect is facing 2 abuse counts
December 5, 2002
BY MARY OWEN AND NANCY
DETROIT FREE PRESS
A newly elected Macomb County commissioner will face a judge on domestic violence charges days after he is sworn into office.
Kurt Kramer, 47, was charged Nov. 27 with two counts of domestic violence and released the next day on $300 bond. His pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 16 in 42-2 District Court, which is temporarily located in Mt. Clemens.
His wife, Russia native Lyubov Arestova, 34, told police that her husband attacked her Nov. 26 after she refused to take off her clothes and pose for nude photographs, according to police documents.
One of his previous wives, Oxana Kramer, a Ukrainian mail-order bride, obtained a personal protection order against him almost two years ago, said Chesterfield Township Police Lt. Dave Marker. Kramer has been married four times.
While being charged with a misdemeanor doesn't prevent a commissioner from serving on the board under county rules, some of Kramer's future colleagues are wary of the bad publicity that follows such allegations.
"People have a negative enough image of politics without having this happen," said Commissioner Diana Kolakowski of Sterling Heights. "It doesn't exactly support the family values platform."
But Commissioner Mike Sessa of Harrison Township, who bailed Kramer out of jail, said people are unfairly assuming that Kramer is guilty. He noted that Kramer is the sole caregiver of his 80-year-old father. "I can't understand why this would happen to him," said Sessa, who has known Kramer for four years. "I would give him the benefit of the doubt."
Kramer of New Baltimore said he plans to attend the Dec. 12 swearing-in ceremony and take his seat Jan.1. He said his personal life will not interfere with his commission duties.
He listed his job priorities as road improvements and finding a permanent location for the 42-2 District Court, temporarily housed in the county jail. "Give me a chance to prove myself," Kramer said. "I plan to do what they elected me to do."
Kramer, an Air Force reservist, said he and Arestova were the perfect couple during his successful bid for Macomb County's 14th District, which includes Chesterfield Township, Lenox Township, New Baltimore and New Haven Village.
The Republican beat Democrat Wendy Iacobelli for the seat being vacated by commission Chairman John Hertel, who announced his resignation in May.
Arestova, who Kramer said has been learning English since she arrived in the United States, helped with mailings and neighborhood walks and attended victory parties, Kramer said. But soon after, Arestova became short-tempered, he said. Kramer said Wednesday that he hasn't seen his wife since the incident.
He said the trouble began when he asked if he could put some of her clothes, which smelled like cigarette smoke, in their enclosed porch because the smell was bothering him. Kramer said she stormed out of their bedroom wearing only a robe and went to her son's room where she changed and later threatened to tell police he had tried to rip her clothes off.
On Wednesday evening, Arestova said, "It's a very bad situation." She declined further comment, saying her English is bad and her social worker could better explain her side of the story.
Police were called to the scene by Arestova's 14-year-old son who said Kramer choked him, Marker said.
Kramer, a jet fueler at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, said he met Arestova through a friend when he was vacationing in Russia in June 2001. They communicated for a while before she came to the United States with her son. The couple lived together for about six months before marrying in January. Kramer believes the couple could still work things out.
Ex-wife Oxana Kramer sought a personal protection order against him in January 2001. But he assaulted a police officer who went to Kramer's house to serve the papers, according to police reports. Kramer pleaded guilty to the assault and battery charge. He served one year of probation to the misdemeanor charge.
The commission seat is Kramer's first elected post. He served briefly on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in the early 1990s, when he lived in Oak Park. He was appointed to complete a term left vacant by a commissioner who died. Kramer lost his 1994re-election bid for the seat.
Official accused of assaulting wife
Police say Macomb commissioner-elect beat her after she refused to pose for nude pictures
By Gene Schabath
The Detroit News
CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP -- Newly elected Macomb County Commissioner Kurt Kramer was charged with assaulting his wife, two years after allegedly attacking his first wife.
The most recent allegation comes from his wife of 10 months, Lyubov Arestova, 34, said Chesterfield Police Detective Jim Gates.
Kramer tried to tear off his Russian-born wife's clothing and attacked her in the upstairs bedroom of their home when she refused to pose nude for photographs that he wanted to put on the Internet, Gates said.
Kramer first choked the 34-year-old woman's 14-year-old son and forced him out of the house, Gates said.
Kramer, 48, was arraigned Wednesday before 42nd District Judge Paul Cassidy of New Baltimore on two counts of domestic violence. He was released under $300 bond.
Domestic violence is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail.
Kramer said in an interview Thanksgiving Day that he is innocent and is confident he will be acquitted. "That is a totally ludicrous statement on my wife's part," Kramer said. "It appears to be part of a big scam. She gets married to an American citizen and then uses the domestic violence charge to fulfill whatever agenda she has. I think she wants the INS (immigration and Naturalization Service) to look favorably on her if she files the domestic abuse charge. Her status in the United States is pending. She doesn't even have a green card."
Kramer said he wanted to take the photographs of his wife because she undresses in front of her teen-age son. He claims he was attacked by his wife, but said police would not listen to his side of the story.
Kramer was elected to the county board Nov. 5 to represent District 14, which includes Chesterfield, Lenox Township and New Baltimore. The part time position pays $33,000 a year.
He said he lost his job at Kmart last year and now works part-time as a fuel specialist at Selfridge Air National Guard Base where he is also in the Air Force reserves.
He previously was arrested Nov. 17, 2000, for assaulting his first wife, also a Russian-born woman, Oxana Savina, Gates said.
She was in her late 30s, Gates said.
"This one is the same as the first one," Gates said. "Almost identical."
His first wife divorced Kramer in January 2001. He married his new wife in January of this year. Kramer said he met her in Russia while on duty as a reservist.
The first domestic abuse charge was dropped when Kramer pleaded guilty to resisting arrest. He was placed on probation for one year and fined $200. Gates said the arresting officer was attacked when he went to Kramer's house to serve him a personal protection order the first wife had obtained against him after he attacked her.
Kramer's new wife gave police two rolls of film she had shot of injuries suffered in previous attacks, Gates said.
Macomb County Board Chairman John Hertel said the county legal staff is investigating whether Kramer can be expelled from office if convicted.
"It's a sad and disturbing situation," Hertel said. Kramer replaces Hertel as the commissioner from District 14. Hertel did not run for re-election.
Kramer said he plans to be at swearing-in ceremonies for county commissioners on Dec. 12.
Recently Elected Official in Michigan Denies Domestic Violence Charge
From The Associated Press, 11/29/02
CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A recently elected county commissioner is facing domestic violence charges for allegedly shoving and striking his wife.
Kurt Kramer, 47, expected to take office in January, was arrested Tuesday and spent a night in jail before being released on a $300 bond. His next court hearing was scheduled for Dec. 16, four days after he is to be sworn in to the Macomb County Board of Commissioners.
According to police, Kramer's wife, Lyubov Arestova, said he pushed and hurt her after she allegedly refused to pose for nude photographs. He also is accused of choking a 14-year-old relative in the melee.
Kramer told the Associated Press on Thursday, "No, I didn't hit her, and no, I didn't strike her." He also denied asking her to pose nude.
Kramer has a previous assault and battery conviction for slamming a door on a police officer's arm and leg as the officer tried to serve Kramer with a personal protection order from his former wife, who alleged that he assaulted her.