Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey owes nearly $65,000 in delinquent taxes, according to liens on home


Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey. - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey.

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, who is running for reelection, has been slapped with liens on her family’s home for nearly $65,000 in delinquent taxes.

Winfrey and her husband Tyrone Winfrey owe $54,702 in federal taxes from 2015 to 2019, and $8,290 in income taxes, according to the liens, first reported by The Detroit Free Press. They also owe $1,440 in Detroit income taxes.

It’s unclear why Winfrey, whose tax-funded salary is $89,546, wasn’t paying her taxes. Her husband is an executive director of community affairs for Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Winfrey’s lien is on her brick tudor home on the city’s west side, which has a full market value of $55,000.

In 2009, the city filed a lawsuit against Winfrey to collect nearly $11,000 in city income taxes over a seven-year period. The city also garnished her wages in 2012. The debt was paid off by 2014, city officials said.

Metro Times couldn’t reach Winfrey for comment.

Winfrey is running for reelection against Denzel McCampbell, a voting rights advocate who recently took a leave of absence from his gig as communications manager for U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, to focus on the race.

“I’m the candidate in this race who has spent years fighting for Detroiters to have what they need to thrive, so I’m not going to use my opponent’s financial situation against her,” McCampbell tells Metro Times. “However, she is a public official in charge of public dollars, and I hope she will be transparent with the residents of Detroit as she resolves these troubles.”

McCampbell recently called for an investigation into a legally dubious decision by Winfrey and other election officials to block a ballot proposal related to reparations for systemic racial discrimination.

After civil rights lawyer Todd Perkins filed a lawsuit against the Detroit Election Commission, Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny said last month that Winfrey and the election officials didn’t have the authority to stop the proposal from appearing on the ballot because it had met all of the requirements.

McCampbell, a Michigan State University graduate and lifelong Detroiter who grew up in the city’s northeast side in Krainz Woods, advanced to the general election in November after beating four other challengers in the primary in August.

McCampbell has repeatedly called out Winfrey for mismanaging elections. During the presidential election in 2016, when Donald Trump won Michigan by just 0.2%, scores of voting machines malfunctioned, poll workers weren’t properly trained, and thousands of presidential ballots couldn’t be recounted because tabulations didn’t match the poll books.

For more than a month before the 2020 election, Winfrey’s election website was directing voters to the wrong absentee ballot application.

In the primary and general elections in 2020, voting totals for many precincts once again didn’t match precinct poll book numbers, which means they can’t be recounted. The problems prompted Wayne County canvassers to call for state intervention in 2020.

McCampbell also pointed out in August that some signs at Detroit polling locations during the primary election had the wrong hours of operation printed on them.

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