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Karamo demands Michigan GOP foes ‘cease and desist’ from defaming her

Kristina Karamo speaking into microphone
Kristina Karamo claims she remains the ‘undisputed’ Michigan GOP chair and is threatening legal action against critics who disagree. (Bridge file photo by Jonathan Oosting)
  • Kristina Karamo threatens legal action against top critics and Republicans competing to replace her as Michigan GOP Chair
  • The cease and desist letters allege Michigan GOP trademark infringement, copyright infringement and defamation of character
  • Karamo contends she remains the state party’s ‘undisputed’ leader despite a contested vote to remove her

LANSING—- An internal fight over control of the Michigan GOP escalated Thursday as Kristina Karamo's administration sent a series of cease and desist letters to fellow Republicans who claim she's been removed as state party chair. 

The letters, shared widely with GOP precinct delegates across Michigan in a Thursday email, allege trademark infringement, copyright infringement and defamation of character by various critics of Karamo, who contends she remains the state party's "undisputed" leader.


Among other things, the letters warn that the Karamo administration will take "any and all legal remedies available," including potential lawsuits "seeking monetary damages” if the alleged actions continue.


The cease and desist demands come as state committee members who voted to remove Karamo earlier this month plan to meet again on Saturday to try and elect a permanent replacement.

Karamo has argued the Jan. 6 ouster vote was illegitimate. She organized a separate meeting last weekend in Houghton Lake, where a different set of Michigan GOP state committee members voted to keep her on as chair while banishing some of her fiercest critics from the party. 

Her administration said Thursday that cease and desist letters were sent to eleven individuals, including Malinda Pego, who had served as Karamo's co-chair but has claimed the title of Acting Chair since a faction of Republicans voted to oust Karamo two weeks ago. 

Pego has also been identified as acting chair in a series of press releases and a new website topped with a Michigan GOP logo.

That is "causing dilution and confusion in the public marketplace" and amounts to “misrepresentation," said one of the letters, signed by Karamo, executive director Jim Copas and general counsel Daniel Hartman.

In a Thursday evening text, Pego told Bridge she had not received any cease and desist letter and said the Karamo administration "should learn the (party) bylaws."

Karamo's meeting last weekend was "not compliant" with those rules, had already been canceled and has "no force or effect," Pego argued.

The Karamo administration said other recipients included GOP activists Andy Seabolt, Bree Moeggenberg, Tim Ross, Anne Delisle, JD Glaser, Daniel Lawless and Matthew DePerno. 

Also named were three Republicans expected to compete in Saturday's replacement election: Former Ambassador Pete Hoekstra, Oakland County GOP Chair Vance Patrick and businesswoman Lena Epstein. 

Lawless, a Novi Republican who voted to remove Karamo and told Bridge he plans to vote for a replacement this weekend, said he had not yet actually received any cease and desist letter but is "honored" to be named.

"I'm not doing what they're saying," Lawless said. "I'm not sending anything on official letterhead."

DePerno, a Kalamazoo-area Republican who ran against Karamo for the state party chair post last year, also questioned why he was included in the cease and desist letters. 

"I don't know what the heck they're talking about, to be honest with you," DePerno said, telling Bridge he attended the Karamo ouster vote on Jan. 6 as a legal observer but is not on the state committee or part of the "Pego faction."

"They don't articulate how I've ever used any trademark, and they don't say how I slandered anybody," said DePerno, who is a lawyer and ran for Michigan attorney general in 2022. 

"These people — I think they've lost their mind,” he said. 

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