WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (WOOD) — A Newaygo County judge accused of sexual harassment and misconduct is on leave while administrators investigate the allegations.
An order issued Thursday says Judge Graydon W. Dimkoff has been relieved of his docket until further notice by Chief Judge Robert D. Springstead. Additionally, his appointment as the presiding judge of the 27th Circuit Court Family Division is revoked.
It marks the end of a 20-year career behind the bench for Dimkoff.
Dimkoff came to work Monday, a day before he was supposed to be off for a week for planned surgery, only to be met by Springstead, who told Dimkoff that he was to be escorted to the door and not to return until further notice.
The order says the measures were taken for the safety and well-being of court staff, who were already interviewed as part of the investigation. It did not specify what the allegations are or who made them.
Calls to Springstead and Newaygo County Administrator Christopher Wren weren’t returned.
In his order, Springstead points to Michigan Court rules that allow him to assign the dockets of other judges.
What is unclear is whether Springstead has the authority to bar a duly-elected judge from entering the courthouse and can take his key and cell phone. Dimkoff was elected four times, once with the endorsement of both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Dimkoff is at his Fremont home still recovering from planned surgery, and he said he is completely dumbfounded by the allegations and says he has no idea what was happening.
His wife of 49-years agrees.
“I had tears coming down my face because it was so shocking and so impossible,” said Jennie Dimkoff.
She said he would never do the things for which he is accused.
“I have never heard in 48 years, my husband tell a dirty joke, I’ve never heard him make lusty comments after another woman,” Jennie DimKoff said. “He is just a clean-living, God-loving, wife-loving man.”
Employees of the court 24 Hour News 8 talked to find the allegations hard to believe.
“The allegations just confound me. It’s just beyond the realm of reality for me,” said Lynette Daniel who said she worked with Dimkoff for 12 years and said she never witnessed even a hint of impropriety.
“I suspect I do know why and it make me very sad,” Jennie Dimkoff said.
The Dimkoffs believe the move is politically motivated, although a move like this would carry vast consequences for anyone found to be involved in such a scheme.
Running to replace Dimkoff are candidates Michael Paige and Melissa Dykman, who Dimkoff endorsed.
24 Hour News 8 attempted to speak with both candidates, and neither were available.
Michigan State Police, the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office and local police all said there isn’t an investigation into the allegations.
The usual way a judge is removed is by the state Judicial Tenure Commission, but they do not comment on investigations.
With the judge having only two months left in his term, it is unclear whether the JTC would pursue an investigation or would even have jurisdiction over a retired judge.
Dimkoff said he wants the JTC to investigate.
There are lots of questions including whether there is some sort of formal investigation or whether Dimkoff will be informed of the allegations against him.