Two former Michigan Republican state representatives Todd Courser
and Cindy Gamrat have returned to their private lives after a sex
scandal and bizzare cover-up and voters declined to return them to office in
November in their comeback bids.
|Courser & Gamrat|
However bills associated with one of the state’s most unusual sex scandals are adding up. The House of Representatives Business Office had paid $80,177 to the Dickinson Wright Law Firm in Lansing for investigative reports into actions that led to Courser’s 3 am morning resignation and Gamrat’s expulsion on Sept. 11.
The bill to the Dickinson Wright firm also includes legal fees to defend lawsuits filed by former House staffers Ben Graham and Keith Allard, who were fired by Courser and Gamrat in July before the sex scandal and fake gay sex cover up broke, the Detroit Free Press reports.
December bills, including the costs associated with a whistleblower lawsuit filed against the House of Representatives by Graham and Allard last fall, have not yet been received.
Graham and Allard were fired on July 6 without explanation, they said because they had reported ethical and campaign finance violations by Courser and Gamrat to House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s office.
Progress Michigan, which received the legal bills under the Freedom of Information Act, said "the use of an outside law firm was an inappropriate use of public funds".
Lonnie Scott, the group’s executive director, told the Free Press that Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, “bungled” the investigation into the lawmakers’ conduct and “should use his taxpayer-funded attorney to defend the House and pay for any outside counsel himself.”
Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesman for Cotter, said the issues surrounding the removal of the lawmakers were constitutionally complicated and the House would have had to hire extra lawyers or pay for the state attorney general’s office to do the work.
“The Speaker would rather be deliberative and do it right,” D’Assandro told the Free Press.