New texts have been revealed in the case of Michigan State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Traverse City), who was indicted earlier in May on charges of extortion, bribery and lying to a federal agent. The texts back up claims that Inman had attempted to sell his vote.
Inman has been accused of soliciting money from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, a labor union, in exchange for voting against a change in Michigan’s prevailing wage law. Inman eventually voted in favor of the change after the union did not provide a large enough sum.
“Carpenters have been good to me; where are the rest of the trades on checks? We only have 12 people to block it,” Inman said in a text to Lisa Canada, the union’s political director. “You said all 12 will get $30,000 each to help there [sic] campaigns…I have heard most got $5,000, not $30,000. It’s not worth losing assignments and staff for $5,000, in the end.”
Inman’s charges of extortion, bribery and lying to a federal agent carry prison sentences of 20 years, 10 years, and five years, respectively.
Inman also texted with Dave Fashbaugh, the business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 498, saying that if he voted against the change in wage law, he would need campaign money.
Fashbaugh then asked for a figure. Inman said he needed $30,000 but had only received $5,000.
Inman’s texts insinuate more representatives are also soliciting bribes.
“We are barely keeping 12 ‘no’ votes to kill it, but people are going to go threw [sic] hell,” Inman texted Fashbaugh. “Lisa Canada has the 12 names of the dirty dozen, but the R party will be all over my ass.”
In one new text exchange released Thursday, House GOP aide Dan Pero, who was chief of staff to former House Speaker Tom Leonard, told Inman that a “no” vote “will shut down any incentive for the big donors” to give to his reelection campaign, The Detroit News reported.
“You’ve been a no vote on the income tax and no fault; you support fee increases; and if you become a no vote on PW [prevailing wage], there’s zero incentive for the big PACs to write you a check,” Pero added. “You vote yes on PW, my friend, you will get a pass on the other votes.”
In another text, Pero said the vote was a “big deal for groups with dough” and Inman’s “yes vote” would be “an easy sell.”
Inman is currently seeking treatment for opioid abuse, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press. He was prescribed the painkillers after several surgeries, according to his attorney.
Both sides of the Michigan House have called for Inman’s resignation. House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and House Democratic Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington) co-sponsored a resolution calling for Inman’s resignation.
The resolution said that Inman’s actions had “drawn ridicule and disgrace to the state of Michigan and the Michigan House of Representatives,” as well as undermined public trust. The resolution also criticized Inman’s statements that text conversations can be taken “out of context,” calling it “inexcusable.”
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]