LANSING – You thought YOU had a bad Monday. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s day started with revelations that the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is under federal investigation.
Then the Michigan Democratic Party released documents showing a company that hosted a lavish fundraiser for Snyder received a massive boost in their state contract the next day. Their no-bid state contract, incidentally.
Back in early August, MSDHA Executive Director Scott Woolsey abruptly quit his position when it was revealed he had racked up over $100,000 in questionable travel expenses – like limo rides and first class travel to Beijing and the Middle East.
But what really triggered the investigation by the Housing and Urban Development Department’s Office of Inspector General was Woolsey’s continued relationship with Troy based Labor-Management Fund Advisors, despite taking home $135,000 from his state post. While Woolsey denied his firm was involved with state business, The Detroit News reported that it had received $15,519 for a $1 million redevelopment project. That award was given five months after Woolsey started at MSDHA.
The governor’s office says there was a firewall between Woolsey and the funding decision, and that the governor “welcomes” the review.
Lavish Fundraiser Leads To Hundreds Of Thousands More In State No-Bid Contract
Before the dust could settle on the news of the federal probe over at MSHDA, Snyder’s team was rocked by more allegations from the Michigan Democratic Party. This time, Snyder’s under the microscope for granting a no-bid contract to J&B Medical to provide diapers and other incontinence supplies to the Michigan Department of Community Health.
The contract was originally bid out in 2008, under former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and was good for three years, with an option to extend the contract for two more years. The option was used, but in 2013, that contract expired. Snyder’s team gave the company a new contract worth $390,000 more than the previous contracts. There is no explanation provided as to why the contract amount was increased.
But Democrats say they know why. They point to the governor’s fundraising – where J&B Medical Supply owners and employees have donated over $65,000 to Snyder’s candidacy since 2010. Also raising the eyebrows of Democrats is the fact that the day before Snyder and his administration approved the new no-bid contract, J&B Medical Supply owners and employees threw a lavish fundraising party for Snyder.
Mark Schauer, Snyder’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. election, issued the following statement on the situation:
“These new documents raise very serious questions about who Rick Snyder’s administration is really working for. Why has a contract that was competitively bid in 2008 ballooned by more than $26 million without subsequent competitive bids on Snyder’s watch? And more specifically, why did the Snyder administration increase the J&B contract by over $390,000 one day after the company’s executives hosted a lavish fundraiser for Snyder’s re-election campaign?
“Michigan deserves a governor who is committed to providing honest and open government to taxpayers. Instead, Snyder has repeatedly demonstrated that he puts his family and friends first. Whether he was giving 80 and 90 percent raises to his top administration officials, or doubling his cousin’s furniture contract to $41 million, it’s clear Rick Snyder’s policies work for the wealthy and big corporations, but not the rest of Michigan.”
To see the promo video of the fundraising event, click here.