EAST LANSING – Mike Webber, the Republican candidate for Michigan’s 45th House District and current Rochester Hills vice president, left a history of scandal following his term as chair of Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU). Webber’s leadership term from 1999-2000 was roiled with allegations he sexually harassed a female co-worker at the undergraduate student government, illegally refused to pay an employee for work she had done for the organization and that he used the ASMSU facilities and resources to launch an ill-fated bid as a write-in candidate for the East Lansing City Council.
ASMSU is the undergraduate student governance program at MSU.
Webber’s leadership at the organization is absent from his campaign website.
Between The Lines located numerous stories through the archives of the student newspaper, The State News, about Webber’s tenure at ASMSU.
In September 1999, Anna Gedman resigned her post as vice president of internal affairs for ASMSU. Following her resignation, she filed a sexual harassment complaint with the university’s Office of Judicial Affairs. The next day she filed a complaint with the state Department of Consumer and Industry Services. She claimed that Webber, as head of ASMSU, had illegally withheld her final paycheck.
“I resigned because there was an individual who did not approve of my personal life,” Gedman was quoted in the State News telling the assembly of her resignation. “Mike [Webber] has never approved of my personal life outside ASMSU… and the person I am involved with.”
In response to the paycheck allegations, ASMSU leaders put together a special committee to investigate the incident. The committee was created on Nov. 8, 1999. It is unclear from the available public records exactly when the group issued a 77-page report which found Webber and two other top officials at the organization had violated numerous policies of the organization. By February 2000, leaders at ASMSU introduced measures to force Webber and another leader to resign their posts. The State News also called for Webber to resign, noting at the time, “The report is meticulously written and presents convincing evidence in support of Gedman’s allegations.”
Webber survived a vote on Feb. 17, 2000 by one vote, the State News reported. The body ultimately censured him, something noted in a 2002 report in the State News.
The resignation and paycheck scandal arose at the same time Webber was being chastised for using ASMSU facilities and property to launch a write-in campaign for the East Lansing City Council. In September of 1999, George Chapp, director of community affairs for ASMSU at the time, issued a memo on ASMSU letterhead which notified leaders that the initial meeting of the Webber campaign would be moved from the ASMSU office to Clara’s restaurant in downtown Lansing. A previous memo had indicated the meeting would occur at ASMSU offices.
Chapp told the State News the use of ASMSU offices did not violate ASMSU laws because those involved in the campaign were working at times other than their required office hours. Leaders at ASMSU were paid between $780 and $2,100 per semester for their work at student government.
However, use of ASMSU offices and letterhead could well have been a violation of IRS rules governing nonprofit organizations. Those rules prohibit a nonprofit entity from campaigning for or against a specific candidate.
Webber did not return multiple phone calls to his home and city council offices seeking comment on this history. Gedman did not respond to Facebook messages or a phone message left with her husband Nate Smith-Tyge, who is a Democratic candidate for state house in the 20th House District.