Handling of the Courser-Gamrat saga still being questioned

Todd Courser, Cindy Gamrat.
Todd Courser, Cindy Gamrat.

- The Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser saga -- the story that keeps on giving. Fasten your safety belts for what could be a grueling, divisive and protracted confrontation involving two of their former employees and the joint they use to work in, the Michigan House of Representatives.

Efforts to settle a wrongful dismissal claim before it got into the courts did not get that close, so now all sides may go at it before a senior U.S. District Court judge in west Michigan.

There is not enough room to weed into all the charges but let's just say the two conservative Republicans, Keith Allard and Ben Graham, have turned to a former Democratic senate candidate to win their case for "doing what was right," according to barrister Sarah Riley Howard.

The two claim they blew the whistle on the former lawmakers for alleged wrongdoing and the thanks they got was a one way ticket into the unemployment line.

She would love to get the GOP Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter and his minions on the stand to answer some pointed questions about why they fired the two after they had just been given a raise.

But a little thing they called legislative immunity could get in her way. Seems legal precedent prevents an attorney from securing a desposition or testimony from a sitting lawmaker.

Now there are plenty of other folks in this little drama who don't have that and Ms. Howard could cross exam them but getting to the big fish may be another story.

Ms. Howard wants to know what Mr. Cotter knew and when did he know it. She is not alone because Democrats are asking the same question hoping to find a smoking gun that would flip this legal matter into one with grave political overtones for the House Rs.

Imagine on the eve of the 2016 elections, when every GOP House member is trying to save his or her neck, to have revelations come out that top GOP honchos screwed up the handling of this matter, costing taxpayers who knows how much money to get it resolved.

If Democrats want to take control of the house, that little bit of ammo would certainly help.

Ms. Howard, who says she is not playing politics with this, is sort of hoping that after she publishes the list of all the Republicans she wants to drag into this case during the discovery phase that the House leadership will work harder to settle this out of court thus avoiding a public airing of what could be some dirty wash. Either way the Courser/Gamrat thing keeps on giving.


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