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State representative indicted on extortion/bribery charges

The federal grand jury alleges Rep. Larry Inman attempted to sell his vote on the repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law last June and later lied to the FBI

Larry Charles Inman

United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced Wednesday that a federal grand jury charged Larry Charles Inman, of Grand Traverse County, with three crimes: attempted extortion, bribery and lying to an agent of the FBI. Inman is the elected legislator in the Michigan House of Representatives representing the 104th District in the State of Michigan.

Specifically, Inman is accused of soliciting money via text messages he sent between June 3-5, 2018, to a labor union, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCCM), in exchange for voting “no” on the 2018 legislative initiative petition to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law. The MRCCM did not respond, as Inman allegedly requested. Inman ultimately voted “yes” on June 6, 2018, to repeal the law, and the Michigan House repealed the law by a vote of 56 to 53. 

The indictment includes the text messages allegedly from Inman to union representatives in the days before the vote, one of which Inman concludes by stating “we never had this discussion.” (See below.)

The grand jury alleges that Inman committed the crime of attempted extortion by using his authority as an elected representative, namely his authority to vote on the petition to repeal the prevailing wage law, to seek to obtain money from the MRCCM with the union’s consent. If convicted of this offense, Inman faces up to 20 years in prison.

The grand jury also alleges Inman solicited a bribe by corruptly soliciting a political campaign contribution of money in exchange for something worth $5,000 or more, namely his vote on the petition to repeal the prevailing wage law. If convicted of this offense, Inman faces up to ten years in prison.

The grand jury further alleges that, when an FBI agent later asked Inman about his solicitation, Inman knowingly made a false statement to the agent denying he had any such communications. If he is convicted of this offense, Inman faces up to five years in prison.

The Lansing office of the FBI is investigating this case. The names of those not accused of a crime, such as witnesses, are redacted from the indictment. And the public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A date for Inman’s arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

On June 3, Inman sent this text message to a MRCCM labor union rep:

“Hi [Person A], I hear the prevailing wage vote may be on Wenesday. In my opinion, We all need some more help! Carpenters have been good to me, where are the rest of the trades on checks? We only have 12, people to block it. You said all 12 will get $30,000 each to help there campaigns. That did not happen, we will get a ton of pressure on this vote. [Person B and Person

C] will go to the longest neck hold on this one. I have heard most got $5,000, not $30,000. Its not worth losing assignments and staff for $5,000, in the end. They will give you the check back. I am not sure you can hold 12 people for the only help of $5,000. My suggestion is you need to get people maxed out, on Tuesday, I will do my best to hold. [Person C] will pull assignments for next term on this vote. You have no idea the pressure on this one for [Person B’s state] race , to pull this off for the tea party. People will not go down for $5,000, not that we don’t appreciate it. Please get with the all the trades by Monday, I would suggest maxing out on all 12, or at least doubling what you have given them on Tuesday, asap, we never had this discussion, Larry”

He sent the same or a similar message the same day to a lobbyist in Lansing that had been hired by MRCCM.

On June 4, Inman sent another text to the MRCCM labor union rep: “I will text you tomorrow to make sure we have a solid 12 no votes to block prevailing wage , Larry”

And on June 5, he sent another text to the same labor union rep: “Hi [Person A], how are you! I have Breakfast event on Wed morning at Karobe , Governors room, 7:30am to 9am, hope you can make it 🙂 and see if there are checks you can get, thanks! Larry Inman”

MRCCM gave no further campaign contributions after the June 3 text.

The House voted on the prevailing wage law on June 6, and Inman voted “yes” to repeal the prevailing wage law.

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