House overwhelmingly votes in favor of non-binding Inman resignation resolution

Rep. Larry Inman, Aug. 9, 2019 | Nick Manes

The state House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution urging the resignation of indicted Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg), although it appears he has no plans to heed the call. 

Inman’s attorney, Christopher Cooke, in a statement, called the resolution “one more punitive action” and a “violation of his constitutional rights,” as the Traverse City-area lawmaker has not been found guilty of any crimes at this time. 

Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

The resolution passed 98-8 with only Democrats voting against. Inman has not been in attendance at the House since mid-May when the federal indictment was handed down and was one of four lawmakers not in attendance for Thursday’s vote. 

The lawmakers to vote against the resolution were state Reps. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit); LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit); Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit); Jewell Jones (D-Inkster); Isaac Robinson (D-Detroit); Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor); Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit); and Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods). 

Besides Inman, the other state representatives not in attendance were Kathy Crawford (R-Novi); Gary Eisen (R-St. Clair Twp.); and Steve Marino (R-Harrison Twp.).

Inman stands accused of extortion, bribery and lying to federal law enforcement, with the latter charge moving toward a likely jury trial and the other two remain under advisement. 

One Inman charge moves forward, judge raises questions on bribery case due to Citizens United

“We are calling on the House leadership and membership to allow this matter to follow its natural progression through the court system without jeopardizing Representative Inman’s right to a fair and impartial jury,” Cooke said. 

Text messages included in the indictment — and others awaiting to be admitted as evidence — show that Inman sought campaign contributions from union officials in exchange for a “no” vote last summer against the repeal of prevailing wage, although he ultimately voted for the repeal. 

Campaign finance experts earlier this month told the Advance that the case appears to meet the standard definition of “quid pro quo,” or this for that. Inman also faces a recall effort in his district.

‘There’s a gray area’: Campaign finance experts weigh in on Inman bribery case 

Since the day the indictment was handed down, House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) has called on Inman to resign. In June, Chatfield decided not to move on the resolution as Chatfield seeks substance abuse treatment. 

Speaking with reporters following the vote on Thursday, Chatfield declined to talk about whether the House might take up expulsion, which would take a supermajority of members. He noted that the vote today crossed that threshold. 

Speaker Lee Chatfield | Nick Manes

“The right step to take today was asking him to resign and that’s what we did,” Chatfield said. “We had a supermajority and our request asked him to resign and I’m still hopeful that Rep. Inman gets the treatment that he’s seeking and does the right thing by right by resigning.” 

The resolution was co-sponsored by House Minority Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills). 

“It is a great honor to serve the people of our communities as an elected official, but with that honor comes great responsibility,” Greig said in a statement. “Whether or not his charges result in a conviction, it is clear that Rep. Inman has broken the trust of the people who put him in office, as evidenced by the recall petition initiated by his own constituents. It is high time that Rep. Inman does the right thing for his district and resign from his position.”

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