Inman pleads ‘not guilty’ to bribery charges

    Rep. Inman's desk
    Rep. Inman's empty chair on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives | Nick Manes

    Indicted state Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) entered a plea of “not guilty” on Tuesday in a Grand Rapids federal court, in response to charges that he attempted to solicit a bribe in exchange for a “no” vote on last summer’s repeal of Michigan’s prevailing wage.

    Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg), May 16, 2019 | Nick Manes

    The Detroit News reported that the third-term northern Michigan lawmaker, indicted earlier this month on three separate counts that could land him in 20 years in jail, will remain free on a $25,000 bond and is not permitted to leave the country.

    Inman has continued to resist calls for his resignation, including from within his party. The House Republican Caucus formally expelled him last week.

    The lawmaker has not attended House session since May 15, the day the indictment was handed down, despite telling the Advance the next day that he planned to return to work immediately. Inman was absent for last Friday’s major vote to overhaul the state’s auto insurance system.

    Court documents revealed last week show that as part of the bribery investigation last summer, the federal government executed a search warrant of Inman’s home and recorded his phone calls.

    VNP protesters
    Voters Not Politicians protest of Rep. Larry Inman, Traverse City | VNP photo

    Text messages included in the indictment show that Inman texted two people affiliated with the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCC) union, telling them that there were few Republicans willing to vote against repealing prevailing wage.

    In the texts, he urged the two union officials to convince other building trade unions to donate to 12 GOP lawmakers who could have potentially blocked the action.

    “People will not go down for $5,000, not that we dont [sic] appreciate it,” Inman allegedly said in one of the texts. “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.”

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.

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