Record Eagle. Clap, clap, clap. The Record Eagle is not taking a break from the random things that Troy Reimink thinks is wrong or right about the world, but they have made a couple of good points in the last few days.
brandon veenStra / todd ritter
The first is that Mark Johnson did some digging and asked the right questions in the Brandon Veenstra case. Johnson quotes Veenstra’s attorney, Douglas Gutscher, as saying that the charges against Veenstra had nothing to do with the Todd Ritter investigation. I remain unconvinced. The timing is uncanny.
Brandon Veenstra was not a known person or a headline maker before he was accused of a policy violation. And it sounds like people break policy all the time in the Grand Traverse County Jail. So why the charges against Veenstra? Why this one time, at the same time, against this one person? Still doesn’t pass the sniff test despite Gutscher’s claims of nothing hinky. But I applaud Johnson for asking the question and reporting the attorney’s answer.
The question that still hasn’t been answered is why appointed Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg issued the charges against Veenstra only to later decide that there wasn’t evidence to prove the case. There was supposedly no new information learned during that time only aggressive motion filing by Veenstra’s attorney. So why didn’t she fully investigate the charges before changing someone’s life by issuing criminal charges against them? You know, like you’re supposed to do. (And somehow the press knew about it too.)
The other good article I thought the Record Eagle had was their editorial on the Larry Inman bribery charges. They published it first and then the Grand Haven Tribune picked it up, so we’ll link to them. The article basically makes the point that Inman was not a lone wolf politician. He was not an outsider or an out-of-the-club-er. He was and is in the Grand Traverse County political establishment. Go online and you can find him posing with anyone and everyone who’s who in Grand Traverse County politics.
Which raises so many questions —
Who are the 12 people who you swear you have no idea who they are?
How did the TCAPS student count bailout go down and why did the Paul Soma retirement news hit at exactly the same time?
Who else in power thinks that behavior like this is okay? Was this the first time? So far all Wayne Schmidt has said is that he’s “surprised” by the allegations, but he hasn’t condemned them or suggested that Inman step down. Has anyone asked him if he’s one of the 12?
The Record Eagle makes the argument that Inman’s charges should be the start of where we look in order to see how deep the rot goes. Wayne Schmidt raised just shy of $400,000 in the 2018 election cycle. And his largest donor was Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Schmidt just voted in favor of auto insurance reform. He also voted to increase the power of corporations to donate large amounts to Michigan political candidates. (What’s the point of codifying the Citizen’s United ruling, but I digress.)
86th District Court Judge and former Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney donated to Larry Inman’s campaign. So there’s that. Cooney’s predecessor 86th District Court Alum Thomas Phillips gave Inman the cold, hard cash, too. So did the DeVos family, and lots of other people. There are lots of business interests represented in Inman’s donor list. Did they donate because they wanted to, or because they had to in order to get the job done? And here’s where Inman got fined for not reporting a campaign contribution from his now attorney, Chris Cooke.
For the record (eagle), if anyone ever gets a story idea off my website – good! I hope any little thing I do on this website sparks a conversation. So by all means, use my thoughts and ideas.
In terms of having a tip line, I’d like to have one, I just don’t know how to go about it while ensuring everyone’s anonymity. For now, just leave comments.