Monday, December 7, 2015

Breaking: Speaker Cotter Threatens Consequences For Allard+Graham After Lawsuit Reveals New Controversies

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at

A federal lawsuit recently filed by former Gamrat/Courser staffers Ben Graham and Keith Allard claims they were fired by the House Business Office for being whistleblowers.

The lawsuit reveals a series of new twists in the scandal that has rocked Michigan and made headlines worldwide, sparking a round of heated attacks against Graham and Allard from Speaker Of The House Kevin Cotter...

Among other things, the lawsuit reveals a meeting between the staffers with Cotter in February where they say he was informed of issues in the office, and the suit also accuses Gamrat/Courser Select Committee Chairman Ed McBroom of lying.

According to Chad Livengood at the Detroit News:

"In the lawsuit, Allard and Graham said they informed Cotter and his then-chief of staff, Norm Saari, in mid-February that Courser and Gamrat were carrying an extramarital affair and forcing them to perform political work on state time. Another former aide, Josh Cline, was present at the brief meeting with Cotter and Saari.

“Speaker Cotter appeared genuinely concerned and asked Messrs. Allard, Graham and Cline to continue to keep Mr. Saari abreast of any additional issues,” according to the suit.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the western district of Michigan.

The lawsuit lays out multiple instances in which Allard, Graham and the third aide relayed their concerns that Courser and Gamrat’s affair was an abuse of taxpayer resources in the combined office they were operating.

Allard and Graham argue they were unlawfully fired in July by the House Business Office at Courser and Gamrat’s request. Cotter’s office later used Allard and Graham’s misconduct allegations and evidence to oust Gamrat and Courser from office."

The lawsuit also claims that Gamrat/Courser Committee Chair Ed McBroom lied when he said Allard and Graham would only plead the fifth if called to testify.

"The lawsuit also charges, for the first time, that Republican House attorneys did not want Allard and Graham to testify under oath before the House committee investigating Courser and Gamrat.

Allard and Graham said they would testify if subpoenaed by the committee. But on the final day of testimony over Courser and Gamrat’s misconduct, committee Chairman Ed McBroom said Allard and Graham would “plead the fifth” and exercise their constitutional right against self-incrimination, according to the lawsuit.

“Neither Plaintiffs nor their legal counsel ever said that or anything remotely like that,” according to the lawsuit."

Cotter said if Allard and Graham don't drop the lawsuit, they could suffer consequences.

"Cotter called on the former House aides to drop their lawsuit “before their lives and careers also became nationwide cautionary tales in how not to conduct oneself on the job.”

“Rather than put this sordid matter behind them, Mr. Allard and Mr. Graham have chosen instead to drag this institution back into their mud pit and waste even more of the people’s resources on this ridiculous issue,” he said."

Cotter also called Allard and Graham rude, bad employees, and liars...

Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, said Monday the lawsuit is “wholly without merit” and that Allard and Graham’s firings were justified because they “were substandard staffers, violated House rules, and sent rude and disparaging emails about their coworkers, colleagues, and supervisors.”

“In fact, during the criminal investigation by the Michigan State Police, it became clear that Mr. Allard and Mr. Graham repeatedly lied to House Business Office investigators and lawyers about their knowledge and involvement in a convoluted, months-long extortion plot against their own supervisors,” the speaker said in a statement."

Stay tuned...

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at

Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson


  1. Another argument for a very part time legislature.
    I think most voters would pass it in a New York second.
    They're disgusted by watching laws and sausages made.
    Fewer laws, less disagreement, less plunder ala Bastiat, more time for productivity and creative endeavers.
    Less government, more freedom.

  2. Too bad Cline quit. Maybe if he wasn't so wrapped up in his Ashley Madison activities he could have been a part of this settlement.