WUOMFM

Former Courser and Gamrat staffers sue the Michigan House of Representatives

Dec 7, 2015

Inside the Michigan House of Representatives.
Credit user - CedarBendDrive / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Keith Allard and Ben Graham, the two ex-staffers of former Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit against the Michigan House of Representatives.

In their lawsuit, the ex-staffers allege that House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s office ignored their reports that Gamrat and Courser were engaging in an extra-marital affair, and that the two representatives were misusing their office by forcing the staffers to do political work with taxpayer money.

They say they first reported the problems in February 2015. They were later fired in July.

Allard and Graham also say they were fired in retaliation for reporting the problems with Gamrat and Courser.

More from Chad Livengood of the Detroit News:

Former House aides Keith Allard and Ben Graham’s lawsuit claims Cotter and his staff did nothing to protect them from Courser and Gamrat’s “retaliation” firing in July after they refused to help cover-up the lawmakers’ affair, violations of House rules and mixing of campaign activities on taxpayer time.

Allard and Ben Graham’s lawsuit also claims someone on House staff leaked copies of their “out-of-context” emails to the media to smear them and unlawfully released their Social Security numbers in the 833-page House report Republicans used to expel Gamrat from office and force Courser to resign in September.

The lawsuit contends that it took the House of Representatives too long -- 24 hours -- to remove both their social security numbers from the House report posted online.

Chad Livengood broke the story of the affair and the subsequent bizarre cover-up attempts by Courser and Gamrat on August 7.

The following month, on September 11, Cindy Gamrat was expelled from the Michigan House of Representatives, and Todd Courser resigned just before a vote was held on his expulsion.

In a statement, House Speaker Kevin Cotter's office says the lawsuit is without merit, and says the staffers were fired for poor job performance.

Graham and Allard are also suing Courser and Gamrat for wrongful termination in a separate lawsuit.