Feds recorded Inman last summer, searched home

By: - May 23, 2019 4:10 pm

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

The legal and political pressure on state Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) continued to mount on Thursday, as it was revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched his home and recorded a crucial phone call last year as part of their bribery investigation.

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

Documents submitted to a Grand Rapids federal court on Thursday show that federal officials executed a search warrant of Inman’s home on Aug. 1, 2018, and recorded a phone call between him and an unidentified union official two months prior to that.

Inman was indicted last week on charges of attempted extortion, bribery and lying to an FBI agent.

The court documents also show that the government plans to introduce as evidence a series of interviews Inman gave last week to Michigan’s Big Show radio program, the Detroit News, MLive and the Detroit Free Press as evidence against him. Each of those interviews was given the day after indictment was handed down.

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

The Advance also interviewed Inman on that day in his Lansing office, where he maintained his innocence, as he has continued to do since.

The federal indictment includes text messages Inman allegedly sent to people connected to the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights union, seeking money for himself and other lawmakers in exchange for voting against the repeal of Michigan’s prevailing wage law.

Inman ultimately voted for the law’s repeal, which was completed last summer.

His attorney, Chris Cooke, did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday, but in a phone call with the Advance the day before said that Inman plans to remain in office as he goes forward with his defense.  

That hasn’t stopped the calls for Inman to step down, however, which have come from figures like state House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), who so far has stopped short of calling for expulsion, and state Rep. Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron).

Hernandez chairs the House Appropriations Committee, which Inman served on before he was stripped of his committee assignments last week and booted from the House GOP caucus, excluding him from closed-door meetings.

Rep. Shane Hernandez at the Fiscal Year 2020 budget presentation | Casey Hull

Calls for his resignation continued on Thursday and included the group Voters Not Politicians and Jim Carruthers, the mayor of Traverse City, which is part of Inman’s district.

“Whatever happens next in the Inman scandal, one thing is clear: the damage is done and it cannot be reversed,” Carruthers said in a statement.

“A politician who has lost the public trust is an empty suit. The people of Northwest Michigan deserve better than this,” he continued. “Inman can no longer do what he was sent by voters to Lansing to do, so he shouldn’t be allowed to continue collecting his taxpayer-funded salary. He can resign or he can be expelled. Either way, Larry Inman must go.”

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Nick Manes
Nick Manes

Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering 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.