Gamrat Admits To Lying & Misusing Taxpayers' Resources Then Appears In Fennville To Address Citizens
This week in Fennville before the city commission meeting, Cindy Gamrat held a public meeting to answer questions from her constituents.
Gamrat, R-Plainwell, and Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, are enmeshed in a firestorm of scandal after trying to divert attention from their own extramarital affair by creating a “false flag” email accusing Courser of having sex with a male prostitute behind a Lansing nightclub, among other things.
Courser was caught on tape, discussing the plan with a former staffer.
Tuesday morning, Gamrat admitted to a select House committee she had misused taxpayer resources to cover up the affair and lied to constituents when she said she didn’t know anything about the email prior to its release.
In one of her first public appearances since the scandal broke, Gamrat took a seat at the Fennville council table Tuesday evening - after spending the day testifying at the House committee hearing - and spoke about how she wanted to approach this meeting.
She began taking questions. One woman wanted to know her position on a bill about how LGBT property rights as it affects the housing industry.
“I stand for the idea that everyone is created equal, everyone has value and dignity, have all the same rights and laws should apply equally,” said Gamrat.
It didn’t take long, however, before angry attendees started calling for her resignation.
Ada Morehead, a long-time Fennville resident and voter scolded her for her supposed Christian values and because of her behavior she was a hypocrite.”I think you should resign,” Ada said.
Another resident, Robert Sliwoski, called for her resignation.
Gamrat says, “I have talked everything over with my family and my children do not want me to resign.
Based on the calls I’m getting it’s about half of my constituents that want me to resign,” conceded the embattled state legislator.
She was asked by a reporter how she justified not resigning over the sex scandal she was embroiled in. Gamrat avoided answering the question.
Michael Vanderberg of Gun-Plain Township asked Gamrat if she used taxpayer money inappropriately.
Gamrat answered, “I can’t answer that”, although during the Lansing hearing she admitted to misuing taxpayers’ money.
As she was peppered with questions about her extramarital affair and apparent inappropriate - if not criminal - actions, Gamrat often answered questions with…“I don’t know…I’m not sure.”
“This has been very difficult,” Gamrat shared. “I apologize for violating the values I upheld. When you fall you get up the next day and try to do it better.”
On various questions regarding her behavior in Lansing, Gamrat did not deny being kicked out of a legislative caucus meeting for texting. She says, “The caucus is a small part of my job. I can always talk to my people on the floor.”
When asked about what would happen if her fellow legisaltors censured her, Gamrat said, “I don’t know what censoring would entail.” The House committee will decide what reprimand she will receive.
Several people in the audience said they had lost faith in her and that she was not effective. She is now serving a two-year term.
“I learned a lot from this,” responded Gamrat. “I’ll try to do better in going forward. I have no immediate plans. I take it day by day. The investigation is ongoing and I can’t talk much about it.”
In other news at the commission meeting, Fennville Mayor Dan Rastall reported that, “Bruce Grams, a firefighter for 50 years, will have an Open House on October 17 at the fire hall in Fennville.”
The Fennville Chamber of Commerce picnic is scheduled for September 12 at 6 p.m. at the Virtue Cider facility.
The Annual Goose Festival is happening on October 9, 10 and 11. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be asked for permission to hang a banner across M-89 in downtown from Friday to Sunday.
Fennville High School also wants MDOT to close M-89 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on October 2 for their Homecoming Parade. The commission gave its okay.
A motion for the Fennville Downtown Development Authority to have extra police protection for the Craft Show during the Goose Festival was passed.
The cost of providing that additional police protection will be $256.
The city’s bills totaled $8,123 for the month of September.
The next commission meeting will be held September 21 at Fennville City Hall.