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Michigan State Police investigating Shiawassee County Commissioners paying themselves with COVID-19 funds

Attorney General’s Office says they are working with Michigan State Police to review the matter as some commissioners remain hopeful this helps move the county forward
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - A state investigation into Shiawassee County is happening.

ABC12 News can confirm that Michigan State Police are investigating how the county initially tried to pay themselves bonuses from COVID-19 relief funds.

The Chair of the County Commission, Jeremy Root gave himself $25,000. He’s since resigned as Chairman but remains on the board, and those funds have been repaid.

When ABC12 reached out to the Attorney General’s Office, they said they’re working with Michigan State Police to review the matter.

Even some County Commissioners said that this is what the community needs to move forward.

”I still have people coming up to me in the grocery store. Just expressing their disgust really that the people they have elected that they have trusted have behaved in this really selfish way,” Marlene Webster said. Webster is the Shiawassee County Commissioner for District 1.

Webster said that even months later, people are still asking questions and saying how they feel about commissioners voting to give themselves thousands of dollars in bonuses with COVID-19 federal relief funding.

“People are on their toes now, paying attention to what’s happening,” Webster said.

Six members of the board voted to give bonuses from the funds to front line workers. Webster says at the time, she wasn’t aware her vote included payments to commissioners.

Those funds were returned after public outrage, but people including some County Commissioners are still upset that their questions don’t have clear answers.

“We still haven’t been able to get accurate information about who knew what when and how it actually happened that what we voted on in the meeting was something different than was actually enacted after the meeting,” Webster said.

Now, Michigan State Police are getting involved to get answers to any and every question thought of.

“I am grateful that they’re here and grateful that they’re looking more deeply into it, so we can get to the bottom of this, so that Shiawassee County can move forward with transparency and integrity,” Webster said.

Michigan State Police said that they won’t comment on an open investigation because they’re determining if a law was broken or not.

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