Taxpayers Picking Up Tab For Grand Jury Investigation - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Taxpayers Picking Up Tab For Grand Jury Investigation

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - Ingham County taxpayers are picking up the tab for the grand jury investigation into the political behavior of the GOP Speaker of the Michigan Rep. Jase Bolger. 

The one person grand juror, Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has hired two lawyers to help conduct the probe into the political behavior of House Speaker Bolger. He has admitted he tried to influence an election in Grand Rapids, but has denied any criminal wrongdoing.

Judge Aquilina hired Michael Ferency, a democrat and John Smietanka, a former GOP candidate for state attorney general. 6 News wanted to how much local taxpayers have paid for their services.

"I cannot divulge any other informatioon about the Grand jury under penalty of law"
The first requestioin to the county controllers office drew this terse response, after than acknowledging that the grand jury was authorized, deputy controller John Neilson wrote, "I can not divulge any other information about the grand jury under penalty of law."

The state attorney general's office was asked if that was true. Bill Schuette's office wrote back there was no ban on releasing the data but it was totally up to the judge to do it. All this was shared with the chair of the Ingham County Board of Commissioners who wanted the information, too.

 

 

Here's what we discovered:

 

Grand Jury Costs

(1) $28,362

(2) 212 Billable Hours

(3) $2,056 Expenses (mostly mileage)

(4) As of May 16

Chairwoman Debra Nolan concedes the county can not place a lid on these expenditures even if the commission wanted to do that. "The last three or four years, there's been about a $5 million deficit, so things are improving, but it's like crawling out of a hole."

 

 

The judge tells 6 News she is a strong supporter of freedom of the press and since this blling information did not relate to the investigation per se, she felt it was important that taxpayers have these numbers: $28,000 and counting.

 

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