Skubick: Governor Whitmer under fire from GOP for alleged “hush money” given to former health director

Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visits a vaccine clinic at Garden City Hospital on Feb. 25, 2021. (Courtesy Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer is receiving flak from Republicans for what they call “hush money,” a $155,000 payout given to former Public Health Director Robert Gordon after he resigned. WLNS’ Tim Skubick asked the governor if the accusations were true.

Former Michigan Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon announced his resignation in a Tweet. Whitmer accepted his resignation without any resistance.

“It’s been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues. I look forward to the next chapter” Gordon wrote in the tweet.

Whitmer also agreed to give him $155,000 as he left, but she says she is barred from discussing the payment any further.

“Sometimes you can’t share every little detail of every conversation that you’ve had,” said Whitmer in a Jan. 26 interview with Skubick.

“Due to the nature of this there is not a lot more that I can say on this subject,” she said.

Gordon released a statement on Tuesday, saying “It was an honor to be chosen as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services by Governor Whitmer. I appreciated her kind words today.”

The separation agreement, which was revealed Monday, calls for Gordon to drop all claims against the state. It also promises legal assistance in matters relating to actions he took while director.

Whitmer is adamant that Gordon did nothing wrong, but she has refused to state whether or not she asked him to step down.

Republicans such as Representative Matt Hall want a legislative investigation into this deal.

Hall called it “a $155,000 (payment) of taxpayers’ dollars to hush a senior level official so that we will never know what lead to his departure,”

Whitmer denied that the payment was hush money.

“I really bristle at that characterization (hush money.) The nature of a separation agreement when someone leaves is that there are terms to it that you can’t share,” she said.

Republicans most likely won’t accept this and want more comprehensive answers. It’s not looking like they’ll get it from the Governor, though.

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