Republican-Fail — October 8, 2010 at 6:59 am

Washtenaw County Commissioner Mark Ouimet accused of widespread financial fraud


Mark Ouimet, Washtenaw County Commissioner and candidate for the State House in the 52nd District, is being accused of inappropriately collecting tens of thousands of dollars of reimbursements for fees and expenses during his time as Commissioner. In a press release yesterday from the Washtenaw County Democratic Party, the details were revealed:

Washtenaw County Democratic Party Chairman Stu Dowty today called for an investigation into what he described as “thousands of dollars of fees and expenses that Republican County Commissioner Mark Ouimet improperly collected from Washtenaw County government funds.” Involved are nearly $35,000 in meeting attendance fees and mileage reimbursements that Ouimet has claimed in his nearly six years as a Commissioner.

The issue came to light at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. Local attorney Thomas Wieder, citing information obtained from the county through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), presented evidence to the Commissioners that a significant portion of the fees and mileage that Ouimet has claimed and received should not have been paid to him.

Under County rules, Commissioners are entitled to be paid $25 for attending certain meetings of the Commission and its committees, as well as a specific list of County boards, commissions and committees on which Commissioners serve with members of the public. To be eligible for payment, the meeting must be of a body that a Commissioner was appointed to by the Board or its Chair.

Since he joined the Board in 2005, Ouimet has claimed meeting fees totaling $25,925 for attending 1037 meetings, and mileage reimbursement of about $9000. This is in addition to his annual Board salary of $15,500. On some occasions, he claimed as many as four meeting fees on the same day.

In the press release, Dowty says that many of the meetings for which Ouimet made claims and was paid weren’t even eligible. Dowty goes on to suggest that Ouimet’s attendance at meetings and activities — “literally hundreds” — was politically motivated to help his candidacy for the 52nd District House seat. “It probably served Ouimet’s personal political agenda to show up and shake hands at all sorts of meetings around the county where he had no official role, but county taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for this,” said Dowty. Ouimet, who is in a tight race with Scio Township Trustee Christine Green, apparently was paid even for visits to Ann Arbor-area newspapers.

Responding to the accusations this week, Ouimet said he gives all the money he receives from the county “to charity”, a claim Dowty calls “self-serving nonsense.”

Dowty is calling for an investigation of Ouimet for criminal fraud.

More on Mark Ouimet and his decision to use gutter politics against his opponent Christine Green HERE.

I’m just sayin’…