This post has been updated to include information about Baird asking for a refund of the back interest he paid when he settled his tax bill.
Richard Baird, already busted for getting a tax break on residences in two states and being registered to vote in both Michigan and Illinois, now has another issue to deal with: although he’s been listed as a resident of Michigan for three years now, he’s driving a Mercedes SUV GL550 that isn’t registered in Michigan. That’s against the law, folks, a misdemeanor that carries a potential penalty of up to 90 days in jail.
Since Baird’s tax issue came to light, he has worked to clear up residency issues. He still claims a tax exemption on his home in suburban Chicago, where he spends his weekends with wife and family, Snyder’s office has said.
Baird’s Illinois driver’s license expired Aug. 24, according to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, but he continues to drive a Mercedes SUV with Illinois plates.
As of Monday, Baird remained on the voter rolls in Illinois, said Courtney Greve, spokeswoman for the Cook County Clerk’s Office.
Records show Baird last voted by mail in the November 2012 elections, Greve said.
After his last transgressions came to light, Baird blamed Bath Township officials. MIRS News Service recently reported that Baird pressured the Bath Township assessor into taking the blame for his unpaid taxes, despite the fact that he received multiple documents from them over the past three years that should have tipped him off. He did this using his government email account, another illegal act. He even had the audacity to ask for a refund on the back interest payments he made when he finally got around to settling his tax bill!
The question now is who Baird will blame for what the Michigan Democratic Party is calling “MercedesGate”. Here’s Garrett Arwa, Executive Director of the MDP:
Rich Baird could go out and find someone else to take responsibility for his actions, but a simpler way out of this mess would be for him to obey the law by registering with the state where he lives and that is paying him a $140,000-a-year salary. Baird owes it to the governor not to let MercedesGate drive his longtime friend’s administration further into a political ditch, although it would make for a pretty good buddy movie if there was a chase scene. Not playing by the same rules as everyone else is part of a pattern and practice with Baird and the Snyder administration.
Baird has been associated with numerous scandals within the Snyder administration:
Richard Baird has spent his time in Michigan government in the shadows, working behind the scenes and participating in some of the worst scandals of the Snyder administration. In addition to his involvement in the Skunkworks project to bring vouchers to Michigan public schools and helping Rick Snyder’s cousin get sweetheart deals from the state government, Baird was also responsible for bringing in Kevyn Orr as Detroit’s Emergency Manager, well ahead of the time Detroit was even found to be in a financial emergency through the process outlined by our laws. When a lawsuit was filed, the judge in the case ordered Baird to produce the names of the people he had interviewed for the job and Baird claimed that Gov. Snyder had conferred “executive privilege” on him and cited Richard Nixon. That caused this hilarious response from Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette:
“There’s not one (state) case anywhere that says the governor has an executive privilege,” the judge said.
Peter Ellsworth, a private attorney representing Baird, cited two federal cases involving executive privilege: the 1807 treason trial of Aaron Burr and former President Richard Nixon’s attempt to keep records related to Watergate scandal under wraps.
“No one in their right mind in the last few years has ever cited Richard Nixon for anything,” Collette said, later adding: “Nixon doesn’t stand for anything other than someone attempting to hide a crime.”
Who’s to blame now, Mr. Baird? Do you EVER take personal responsibility for your mistakes?