It’s not often that a candidate for office reveals themselves to be such an incredible [expletive deleted] as Macomb County Commissioner and MI-24 State House candidate Steve Marino, 27, has this week. A tracker sent to a “coffee hour” held by Marino recorded him making some amazingly outrageous comments, largely related to his time as a lobbyist for Delta Dental and IBM. He claimed to have picked up the entire bar tab for former Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Roger Kahn’s daughter’s “Jewish wedding”, calling a taxi for a stupidly drunken State Rep. Al Pscholka’s and paying his bar tab, and to cheating on his taxes by keeping his home in his fathers name.
You can listen to Marino’s incredible statements at a new website called LobbyistSteveMarino.com.
Here are some
highlights lowlights from reporting by the Detroit Free Press:
“The Senate appropriations chair, about two and a half years ago, who is no longer in office, he called me up,” Marino says in the recording. “He said, ‘I forgot my wallet. I’m at my daughter’s wedding. I’m wondering if you or your multi-client … could come and pick up the bar tab.’ ”
In the recording, Marino says it isn’t just any wedding, but “a Jewish wedding,” and “they go all out.” He said he didn’t even have enough credit to pay the bill, which he didn’t quantify.
Marino says he first made sure he hadn’t misunderstood: “Excuse me, Senator?”
He says the senator repeated: “I need you to come up here and pick up the bar bill at my daughter’s wedding.”
Marino says in the recording that he called up his multi-client lobbying firm, Campaign Finance Strategies, and asked: “What am I supposed to do?” He says he was told “We’ll take care of it.” Marino says he expressed surprise at that and was told: “‘Oh, he’s going to pay us back.'”
In another recording, which Michigan Democrats said was made on the same day at the same location, Marino says “a lot of legislators are raging drunks up in Lansing,” and “it’s bad.”
Marino then describes an encounter with current House Appropriations Chairman Al Pscholka, which he says happened about a month and a half earlier. He says Pscholka was intoxicated and needed to get home and Marino called another lawmaker to find out where Pscholka lived so he could arrange for a taxi.
“What about my bar tab?” Marino says Pscholka asked.
“I’m like, I got it — don’t worry about it,” Marino says on the tape.
“On my house I have a land contract,” Marino said during a Dec. 7, 2015, “coffee hour” with constituents at a St. Clair Shores restaurant. The conversation was recorded without Marino’s knowledge by a campaign tracker working with the Democratic Party.
“The deed is in my dad’s name, because the second I transfer it to my name it pops that inflation cap off, the house gets reassessed, and I would basically have to pay three times the property taxes that I’m paying now.”
The cap Marino referenced relates to Proposal A of 1994, which limits the annual tax increase on any specific property to the rate of inflation, or 5%, whichever is less. That cap gets removed in the event of a transfer.
Kahn and Pscholka both deny everything that Marino told his constituents at the coffee hour and he has since retracted the statements, telling the Detroit Free Press, “I retract my statements and apologize. I didn’t know I was being taped.”
So the Republican that 24th House District voters will see on their ballot in November is either a sleazy lobbyist, a tax cheat, or an unmitigated liar. Or maybe all of the above.
My sources tell me there is more to come so stay tuned.
UPDATE: Don’t miss Chad Selweski’s great piece over at Politically Speaking titled “Steve Marino’s strange and shameless journey to public office“.