Former top investigator Ellis Stafford (center) appeared Saturday during a radio program on WFLT 1420 AM to allege that Flint Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver diverted funds to a private 527 fund that were intended for residents in the City of Flint impacted by the water crisis.
An online newspaper with 24/7 breaking news
Flint Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver, who refused to debate her opponents in the August primary, isn't answering any questions about two scandals that surfaced this past weekend.
Posted on July 31, 2019
BY MIKE KILLBREATH
CCN Executive Editor
Mayor Weaver has no comment on weekend scandals about Club 69 consulting, accusations by former top AG investigator
FLINT (CCN) — Two scandals that have become hot topics on The Morning Gazete Radio Show and on social media have not sparked any comments from Flint Mayor Dr.Karen Weaver.
The silence does not surprise her competitors in the upcoming election on Tuesday. Mayor Weaver, who won her first term in 2015 by unseating incumbent Dayne Walling and then survived a 2017 recall, faces four challengers in the August primary race with the top two finishers moving on to the general election in November. She has refused to debate her opponents during the current campaign and also refused to take part in any debates during the 2017 recall campaign.
A $7,500 check for consulting to a topless bar owner's company was exposed by one of the challengers (Don Pfeiffer) on Friday after inspecting campaign finance reports filed a day earlier by the mayor. Another challenger (State Rep. Sheldon Neeley) hosted his weekly radio show Saturday morning on WFLT 1420 AM where Ellis Stafford , a former top investigator with the Attorney General's prosecution team in the Flint water crisis, leveled stunning accusations against Flint's mayor by alleging his work led to uncovering probable cause that criminal activity took place by Mayor Weaver diverting donations into a private 527 fund at a local credit union when they were instead intended to help Flint residents. Stafford said he alerted former Special Prosecutor Todd Flood to the fund and said Flood told him it was outside the scope of what they were assigned to investigate by former Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Communications Director Candice Mushatt's only reply to a request for comments from the mayor about Stafford's allegations was as follows: "Please refer to the federal court documents."
The response refers to a federal whistleblower lawsuit earlier this year in a Detroit federal court room that included explosive testimony from two former Flint City Hall executives who made accusations identical to Stafford's radio show allegations. Mayor Weaver testified under oath in the Detroit whistle-blower case that she was hoping to use the a 527 fund for travel and to "get Aoine Gilcreast paid." He worked for free during the first part of her term.
Many state legislators and other politicians use 527 funds which are non-profit organizations that can keep donors secret and be used for political causes under Section 527 of the federal IRS code.
Charles Winfrey, who has been involved as a consultant on Mayor Weaver's 2015, 2017 and 2019 campaigns, took to Facebook to note that the $7,500 campaign check to Power Team 69 LLC at 1410 Saginaw Street in Flint was for the owner of Club 69 Adult Entertainment to help with matters related to "helping get the vote out" for Mayor Weaver.
Mushatt didn't respond to The Morning Gazette Radio Show's request for a comment until Tuesday. Her boss did take to Facebook immediately after Monday's show, however, to make a post with an old article in the Detroit News about Stafford resigning from the AG's Flint water crisis prosecution team after being arrested for drunken driving.
Stafford addressed the issue during Saturday's appearance on challenger Neeley's weekly radio show on WFLT 1420 AM. The retired inspector with the Michigan State Police said he joined the AG team at the invitation of Andy Arena, former head of the Detroit FBI office who was tabbed by former AG Bill Schuette to lead the investigation and said it was his decision to resign after the drunken driving arrest made headlines. "I had too much to drink at a golf outing," he said. "An officer pulled me over and I told him to do his job."
Stafford said he asked Special Prosecutor Flood for a search warrant on Mayor Weaver's account for the 527 fund at a local credit union. He also said during the interview on the program that a donor told him his check was intended to help Flint water crisis victims, and was not intended to go into the mayor's private 527 fund.
State Rep. Neeley issued the following statement a few hours ago, calling Ellis a "true community patriot." He said, "I stand in full support of retired MSP Officer, Inspector Ellis Stanford, a committed, trustworthy, and meticulous professional that served his country in the Armed Forces and as a member of the Michigan State Police. It is unfortunate that various members of our community who pride themselves on being vocal for the cause of justice would attempt to discredit a people’s servant such as Officer Stanford. It is equally disappointing to see a mayor and administration who would embrace these same individuals as part of their inner circle. Ellis is a devoted father, husband a true community patriot that represents some of the best parts of our society. Again, I stand committed to support Officer Ellis Stanford as tremendous asset to our community who has been diligent in seeking the truth."
The Flint Democrat has hosted the Community Update program every Saturday morning for many years. Rep. Neeley was a member of the Flint City Council for 12 years before spending the last five years in Lansing as a state legislator. Business-woman Tonya Burns is in the race as a write-in hopeful. Businessmen Pfeiffer and Gregory Eason are the others on the ballot with Rep. Neeley and Mayor Weaver.
Pfeiffer has lost in two previous mayoral races (2011 and 2017) and Eason lost in 2009 before becoming City Administrator under Mayor Walling. He served two years in the role until he was fired when the city's finances were taken over by an Emergency Financial Manager appointed by the governor. Burns, who didn't get enough signatures to get her name on the ballot for the August primary, had an unsuccessful run for office in 2017 when she lost in the primary race for the 6th Ward seat on the Flint City Council.
July 29, 2019
Click above to hear the latest breaking news from around the Metro Flint area, as well as from around the state, national and world scenes.
The Daily Gazette
This Web Site is Owned & Operated by Tri-County Publishing Inc.
My AM Advantage
Your Online Morning Newspaper Covering the State, USA & World