A federal grand jury indicted state Rep. Larry Inman on charges of attempted extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI.
Inman is a Republican from the Traverse City area who is serving his third term in the House after decades as a local official in northern Michigan.
The grand jury alleges that Inman committed the crime of attempted extortion by using his authority as an elected representative.
Update - May 16, 3:46 p.m.:
Inman has missed two days of state House sessions since the charges were filed this week. But he did appear on a syndicated radio talk show hosted by Michael Patrick Shiels on Wednesday. Inman says he is innocent and intends to fight the charges.
“I did not do any of this. And I am innocent of all of these charges. I didn’t … I have my integrity, and my honesty, and this is my life,” he said.
“Come on," he added. "This is, this is crap.”
Update - May 16, 7:10 a.m.:
Inman is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Grand Rapids on May 23.
Update - May 15, 3:52 p.m.:
House Speaker Lee Chatfield says he has asked state Representative Larry Inman to resign. Chatfield says Inman’s actions are not what the people of Michigan deserve.
“The conduct and text messages sent by Rep. Larry Inman are completely out of line and are completely against the spirit of this entire institution," Chatfield said. "Because of that I have asked him to resign in his official capacity as state representative.”
Chatfield says Inman agreed to take his resignation request under consideration. Inman’s attorney is quoted as saying his client is not resigning.
Original post - May 15, 12:08 p.m.:
Inman is accused of pledging to vote against an effort to repeal Michigan's prevailing wage law if he could get campaign contributions from a carpenters union.
The indictment says Inman texted a representative of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights on June 3, 2018, saying in part, "I hear the prevailing wage vote may be on Wenesday," and "Carpenters have been good to me, where are the rest of the trades on checks?" Inman then suggested that the representative give large campaign donations to other representatives that would vote to block the law.
Prosecutors say the union didn't respond as requested, and Inman voted to repeal the law. If convicted, Inman would face up to 20 years in prison for that offense.
The grand jury also alleges that Inman solicited a bribe and lied to the FBI. Inman would face up to 10 years and five years in prison, respectively, if convicted on those charges.
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield released the following statement:
“Everyone in the House is surprised and disappointed by this news. The indictment just came to my attention this morning, and I am still gathering more information. There’ll be more to say once we've been able to have a longer conversation with Rep. Inman. Until then, I have directed the House Business Office to take control of the representative’s office to ensure consistent services are available for the people of Grand Traverse County. Additionally, Rep. Inman has been removed from his committee assignments effective immediately.”
Inman's office did not issue a comment. A date for his arraignment has not yet been scheduled.