Snyder Swears That NERD Fund Donors Are Unknown To Him
Michigan's governor has generous pals and says he doesn't know which of them donate to a nonprofit fund he set up.
Chad Livengood, reporting on a legal case deposition in Lansing, explains in The Detroit News:
Gov. Rick Snyder testified Wednesday under oath that he doesn’t know who is bankrolling his secretive NERD Fund that is paying for some of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s living and travel expenses and a close aide’s $100,000-a-year salary.
A union attorney asked Snyder during his Detroit bankruptcy deposition whether the city’s bankruptcy law firm Jones Day, city restructuring firms or two powerful creditor banks have donated to his NERD Fund, according to a draft transcript obtained by The Detroit News. . . .
“My answer would be I don’t know,” Snyder testified. “There’s an independent board that does that work.”
AFSCME attorney Sharon Levine said the identify of the NERD Fund’s donors could be relevant to whether Orr has a conflict of interest, according to Livengood's report on the transcript.
Levine also asked the governor if he knew whether the NERD Fund contributed to ballot campaigns for or against last year’s repeal of Snyder’s first emergency manager law.
“I don’t know,” Snyder testified. . . .
NERD is an acronym for New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify, but plays off of Snyder’s self-designated “one tough nerd” title. . . .
Last month, Snyder’s office disclosed that the NERD Fund is spending $4,200 a month paying for Orr’s lodging at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel in downtown Detroit and flights back home to Maryland on weekends. The reimbursements are made in addition to Orr’s $275,000-a-year state salary.
Snyder defended those expenses in his deposition.