Gamrat adds to federal lawsuit

By: 
Daniel Pepper (Staff Writer)

Former Plainwell state representative Cindy Gamrat has updated her federal lawsuit against a number of people she seeks to hold responsible for her removal from office.

“Gamrat’s life has been ruined—personally, financially, and professionally—as a result of Defendant’s actions as described in this Amended Complaint,” the motion said.

Gamrat was expelled from the house in 2015 after a Detroit News story revealed she and fellow representative Todd Courser were having an extramarital affair and aides were being forced to help hide it.

In the first count, Gamrat argues state representatives Kevin Cotter and Ed McBroom and House officials and employees Tim L. Bowlin, Brock Swartzle, Norm Saari and Hassan Beydoun deprived her of her constitutionally-protected interest in continued employment without adequate hearing, violating the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process.

She argues she was not treated like past legislators facing censure or expulsion and wasn’t given the opportunity to adequately defend herself.

“Rather, these Defendants intentionally refused Gamrat every opportunity for due process, equal protection or a fair hearing,” the motion said.

She asks for a judgment declaring the defendants violated her right to due process, the pay she would have earned from her expulsion to the end of her term, compensatory damages for her “...mental anguish and emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation, and damage to her professional reputation...” as well as punitive damages against the defendants and legal fees.

In the second and third counts, she claims legislative leaders breached an enforceable contract when they promised her censure in exchange for her presentation of a joint statement and apology.

A fourth count blames the legislative leaders for malicious prosecution and adds the names of former aides Joshua Cline, Benjamin Graham and Keith Allard to the complaint.

In a fifth count, she alleges federal wiretapping violations because she accused Cotter and house officials of working with her then husband Joe Gamrat, his associates Vincent Krell and David Horr and the aides to wiretap her.

In a sixth count, she accused the above of joining together to stalk her, as defined by Michigan law.

In the seventh count, Gamrat claims they defamed her by making false statements in the house report used to expel her.

Three other complaints are also included.

In the suit, Gamrat lays out her accusation that not long after her first day in office, Jan. 15, 2015, three of the aides she shared with Courser were conspiring with the House speaker to gather information on her. She alleges this was motivated by her refusal to sign a “Caucus pledge” a promise to vote with the Republican caucus on important issues and to keep the pledge confidential. She also alleges the staffers named began communicating with her husband without her knowledge and that he started secretly conducting surveillance of her in her car, home, bedroom and campaign headquarters. She also alleges her husband was communicating with the House speaker and his staff, both directly and indirectly.

In February, the judge in the case declined to dismiss it after Gamrat, then representing herself, had failed to serve the defendants in a timely manner and gave her 30 days to do so.

Contact Dan Pepper at dpepper@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534 or (269) 685-9571.

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