Report raises conflict of interest concerns in AG investigation
MSU donor Peter Secchia, under fire for his recent comments regarding Larry Nassar, has made donations related to former Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth, who is leading Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s investigation of MSU.
The Detroit Free Press reported Secchia is a major donor to both MSU and Schuette, as well as having made $200,000 in donations to the Kent County Republican Party and sponsoring Forsyth’s retirement party in 2016. Secchia has also donated more than $20,000 to Schuette’s political campaigns.
Andrea Bitely, communications director for Schuette, said the party was a fundraiser for the Silent Observer tip-line service for crime victims in Grand Rapids. Bitely said Forsyth had no real role in planning the event other than attending it, and Secchia's contribution was not a direct donation to Forsyth.
"We're not going to leave a stone unturned in this investigation," Bitely said. "Bill Schuette has gone after people in his own political party before, he's fought the good fight and he's not going to rest until these women, and girls in some cases, get justice. And this isn't about politics, this is about justice for the victims of Larry Nassar and making sure this never happens again."
Schuette is also a friend of football coach Mark Dantonio, whose program will be scrutinized in the investigation, the Free Press reports. Dantonio wrote the forward to Schuette’s 2015 book, “Big Lessons from a Small Town.”
“As I have grown to know Bill, he encompasses these qualities that have allowed our teams at Michigan State University to succeed at such a high level," Dantonio wrote, according to the Free Press.
Schuette addressed his relationship with Dantonio on WJR's Paul W. Smith show Monday morning, Bitely said.
"Mark Dantonio wrote a beautiful forward in my book ... and I appreciate that very much," Schuette said, according to Bitely. "The investigation ... it'll be thorough, prompt, and there are one set of rules, they apply to everybody. And everybody at Michigan State understands that. There's one rule of justice, applied to everyone equally, and that's what people expect and that's what'll occur."
In an interview with WZZM-TV, Secchia made controversial comments, questioning whether parents of Nassar survivors stayed silent because they were driven to have a gold medal.
"I would say to them that if you don't feel comfortable with your children at Michigan State, take them somewhere else because we've got a long list of people that want to go to Michigan State and there are some wonderful people left," Secchia told WZZM.
Bitely said the following tweet by Schuette was in response to Secchia's comments.