(WXYZ) - Governor Rick Snyder’s non-profit fund wouldn’t be a news story if it wasn’t such a secret.
But ever since we first reported on the mystery fund last year, Snyder has refused to release the names of donors, or show exactly how $1,456,283 in donations have been spent.
Last month, we first reported that the fund has paid for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s condo at the Westin Book Cadillac.
Snyder said the expense is necessary, and the that fund operates above board.
"It’s all legal, it’s all been presented, the information that’s required. It doesn’t go to my personal benefit, it’s actually offsetting the costs of government. So, people should feel comfortable with that," said Governor Rick Snyder.
But some are uncomfortable about what’s unknown about the fund, especially in the age of Kwame Kilpatrick and Bob Ficano.
Both politicians had similar non-profits that operated without disclosure. Kilpatrick awaits a prison sentence for how he misused his, and Ficano completely restructured his fund once we exposed that it paid a county official a secret $75,000 bonus.
As for Kevyn Orr, he told Channel 7 editorial staff last month that when it comes to his travel expenses--he’s footing the bill.
"I pay my travel out of pocket every week, I pay my parking, I don’t expense mileage. It’s cost me tens of thousands of dollars, personally," said Kevyn Orr.
But that may be changing.
Orr’s spokesman tells 7 Action News that while his boss has paid for his airfare so far, he may have the NERD Fund reimburse him. And that’s fine, say government watchdogs like Rich Robinson, but if donors are helping out a powerful figure like Orr, Michigan residents deserve to know who they are.
"This isn’t some generic social welfare organization, this is a vehicle under the control of the governor and, in effect, it’s almost a shadow portion of the government," said Rich Robinson.
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