House settles aides’ suit linked to Courser/Gamrat scandal

The state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. on a rainy May 5, 2015.
The state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. on a rainy May 5, 2015.

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — The Michigan House of Representatives will pay $515,000 in a settlement with two former legislative aides who alleged they were wrongfully fired and publicly humiliated after reporting two lawmakers’ extramarital affair and other misconduct.

Under its terms, the House agreed to pay Ben Graham and Keith Allard $169,945.42 each to settle the suit. The House will also pay $175,029.16 to Graham and Allard’s attorneys and cover legal expenses for the men in the lawsuits ex-state lawmakers Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat filed against them.

The settlement agreement makes it clear the House does not admit any wrongdoing in Graham and Allard’s dismissal, but rather says that it wanted to avoid further expenses related to the suit.

In exchange, Graham and Allard will dismiss the suit and agree not to file any more claims against the House.

Word of the settlement came in October, but it was signed and filed in court on Tuesday.

In a joint statement, Cotter and the plaintiffs say the settlement “is in the best interest of everyone, including the House as an institution and the Michigan taxpayers.”

Todd Corser, Cindy Gamrat
LEFT: Former state representative Todd Courser in 65th District Court on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Lansing, Mich. RIGHT: Former state representative Cindy Gamrat in 65th District Court on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Lansing, Mich. (Dale G. Young/The Detroit News via AP)

Graham and Allard previously worked in Courser and Gamrat’s joint office. They sued the House in December of last year, saying they alerted House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s office about their two married Republican bosses’ affair, but it was covered up at the behest of Courser and Gamrat.

After that affair became public in August of last year, Courser resigned from the House and Gamrat was expelled. Course and Gamrat have each filed civil lawsuits in the matter. Multiple defendants are involved in those suits, including Graham and Allard.