Dec 23, 2009

Dillon recall accomplished with fraud

It took a little while, but apparently the law has finally caught up with Leon Drolet and the fraud he used in the recall attempts back in 2007 against primarily Democratic state Representatives who voted for revenue increases to keep the state government going and avoid a shutdown.

Drolet is former Republican state Representative, Macomb County Commissioner and executive director of the so-called Michigan Taxpayers Alliance (MTA). All the recalls fell by the wayside except the recall of Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, D-Redford, but it was accomplished with fraud and deceit, out-of-state money, illegal petition gathers, cash for signatures and illegal campaign contributions. Although it actually made it on the ballot, voters soundly rejected it.

However, today Michael Bastianelli, 28, of Westland and Harvey Robinson, 39, of Redford were arraigned in 16th District Court in Livonia on two felony counts of uttering and publishing and making false statements related to recall petitions during the Dillon recall attempt. They were released on $20,000 personal bonds. A preliminary hearing is set for January 5.

Subscription only Gongwer reported “Bastianelli allegedly forged petition signatures, while Mr. Robinson allegedly paid homeless people at a Detroit shelter to sign the names of residents living in Mr. Dillon's (D-Redford Twp.) district, said Attorney General Mike Cox spokesperson Nick DeLeeuw,” a former blogger. DeLeeuw was singing a different tune back before the 2008 election when he said, “This is exciting stuff. Rose (Bogaert) and Leon did a great job fighting the thugs, the criminals, the powers-that-be (Miles Handy) and the courts to give voters in Andy Dillon's House district the choice to recall him this November.”

Who are the thugs again?

Drolet, of course, denies knowing the pair, telling Gongwer that “he met Mr. Robinson once when he turned in some signatures. Mr. Robinson was working for a petition signature collection firm, Mr. Drolet said. However, he did not recognize Mr. Bastianelli's name.” Right.

“This is an indictment of Leon Drolet,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer in a press release. “The Drolet-led recall now has two people charged with felonies – proving Drolet may even stoop to breaking the law in order to get what he wants.”

The State Police began investigating in May 2008 after receiving 499 complaints of documented forgeries and nearly 2,000 additional suspected forgeries, indicating a widespread campaign to commit fraud. Still, the measure went on the ballot in November of 2008.

“These arrests are also an indictment of the entire recall effort against Speaker Dillon,” said Mark Fisk, partner of Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications, the lead consultant for Dillon in the anti-recall effort. “Drolet and the recall supporters used forgery, fraud, and deception throughout the recall campaign. Thanks to the Michigan State Police, the criminals are being punished and these tactics continue to be exposed.”

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