Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer is calling for an investigation into the Michigan Department of Treasury after we revealed that former Treasurer Andy Dillon was on a Caribbean cruise during his final week of work in Lansing.
Dillon’s disappearance was unknown to even the governor’s office, it insisted.
“The Governor needs to stop trying to cover this up and come clean about the sweetheart deals and cronyism that is rampant in the Department of Treasury,” Whitmer, D-East Lansing, said in a news release. “These people are supposed to be charged with improving the state’s finances, not their own, and Michigan taxpayers deserve a thorough review of what is really going on with their money.”
Dillon’s resignation on Halloween came after the Motor City Mucrkaker revealed alcohol problems and racially charged text messages sent from his cell phone, but Snyder quietly put Dillon back on the payroll until Jan. 31 to help his successor learn the ropes. He continued receiving his $174,000 annual salary.
But instead of wrapping up his final week and a half in Lansing, Dillon has been on a cruise.
After contacting the governor’s office, a treasury spokesman told us that Dillon is on unpaid vacation because his work is complete. We are requesting records to confirm.
The handling of Dillon’s compensation is just the latest in a number of unsettling revelations against the treasury that has prompted Whitmer to call for an independent review of the department’s handling of hiring and compensation practices.
According to Whitmer, treasury officials are among the highest-paid state employees. In fact, she said, eight of the 10 highest-salaried state officials work for the treasury.
What’s more, Whitmer said, several treasury officials received “exponential increases” and one reached $300,000. One of the biggest beneficiaries of those raises is Richard DiBartolomeo, a campaign aide for Snyder and treasurer of the controversial NERD Fund, which raises money without being required to disclose the donors. His treasury salary – $180,000.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.