February 17: Michigan soldiers execute a warrant against Lee Chatfield’s brother as part of an investigation
BATH — Michigan State Police troopers searched the home of Rob and Anne Minard, two close associates of former House Speaker Lee Chatfield, on Tuesday.
At least six marked and unmarked police vehicles, along with uniformed and plainclothes officers, drove in and out of the couple’s home in Bath, a community about 10 miles northeast of Lansing, on Tuesday morning.
A group of officers were carrying at least two paper bags filled with what appeared to be house files. Other news outlets reported that officers also seized a computer and suitcase.
A Michigan State Police spokesperson told Bridge Michigan in an email that the department is “working with the attorney general’s office in an ongoing investigation.” There is no further information to disclose at this time.”
The attorney general’s office declined to comment, while Anne Minard did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Anne and Rob Minard were two of Chatfield’s most senior officials when he was in the Legislative Assembly from 2015 to 2021. They have been in the spotlight in recent weeks due to their business dealings with Chatfield, which has been accused in December of sexual abuse by his sister-in-law.
Rebekah Chatfield told Bridge the abuse began when she was 15 or 16 at a northern Michigan Christian school run by Chatfield’s father, Rusty. Lee Chatfield was then a teacher at the school.
Through a lawyer, groom Lee Chatfield acknowledged several affairs, but claimed they were all consensual and started as an adult.
Since the allegations emerged, Chatfield’s finances and his frequent travels as Speaker of the House have come under scrutiny. He earned $95,985 as Speaker of the House from 2019 to 2021 and was “out all the time” traveling, Aaron Chatfield, Rebekah’s husband, told Bridge.
While serving in the House as director of external affairs, Anne Minard was also a member of the board of directors of the Peninsula Fund, a nonprofit organization linked to Chatfield, according to IRS records. Meanwhile, Rob Minard was Chatfield’s chief of staff.
A Bridge Michigan investigation in conjunction with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network found the Peninsula Fund spent nearly half a million dollars on travel and food in 2020 alone.
However, because IRS rules do not require it to disclose donors or explain how the money was spent, much is unknown about how that money was spent.
Records also show that Anne and Rob Minard also made six-figure profits from their relationship with Chatfield, as the Michigan Campaign Finance Network reported for the first time in 2020.
While both working full-time in the Legislative Assembly, Rob and Anne Minard also owned Victor Strategies, a consulting firm. Chatfield’s leadership PACs, his campaign and a connected super PAC paid the Minards approximately $493,000 over a three-year period from 2018 to 2020.
In total, more than $1.1 million went to Victor Strategies from Republican campaigns and PACs, while at least one of the Minards also received a legislative salary. Anne Minard is still employed at the House as events and business coordinator, according to a House spokesperson.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without you and I wouldn’t be who I am without you,” Chatfield said during his farewell speech in December 2020, referring to the Minards.
Lee Chatfield did not respond to a request for comment.
His attorney, Mary Chartier, said in a statement that Tuesday’s search of the Minards’ home is “the latest move to bring down a former Republican politician on completely false charges.”
She said Lee Chatfield had faith in “the people managing the funds” and believed that “all laws were followed”.
“Ultimately, all an investigation will reveal is that Republicans and Democrats use these accounts equally and that the law has been followed,” Chartier said.