Michigan Governor: 'I Don't Know' Who Donates to NERD Fund

Gov. Rick Snyder testified Wednesday under oath that he doesn’t know who is bankrolling his secretive NERD Fund that is paying for some of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s living and travel expenses and a close aide’s $100,000-a-year salary.
October 11, 2013

Gov. Rick Snyder testified Wednesday under oath that he doesn’t know who is bankrolling his secretive NERD Fund that is paying for some of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s living and travel expenses and a close aide’s $100,000-a-year salary.

A union attorney asked Snyder during his Detroit bankruptcy deposition whether the city’s bankruptcy law firm Jones Day, city restructuring firms or two powerful creditor banks have donated to his NERD Fund, according to a draft transcript obtained by The Detroit News.

“With respect to your questions as to who the donors were and that category of questioning, my answer would be I don’t know,” Snyder testified. “There’s an independent board that does that work.”

According to the transcript, Snyder made the disclosure after an assistant attorney general initially protested the line of questioning. The attorney argued the questioning was outside of the scope of the deposition and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees objections to Detroit’s eligibility for bankruptcy.

AFSCME attorney Sharon Levine said the identify of the NERD Fund’s donors could be relevant to whether Orr has a “conflict of interest” that needs disclosed, according to the transcript.

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