Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Key figure in $25M Clare health campus controversy pleads guilty to fraud

complete health campus
The Complete Health Park project in Clare was suspended last year following what state officials called “red flags.” Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office is now investigating a $25 million grant for the project. (Bridge file photo)
  • Anthony Demasi pleaded in March to two charges, admitting he stole the identity of a former employee to get a credit card 
  • He was identified as ‘project manager’ of $25 million, no-bid grant to build a health campus in Clare
  • The project was championed by former House Speaker Jason Wentworth and led by his former top aide

Anthony Demasi, who along with a former aide to a top Republican lawmaker secured a $25 million grant now under investigation, has pleaded guilty to unrelated federal fraud charges.

Demasi admitted he used a former employee’s ID to secure a credit card. He faces sentencing July 18 for charges punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

He is a key figure in the ongoing controversy over the now-scuttled Complete Health Park in Clare, which was championed by former House Speaker Jason Wentworth and involved a $25 million grant to a nonprofit led by his former aide.

Anthony Demasi sit at a desk
Anthony Demasi pleaded in March to two charges, admitting he stole the identity of a former employee to get a credit card.

Demasi, who served five years in prison over a decade ago for fraud in Illinois, was listed in state paperwork as the “project manager” for the health campus.


The project was led by David Coker, a former chair of the Clare County Republican Party and onetime aide to Wentworth.

The project got nearly $10 million before the state stopped payment in May 2023 and suspended the project. State officials cited a host of questions, including payments totaling $820,000 to a business registered to Coker. 

The project also involved a $3.5 million land sale from state Rep. Tom Kunse, who succeeded Wentworth in the Legislature.

Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office confirmed in December that it was investigating the grant, following an initial review by the inspector general of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Messages for Demasi’s attorney and the attorney general’s office seeking comment were not returned Thursday.

Demasi’s criminal background was one of the “red flags” that caused the state to suspend the grant.


But Bridge Michigan has reported that his prior conviction was publicly available before the state agreed to award the money to Complete Health Park, set up by Coker just months before the grant was approved.

Even Demasi said his past is no secret. “I mean, that's the first thing you (get) when you Google my name,” Demasi told Bridge in 2023.

Demasi was indicted on the new charges in December 2022, the day before the state finalized the grant agreement with Complete Health Park.

Emails obtained by Bridge showed that a state staffer felt pressured to finalize the grant because he believed it was intended for someone ”well connected politically.”

Wentworth has told Bridge he did nothing wrong, saying he pushed for the grant because the project is needed in mid-Michigan. Wentworth has said he had nothing to do with the project going to Coker.

Available state health department emails obtained by Bridge through the Freedom of Information Act seem to confirm that account.

Demasi is unlikely to serve 30 years in prison for the new charges. Court records indicate federal prosecutors recommend a reduced sentence because he accepted responsibility and admitted guilt.

Prosecutors said Demasi used the identity of young recent college graduates who he hired to work for his business and a nonprofit he ran.

Demasi admitted he used the identity of one of the victims in 2018 to get a credit card and then ran up over $1,000 in bills. As part of his plea deal, Demasi agreed to pay two banks up to $12,538 in restitution.


During the investigation, federal authorities raided Demasi’s offices, which he shared with Coker, and confiscated some of the latter’s materials. 

Coker not been charged with a crime or been accused of wrongdoing.

Coker has long known Demasi from growing up in Clare, and he turned to Demasi as he was drafting plans for the Clare Health Park that Wentworth got the grant for in 2022.

Records show that Demasi stood to make up to $300,000 for the Clare health campus, but was paid only  $37,500 before Coker fired him. 

Demasi later sued Coker in Clare County Circuit Court seeking the balance.

How impactful was this article for you?

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now