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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Michigan State Police raid home of Lee Chatfield associates

Minards home
Michigan State Police officers searched on Tuesday morning the home of Rob and Anne Minard in Bath. (Bridge photo by Jonathan Oosting)

June 1: Lee Chatfield’s home searched amid criminal probe, Dana Nessel confirms
May 12: Search warrant confirms scope of criminal probe of Lee Chatfield’s finances
April 11: Records: Police searched Lee Chatfield's family school in sex assault probe
Feb. 17: Michigan troopers execute warrant on Lee Chatfield's brother as part of probe

BATH — Michigan State Police troopers on Tuesday searched the home of Rob and Anne Minard, two close associates of embattled former House Speaker Lee Chatfield.

At least six marked and unmarked police vehicles, as well as uniformed and plainclothes officers, on Tuesday morning came in and out of the couple’s home in Bath, a community about 10 miles northeast of Lansing.

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A group of officers carried at least two paper bags full of what appeared to be files from the house. Other news outlets reported officers also seized a computer and suitcase.

A spokesperson for the Michigan State Police told Bridge Michigan in an email that the department is “working in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office as part of an ongoing investigation. There is no further information to disclose at this time.” 

The Attorney General’s Office declined comment, while Anne Minard didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

Anne and Rob Minard were two of Chatfield’s most senior staffers when he was in the Legislature from 2015 to 2021. They have been in the spotlight over last few weeks because of their business relationships with Chatfield, who was 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 a teacher at the school at the time. 

Through a lawyer, the married Lee Chatfield has acknowledged multiple affairs but asserted they were all consensual and began as adults.

Since the allegations emerged, Chatfield’s finances and frequent travels as House speaker have come under scrutiny. He made $95,985 as House speaker from 2019 to 2021 and was “gone all the time” on trips, Aaron Chatfield, Rebekah’s husband, told Bridge.

While serving in the House as director of external affairs, Anne Minard was also a board member for the Peninsula Fund, a nonprofit tied to Chatfield, according to IRS records. During this time Rob Minard was serving as Chatfield’s chief of staff. 

A Bridge Michigan investigation in conjunction with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network found the Peninsula Fund spent nearly a half-million dollars on travel and food in 2020 alone. 

However, because the IRS rules don’t require it to disclose donors or explain how the money was spent, much is unknown on how that money was spent.

Records also show that Anne and Rob Minard also reaped six-figure benefits from their relationship with Chatfield, as the Michigan Campaign Finance Network first reported in 2020.

While both worked full-time in the Legislature, 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 about $493,000 in a three-year period from 2018 through 2020.

In total, more than $1.1 million was paid to Victor Strategies from Republican campaigns and PACs while at least one of the Minards was also paid a legislative salary. Anne Minard is still employed in the House as an event and affairs coordinator, according to a House spokesperson.

“I would not be where I am without you and I would not be who I am without you,” Chatfield said during his farewell address in December 2020, referring to the Minards.

Lee Chatfield didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

His attorney, Mary Chartier, said in a statement that Tuesday's search of the Minard’s home is “the latest move in an attempt to take down a former Republican politician based on completely false accusations.”

She said Lee Chatfield has confidence in “the people who were managing funds” and believes “every law was followed.”

“In the end, all that an investigation will reveal is that Republicans and Democrats alike use these accounts in the same fashion and the law was followed,” Chartier said.

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