Ad accusing Terri Lynn Land of evicting families broadly true

How we make the call

Truth Squad assigns five ratings to the political statements we review, in descending levels of accuracy:

No factual inaccuracies in the statement and no important information is missing
Mostly accurate
While the statement is largely accurate, it omits or exaggerates facts, or needs some clarification
Half accurate
Truths are interspersed with mistruths, or the speaker left out significant facts that render his/her remarks misleading in important respects
Mostly inaccurate
The major point or points made are untrue or misleading, even while some aspects of the claim may be accurate
The statement is false, or based on false underlying facts
Who:Peters for Michigan
What:"Evicted," 50-second video
The call:Warning

Relevant text of the ad:

“She grew up in a trailer park and motel owned by her grandparents. Terri Lynn Land worked her way up. But that's not the whole story. Years ago Terri Lynn Land bought that property and evicted the 170 families living there - 170 families told to get out all so Terri Lynn Land could flip the property and make a profit. That didn't work out. Ms. Land bulldozed her childhood home and it sits vacant to this day, a community destroyed for nothing. That's what she calls a success story. The families she grew up with, the ones she evicted, probably call it something else.”

The 50-second video continues a spirited U.S. Senate contest between former GOP Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters. The two have traded blows over the Affordable Care Act – Land opposes the health care reform measure, while Peters voted for it - and about which candidate best represents women. This entry by the Peters campaign makes it personal.

Statements under review:

“She grew up in a trailer park and motel owned by her grandparents...Years ago Terri Lynn Land bought that property and evicted the 170 families living there.”

The Land campaign website notes that Land was born in Grand Rapids and spent her early years “living at the family’s LaGrande Grandville Motel and Trailer Park, which was started by her grandfather and grandmother.” In 1995, that property was sold to LaGrande LLC. State of Michigan records list Daniel Hibma, Land's husband, as its registered agent. It was described in the Grand Rapids Press “as a company owned by the family of Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.”

In 2004, according to extensive Press reporting, LaGrande LLC issued notice to 171 families living in the park they had a year to relocate. The park population, according to one resident, included the recently unemployed and those on fixed income or disability payments. The company said eviction proceedings would begin June 30, 2005 for those who had not moved out. It offered to pay moving expenses - estimated at $5,000 - for those who moved within six months. One resident – who was raising her 7-year-old grandson – told The Press: “When you're my age they say you're in the golden years, but they're looking pretty rusty to me.”

“...all so Terri Lynn Land could flip the property and make a profit. That didn't work out. Ms. Land bulldozed her childhood home and it sits vacant to this day, a community destroyed for nothing.”

In March 2005, Land and Company – also operated by the Land family – sought to rezone the Grandville property for development. It lists Daniel Hibma as its resident agent. A month later, Hibma told members of the Grandville Planning Commission he was “anxious to market” the property. But it was never sold or developed and sits empty today. It is listed for sale at $1.6 million.

Heather Swift, spokesperson for Land, called the ad “a false and a scurrilous mischaracterization of the facts.” She did not dispute any specific content in the ad.

The call:Warning

The broad outline of what the ad alleges is true. The trailer park where Land grew up was sold to a family interest that included Land's husband, Daniel Hibma. The company later gave residents of the park a year to leave or face eviction, notice that left some scrambling to find housing they could afford. In a strict legal sense, the company did not evict all 170 families. Many left within six months and received financial help to move. But using “evict” in its more colloquial sense, the company’s announcement did force families to find another place to live. The parcel remains empty today and is up for sale.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Tue, 05/20/2014 - 9:10am
' Ms.. Land bulldozed her childhood home and it sits vacant ' ....How can a bulldozed home be occupied?
Tue, 05/20/2014 - 10:01am
An old dilapidated mobile home park, drive past it often. The residents and over all community are better off in almost any case off being out of there..
Tue, 05/20/2014 - 10:12am
Land has made a career out of doing nothing but what her bosses tell her to. That's why she's in this position.
Sun, 05/25/2014 - 5:04pm
Terri Lynn Land and her husband are not real Republicans. They are Tea Party people! There allegiance is to the money they can make for themselves, their religious beliefs and making sure they control the democratic process, so it will favor them! Behaving as responsible citizens to the country and the state is not in their personal interest! The values they seem to live by are not the values of democracy. Instead, their values appear to be mercantile...just like the British before the colonists rebelled!
Mon, 05/26/2014 - 8:38am
Carolyn, I think you got it wrong. Land and her husband are Republicans and owe their allegiance to the good-old-boys MIGOP and the money of special interest. We don't live in a democracy but a republic. Big difference. Mercantile has its advantages but its when cronyism cuts in that the corruption begins. Both Republicans and Democrats are full of it and its ruining people's lives.
LeAnn Kirrmann
Mon, 09/01/2014 - 7:43pm
Losers like Gary Peters have to LIE to get elected. He is a leftist anti-life, anti business, anti faith, whose only interest is crony socialism. TerriLynnLand cares about ALL people. The poor, the middle class and those who worked hard to become wealthy. She has worked to help people to make better lives and better places to live.
Wed, 07/02/2014 - 1:51am
Read about the Boston Tea party. Then reread your post. The modern day Tea party (that's why it's called the "Tea party") is routed in the same concept. I wish people would stop all the stupid media made BS, and actually learn the truth about things they know nothing about. The Tea Party stands for "No taxation with out representation". Your comment "their values appear to be mercantile…just like the British before the colonists rebelled" The colonial rebellion started with the Tea Party! I just can't believe the ignorance.
Sun, 07/06/2014 - 1:56pm
The 1st. Amendment grants us free speech. I of course defend everyones right to say their peace. Opinion is not fact but facts can support one's point of view. Political Parties in America have become self-sustaining and self-promoting machines that could care less about 170 mobile home trailers, except if they can be used as weapons of political gain. The so called "Tea Party" has no national office in DC, dose not lobby, nor does it have representation supported by 50 local state chapters and local units like the DMC or the RNC. They have no nation ballet platform. Thus the "Tea Party" is truly just people with NO political affiliation. The kind of movement that all Americans who hate the "Party" system are moving to. As for the personal attack on the Land family sees motivated by "Party" ideology. It would seem that offering a $5000 cash to move is very generous considering that 10 yr old used mobile homes are worth less than that. Also mobile home parks by state law pay less school tax than other residential properties, which often puts financial strain upon local school districts. The Lands family has thus been more than reassemble and "Christian" to those who moved along with helping their community schools gain a better chance of equality of tax payer investment.
Jim Hendricks
Mon, 05/26/2014 - 9:36pm
Does this mean if you own property you need to get everyone's OK before you do something else with it? It's her land! The tenants were offered moving expenses! Facts might be more or less correct but tone is definitely heavily slanted. Heck, headline could have been "nice landlords offer moving expenses and a year's notice!"
Tue, 07/22/2014 - 4:36pm
Where is Tea Party, Republican , Christian voter in Georgetown Twp? We are threatened with rape of taxpapers to destroy a whole mall ; throw away present well adquate Twp , Library, Senior centers, etc to tune of billions? All need better roads , lower taxes, more representation of the payers less for takers and squanders! Tyanny in Washington to local gone locol ....WHAT'S NEXT? this effects more a gone slum park . It is Land's land and seem what comes around...what is the gain...dollars are gone worthless as obama.