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Inman recall effort knocked down due to lack of signatures

Max Johnston
Interlochen Public Radio

Updated 01/10/2020 at 5:22 p.m.

The recall effort against State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) is officially over. 

The Michigan Secretary of State's office found that the group behind the recall fell 208 signatures short of the 12,201 they needed to trigger a recall election.

The group, called Recall Inman, wanted to remove the lawmaker from office because of dozens of votes he missed over the summer while being treated for opioid addiction and battling federal criminal charges. In November, Inman was found not guilty of lying to the F.B.I. while a jury couldn't reach a verdict on two other corruption charges.

Previously the recall effort had over 1,700 signatures tossed out over typos and concerns over legibility. Several people signed the petition multiple times or didn't fill out their state of residence, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Attorney for the recall group Michael Naughton says despite their failure, they are proud of the work they've done.

"If nothing else I want our community to get respect downstate to show that we fight for things that are important to us," Naughton said. "Representation in Lansing is absolutely important to us."

At a short press conference Friday afternoon, organizer Sandy Hardy had a message for the embattled lawmaker.

"We hope that he will listen to ... nearly 14,000 signatures and all these volunteers and he will do the right thing and resign," Hardy said.

Inman's attorney Chris Cooke was relieved the petition was knocked down but says it should have been done months ago, adding that it included language from the federal indictment for which his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

"We're just very, very pleased that it turned out the way it did because there was really no basis for this entire recall effort," Cooke said.

Inman has returned to work in the Michigan legislature.

Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a reporter and quickly took on leadership roles as Interim News Director and eventually Assignment Editor. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio, WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing and NPR.