Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) allegedly used her authority to break through a “firewall” and get details on a case, likely in order to help her friend, a senior official in the Michigan Democratic Party.
Ace reporter Charlie LeDuff wrote in the Detroit News that Nessel “promised not to intervene in an investigation of a friend, but documents show she did breach the firewall created to prevent conflicts.”
The AG’s Financial Crimes Division opened an investigation into Traci Kornak after LeDuff reported last summer that Kornak allegedly committed insurance fraud at The Village of Heather Hills facility in Grand Rapids.
Kornak allegedly did “’inappropriate and unauthorized’ invoicing for services for an elderly, brain-damaged woman over whom she holds power of attorney,” LeDuff reported in July.
A “firewall” was established in the probe as Kornak is the current treasurer of the Michigan Democratic Party and served as the head of Nessel’s transition team in 2018.
“Because the suspect in this matter assisted with Attorney General Nessel’s transition into office, I believe it would create the appearance of impropriety for AG Nessel to access information about this investigation,” Division director Scott Teter wrote in a September memo establishing the “firewall.”
“Specifically, if the Department of Attorney General declined to seek charges against the suspect, it might appear that the professional relationship between Attorney General Nessel and Traci Kornak had influenced the investigation.”
According to LeDuff, Nessel’s chief investigator sent Nessel “four reports regarding the Kornak investigation” in December.
On Dec. 6, Nessel forwarded those reports to Fadwa Hammoud, her solicitor general.
“Ms. Kornak has contacted me regarding this matter,” wrote Nessel. “Mr. [redacted]’s allegations are apparently holding up a potential judicial appointment for her in Kent County. She has requested the documents from our investigation.”
Nessel continued: “I think (she) wants to be able to assert that the claims made by [redacted] were never substantiated by our investigation and the case is closed. Please advise what our process should be. There is some urgency to the matter in that she needs to supply this information by the week’s end.”
Kornak’s case was closed two weeks later.
According to LeDuff, Nessel’s office never interviewed the former long-term care facility director who made the allegation, Joe LeBlanc.
“It’s taken me a long time to come forward,” LeBlanc told LeDuff in July. “I’m afraid of the retaliation, obviously. Look at the state of assisted living facilities and how the (Whitmer) administration covered up things throughout the pandemic. The attorney general never looked into it. So why would I approach the criminal justice system with Dana Nessel at the top?”
LeDuff’s reporting was published in the opinion section, not the news section. So far, the news division has not covered the allegations.