A Democratic lawmaker from Grand Rapids has returned $5,000 in COVID relief aid to Kent County after officials realized she lied about amending her tax returns to comply with grant terms.

The Detroit News last month revealed state Rep. Kristian Grant was permitted to keep $15,000 in COVID business relief grants from the Kent County Small Business Recovery Fund despite discrepancies in applications for two separate businesses.

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Grant organized seven new businesses during the pandemic, including Game Plan Lifestyle Planner, which marketed day planner books online, and Mini Mogul Group. In applying for the grant program, Grant reported Game Plan took in $4,250 in sales in December 2019, while her application for Mini Mogul Group listed Game Plan’s sales at $205 for the entirety of 2019.

Grant did not file paperwork with the state to organize Game Plan until October 2020, according to the News.

Kent County officials noticed the conflicting sales data in 2022, but in 2023 allowed Grant to keep $10,000 in grant money for Mini Mogul, and $5,000 for Game Plan, when Grant said she amended her tax return to resolve the problem.

Kent County Administrator Al Vanderberg told WOOD the county initiated a second review of the grants after The Detroit News highlighted the discrepancies last month and realized Grant’s tax return was not amended “despite her assertion of having done so on May 2, 2023.”

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“Our external legal counsel contacted Rep Grant’s legal counsel upon discovering this issue,” Vanderberg said in a Wednesday statement. “After extensive communication between legal counsels, Rep. Grant returned the $5,000 received for the Game Plan grant to Warner, Norcross & Judd earlier today.”

“As stewards of taxpayer dollars, we take our responsibility seriously,” the statement read. “We have thoroughly addressed the issues brought to our attention regarding Rep. Grant’s applications and subsequent funding. We remain steadfast in upholding the highest standards of accountability and transparency.”

Former Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack, who ran against Grant in the Democratic primary in 2022, has criticized the county’s handling of Grant’s discrepancy and called on her to return the $15,000 she received in COVID relief, arguing Grant received special treatment because she’s a state lawmaker.

“I demanded transparency and the county to hold those who have taken COVID funds without the proper documentation accountable, which I believe is their job,” he told MLive. “I also believe that politicians received the courtesy that there won’t be a criminal investigation because bureaucrats need politicians like that in Lansing.”

Grant has denied any wrongdoing, alleging she did not realize her tax returns were not amended until contacted by the county.

“At this time I did another review of my documentation and discovered that although I believed and stated that the amended 2019 return had been filed, it was not,” she told the news site. “I relied on a trusted professional to assist in amending and filing my return and unfortunately, that did not happen.”

“As a result, I am voluntarily returning the $5,000 grant awarded to Game Plan Lifestyle Planner through the Kent County Small Business Recovery Fund in the next 24 hours so that this issue can be put to rest.”

The fund distributed a total of $34.24 million in federal COVID relief to 3,545 small businesses, while another 1,545 applications were denied or rejected, MLive reports

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs lists all seven of Grant’s businesses created during the pandemic as “not in good standing” for failure to file annual reports. Game Plan’s website is no longer active, while Mini Mogul has had zero posts to its Facebook page since March 21, 2020, according to the news site.