Why is Land now trying to run away from her wealth? Well this might be a good reason:“We’ve been fortunate enough to grow what started as a very small, family business into a successful Michigan-based company that employs hundreds of Michigan residents,” Land said in August 2013 after disclosing at least $34 million in assets tied to “my personal and family income.”
But as the November election quickly approaches, Land has separated herself from the actions of Land & Co. She has denied ever working for the company — despite public records suggesting otherwise — after Democrats criticized the firm for evicting residents of Land’s childhood trailer park and leveling it for redevelopment that hasn’t materialized.
The former Republican secretary of state has instead portrayed herself as a small business owner independent of her family’s fortune, which her husband, Dan Hibma, helped amass as a partner at Land & Co. Land recently released to The Detroit News her 2012 and 2013 personal income tax returns, filed separately from her husband’s returns. - Deadline Detroit, 7/8/14
As mentioned before, Rep. Gary Peters (D. MI) has been hitting Land about her family business and for good reason:Questions about Land’s association with Land & Co. began this spring after she aired an Internet video ad touting her upbringing, helping her immigrant grandparents change bedsheets as a child in a motel connected to the family-owned Grandville trailer park where she grew up.
Land’s father, Paul Land, grew the family business from the La’Grande Grandville Motel and Trailer Park to a sprawling West Michigan portfolio of apartment complexes and commercial and industrial properties. As the company grew, the father of four daughters made his sons-in-law Roger Lucas and Hibma partners in the business, Land said.
In 2004, a Land & Co. subsidiary started by Hibma began closing the 170-unit trailer park to rezone the property for a still-unbuilt commercial venture. The company gave residents one-year’s notice and free rent, and offered to pay their relocation expenses, including moving the tenants’ homes.
Land’s Democratic Senate opponent, Rep. Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township, highlighted the evictions in a May Internet ad and recently staged a press conference on the weed-choked site to condemn the Land family’s lack of development. Since Peters’ ad aired online, the company has told Grandville officials it has a new plan to redevelop the site with a mix of residential and commercial space.
“The fact it’s a family business ... if it’s her husband, she certainly profits from that as well,” Peters said. “... She regularly talks about being active with Land & Co.”
In recent interviews, Land has denied having an ownership or working connection to Land & Co.
“I’ve never worked for Land & Co.,” Land told The Detroit News. “I’ve never owned the trailer park or never owned any of the businesses.”
A Detroit News review of campaign contributions found 38 political donations Land made over 20 years in which her occupation is listed as an “owner,” “special projects manager” or “self-employed” at Land & Co.
Fifteen of the donations listing ownership in Land & Co. were attributed to the nearly $166,000 she spent on her successful 2002 secretary of state campaign, records show. Land’s campaign told The News the Land & Co. ownership title in her 2002 campaign records is erroneous — even though her husband was campaign treasurer at the time.
After The News inquired about Land’s business background, a Land & Co. spokesman acknowledged she has done unpaid work for the company when she was not in public office.
John Truscott, a Lansing public relations executive recently hired by Land & Co., said Land has worked for the family business as a volunteer over the years, doing special projects that included helping with bookkeeping, administrative work such as office reorganization and odd jobs.
“But she’s never been employed, she never paid taxes on any income or something like that from the company,” Truscott said.
Records show campaign donations listing Land & Co. as her employer began in 1990 and continued until 2010, when Land contributed $550 to the Macomb County Republican Committee during her last year in office as secretary of state.
Land & Co. “did give her a title” around 2001 and 2002 to make it clear to company employees that the boss’s wife was doing “a couple of special projects,” Truscott said.
Truscott acknowledged Land may have used the title in some public settings, but contended the multiple instances of her employment association with Land & Co. were errors perpetuated by the bookkeepers of campaigns to which she donated.
“We’re not trying to throw anybody under the bus or anything ... (but) somebody made a mistake, and it probably got repeated,” Truscott said. - The Detroit News, 7/8/14
By the way, did you know that Land was the wealthiest candidate running for Senate this year? Yep, wealthier than David Perdue (R. GA) and Mitch McConnell (R. KY):Peters said he was there to talk about his vision for economic development and renewing the New Markets Tax Credits, a private-public partnership. But he also went after Land.
“There’s really two different visions here,” Peters told reporters. “I’ve been working to bring development into areas, to grow areas and as U.S. senator have public-private partnerships for that to flourish. And you look at Terri Land’s record and her family business, which basically asked people to move out and leave a vacant lot for 10 years.”
Land never actually owned the property. It was operated by her family and bought by her husband’s company. In 2004, the company asked the 171 families living there to move within a year. They helped pay relocation fees.
During the Peters event, developers with the Land company were meeting with a Florida architect and the city about plans for a mixed-use residential development on the site, said Grandville Mayor Steve Maas, a longtime friend of the Lands.
“It’s kind of been on everyone’s radar for a long time,” said Maas, who attended the meeting. “It’s an important site in the city.” - MLive, 6/28/14
Peters is doing well in the polls but we can't take anything for granted. Luckily, Netroots Nation could help rile up more enthusiasm for Peters and gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer (D. MI):That method uses the midpoint of the range of net worth reported. Under that measure, Perdue and McConnell each has more than $30 million in wealth, tens of millions more than their opponents in Georgia and Kentucky. No. 1 on the Bloomberg list is Republican Terri Lynn Land of Michigan.
When ranked by their net-worth midpoint, Land comes out at $32.8 million. Perdue follows at $31.7 million, and McConnell is third at $30.4 million. - Bloomberg Businessweek, 7/8/14
Until then, lets help give Peters and Schauer a head start by donating and getting involved with their campaigns:Detroit will be ground zero next week for thousands of progressive activists from around the country. Social justice advocates, community organizers, union members, college students and bloggers gather at Cobo Center for the ninth annual Netroots Nation conference.
Speakers at the July 17-20 event include Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts., ex-Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont, Daily Kos news site founder Markos Moulitsas and media personality Lizz Winstead, co-founder of "The Daily Show."
Local topics are among those to be discussed by 80 panels. Forty training sessions, film screenings and a tech tools competition co-sponsored by Google also are scheduled.
Hosts bill it as the country’s largest progressive gathering, adding: "Think of it as a giant family reunion for the left." About 3,000 people attended last year in San Diego, according to Wikipedia.
Detroit serves as host "at a crucial moment in Michigan," says Washtenaw County writer Chris Savage of eclectablog, who began pushing two years ago to bring the event here. "The attention that this will bring to our U.S. Senate race and Gary Peters' candidacy, along with our gubernatorial race and the Mark Schauer/Lisa Brown ticket, will help them to raise funds and to get their message out to a broader audience," he tells Deadline Detroit.
Schauer plans to meet supporters at the Anchor Bar, 450 W. Fort St., from 6-7:30 p.m. July 18. Tickets start at $25.
Michigan Senate Democrats co-host a pre-party from 7-10 p.m. July 16 at the Detroit Beer Co.,1529 Broadway, with Sen. Gretchen Whitmer and others. - Deadline Detroit, 7/7/14