Jonathan Oosting, Detroit News Lansing Bureau 12:53 p.m. EDT May 2, 2016
Former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat is joining former state Rep. Todd Courser on the airwaves against the wishes of her attorney as the duo continues to battle criminal charges in court.
Gamrat will host a two-hour radio show at noon Thursdays on Superstation 910AM, the Southfield station announced Monday. Courser was announced as a host last week and hosted his first show on Saturday.
Gamrat will not be paid for the show but will have the opportunity to seek out her own advertisers, according to a station spokesman.
910AM CEO Kevin Adell told The Detroit News: “She’ll have a press card. She’ll get to go up to Lansing, bring a microphone and ask hard questions.”
Gamrat, in a statement to The Detroit News, said she was honored for the chance “to give the inside scoop on how our elected officials are impacting our lives, what they are trying to hide, and what we can do to hold them accountable.”
The Plainwell tea party conservative said the public deserves to know about “decisions that are made behind closed doors in our government impact every part of our lives, from our health care choices, the feasibility of starting a business, insurance and utility costs, to the cost of our groceries and gas we put in our car.”
Gamrat and Courser are fighting felony and misdemeanor charges for alleged misconduct in office while attempting to hide their extramarital affair. The state House voted in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2015, to expel Gamrat shortly after Courser resigned.
She was a lawmaker for eight and a half months before becoming the fourth legislator in Michigan’s 178-year history to be ousted from office by fellow lawmakers. She and Courser have threatened to sue the state and in March filed a notice of intent to keep that legal option open.
Courser’s and Gamrat’s departures from the Legislature came five weeks after The Detroit News revealed the existence of audio recordings of Courser orchestrating a scheme to cover up their affair. It involved spreading a phony diversionary story that he was caught having sex with a male prostitute behind a Lansing nightclub
Gamrat’s criminal attorney Mike Nichols last week criticized 910AM and Adell on social media, suggesting the station is trying to take advantage of his client’s notoriety.
“Station owners like this guy are drug dealers who prey on the siren song of the high – the high of the belief that people in your audience and the airtime make you relevant,” Nichols wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. “… It’s really sad that I can protect her from the government but I cannot protect her from this troglodyte.”
Nichols, who worked in radio prior to his legal career, said Monday “it’s the only industry that eats its young.” Superstation 910AM has made a habit of lining up “lightning-rod political figures” to fill out its schedule, he added.
Since January, the radio station formerly known for mostly ministerial programming has added shows for former Detroit mayoral chief of staff Christine Beatty and former Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree.
Beatty is best known as former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s second-in-command and mistress, who resigned in 2008 after text messages she traded with Kilpatrick emerged showing she and Kilpatrick lied about their affair. She served 69 days of a four-month jail sentence in 2009 and was on probation for about four years.
McCree was kicked off the bench in March 2014 by the Michigan Supreme Court for misconduct in office that began in 2012. His antics included having a six-month extramarital affair with a participant in a child support case before him and then lying “repeatedly” about it under oath as well as sending a shirtless photo of himself to a court employee.
Other controversial figures with shows include former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee, former City Attorney Krystal Crittendon, former Detroit City Councilwoman Joann Watson and political activist Malik Shabazz — and now Courser and Gamrat.
The station bills itself as “Detroit’s largest voice for African-Americans” and hopes to cut into the market share of longtime urban talk leader WCHB-AM (1200).
Although some of its hosts take listener calls, including Godbee and 4-7 p.m. weekday host Karen Dumas, “I told (Gamrat) not to take calls at first,” Adell said. “Just bring in guests.”
“If she takes calls and gets lambasted,” he explained, “I’m afraid she won’t come back.”
Attorney Nichols said “It’s her call” when The News asked if he advised Gamrat against doing the show. He said he understands “it’s not been easy” for Gamrat to find a job since Attorney General Bill Schuette levied felony charges against her in February.
“I obviously hopes she proves me wrong and that she makes something out of it,” Nichols said. “The timing probably could be a little bit better.”
Mort Meisner, a spokesman for 910AM, said the station does not directly pay its hosts but allows them to seek out their own advertisers for their shows.
The station approached Gamrat about hosting a show and had a productive meeting with her late last week, Meisner said.
“She’s a grown woman and can make her own decisions,” he told The News. “We think she has a good story to tell, relative to her time in the Legislature, and can probably shed some light on a lot of the backroom goings on there. Her attorney is entitled to his opinion, but I respectfully disagree.”
Adell added in a statement: “The locks to 910AM Superstation are on the outside, not the inside. Cindy Gamrat came to my station on her own free will and at her own expense. I am happy to have her as a member of my team.”
Gamrat is set to host her first show from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday. Courser’s first weekend show went well, according to Meisner.
“We were very pleased and Todd was very pleased as well. It wouldn’t surprise me potentially to see that grow,” he said.
Gamrat is accused of giving false information to the House Business Office and instructing a staff member to forge her signature to speed up the filing of draft legislation. If found guilty, she could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Courser, a Lapeer-area Republican, is charged with four felonies and could face a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted.
Columnist Neal Rubin contributed