Schuette discloses assets totaling $13M

David Eggert
Associated Press

Lansing – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette on Thursday voluntarily issued a financial disclosure statement showing personal assets totaling more than $13 million – largely investments held in blind trusts or property he inherited in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Colorado.

The attorney general disclosed the value of homes, checking accounts, retirement accounts, blind trusts set up when he took office and other information. He recently received criticism from rival candidate Brian Calley, who revealed and raised questions about Schuette’s island holdings while saying he should fill out a disclosure form.

Such disclosures are not required by state law. Schuette campaign senior strategist John Sellek said he had always intended to release one.

The one-page document shows the value of investments and retirement accounts that are being kept “blind” to prevent any conflict of interests as attorney general. Schuette reported $6.5 million in the blind trusts.

He also listed “non-blind” assets held by limited liability companies in which he has full or partial membership interest – including two St. John parcels for sale for $4 million total, a one-third interest in an inherited family home on St. John shared with his two sisters and a $211,000 half-interest in another inherited home in Colorado.

Schuette’s late stepfather was chairman of Dow Chemical Co.

His statement shows a primary residence worth $688,000 in his hometown of Midland, a family cottage valued at $555,000 in northern Michigan and $323,000 in checking accounts. His 2017 income included a $112,000 salary as attorney general, nearly $46,000 from the legislative retirement pension system and investment earnings of $365,000.

Schuette also released a summary of his latest tax return, which he has done each year since taking office in 2011.

“He thought it was important to take it a step further and release his financials as well,” Sellek said. Schuette, like other gubernatorial candidates, has called for changing the law to require financial disclosures from candidates and officeholders.

Schuette’s disclosure follows the earlier release to Bridge Magazine of some financial assets for five other gubernatorial candidates.

Calley reported to Bridge that he and wife, State Rep. Julie Calley, have investments, savings and checking accounts and two cars ranging in value from $1,001 to $15,000; an Individual Retirement Account and residence worth $100,001 to $250,000; and a 401(k) retirement savings account worth $250,001 to $500,000.

Saginaw obstetrician Jim Hines, also running for the Republican ticket, reported assets that he valued at $2.5 million to $3 million concerning to real estate. The holdings include a home, rental property and Valley OB-GYN Realty in Saginaw County, as well as two vacation homes and 40 acres of vacant land in Roscommon County, according to Bridge.

Hines also reported $9 million to $10 million in assets related to shares in a surgical center and flying club, investment accounts and bank savings accounts.

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, did not disclose his assets.

Democratic candidate Abdul El-Sayed and his wife, Sarah Jukaku, own a condo in Ann Arbor that they lease, generating more than $13,700 last year. Jukaku owns and leases a Bangalore, India, apartment and co-owns other property. El-Sayed has a Columbia University retirement account worth more than $17,000 and a city of Detroit retirement account of $13,062, according to Bridge.

Former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, running in the Democratic primary, owns her $627,400 home in East Lansing and, with husband Mark Mallory, a $345,600 lake house in Elk Rapids, according to Bridge. She listed about $1.4 million in securities and dividends of more than $14,000.

Calley earlier this month accused Schuette of “hypocrisy” for not disclosing his finances and leading people to believe all of his assets were in a blind trust when the land was not. Schuette’s campaign said real estate is not included in blind trusts because sales are public and present no conflict of interest.

Calley spokesman Mike Schrimpf said late Thursday that Schuette “finally revealed that nearly half of his net worth is held in offshore assets outside of his blind trust” and questioned why $2 million from 2013 sales of some Caribbean property was not accounted for on his personal tax return.

Sellek told Crain’s Detroit Business for a story published Thursday night that proceeds from the land sales flowed through a gift trust his mother had set up before her 2003 death and were taxed there. The gift trust was closed in 2015, he said.

Sellek told the AP that Calley “launched false, negative attacks” and criticized Calley for tax increases and withdrawing support for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race.

Detroit News Staff Writer Beth LeBlanc contributed.