Well, the pendulum swings to and fro, and some things just keep cropping up like weeds.
One in particular in the patch definitely merits mentioning on my trip down memory lane. In fact, he was in the headlines again just recently. Surprise, surprise! A federal judge tossed out Todd Courser’s lawsuit against the state house, former leaders and staffers.
In his endless bid to rewrite history, Courser alleged there was some grand plan to oust him from office because… well…who knows? In his mind, his power was so great, and his determination to obliterate the line between church and state so frightening that a vast conspiracy was created to ruin his career. Never mind that he demolished what is likely the best gig he ever had and ever will have by engaging in a not-so-clandestine extra-marital affair at the gossip-filled state capitol with a fellow freshman lawmaker. Admittedly, that’s disappointing, perhaps, but not earth shattering. Many politicians have survived being caught in an affair. The icing on the cake—or perhaps more aptly stated the mud in the gutter was Courser’s own creation of a truly creepy, salacious “false flag” email to take the heat off the affair. In all of his allegations and rantings against the “government machine,” Courser fails to mention that little piece of truly head-scratching history. I mean, who thinks this way? Write something truly horrible about yourself so people will be less likely to believe something somewhat terrible? Oh, that’s right…it was to “innoculate the herd.”
Here’s just a small part of the email that I can print here in a community newspaper. It appears as written:
State Rep Courser Caught behind a Lansing nightclub! Christian conservative or Godless Addicted Monster! Truth!!!! Courser secretly Removed from Caucus several weeks ago due to male on male paid for sex behind a prominent Lansing nightclub! Action soon coming to remove Courser! He is a bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant! All over Lansing since the election and that is why he was thrown out of caucus!
He is a FREAK! He is a gun toting bible thumping ………..freak! His whole persona it is a sham!
…Well, perhaps there is a shred of truth in the last line there. This isn’t the entire email. It’s too nauseating and alarmingly disturbing to print in its entirety. The foul language is over the top, and as such, is very telling.
But that’s not what this trip is all about. It’s about hearing of the tryst from a very reliable source months before the story broke. Try as we did to confirm what we’d heard, the hotel employees’ lips were zipped, rightly so. There was no police report filed when the husband of the other lawmaker showed up and pounded on the lovers’ door, so we couldn’t confirm a thing.
Interestingly enough, even before Courser was elected in 2014 we were also tipped off about an Immanuel ‘Ike’ Eickholdt who was running as a Democrat in the same election. Another very reliable source mentioned that Eickholdt seemed to come out of the blue, and the blue was tinted with red. He was never a member of the Lapeer County Democratic Party, and was not in the least bit active or visible in local politics. I asked him about all that when he stopped in the office for his candidate profile wearing his veteran’s cap and innocent smile. He denied being a dupe for Courser to take votes away from strong Democratic candidate Margaret DeLuca, who garnered 44.9 percent of the votes in that fateful election. An outstanding showing for a Democrat around here, which speaks volumes about that particular election. For what it’s worth, Eickholdt managed to get 586 votes to DeLuca’s 2,326 in the primary.
As if to drive home that there’s always a grain of truth in every rumor, after the Courser scandal broke in August of 2015, I learned that Courser was a guest at Eickholdt’s wedding just a week or so later. By then, there were widespread rumors that it was Eickholdt who sent the “false flag” email. When I interviewed Eickholdt about the wedding I took the opportunity to ask him about it directly. Here’s an excerpt from the story that ran in August of 2015 under the headline ‘Is Eickholdt friend or foe?’
In two of those taped conversations, Courser mentions his friend “Ike,” who was later confirmed to be Eickholdt.
Courser says Ike was the anonymous sender of the false e-mail claiming that Courser was involved in homosexual activity and illicit drug use to the Republican rank and file in May.
That simply is not true, says Eickholdt. The former Lapeer County resident and Democratic candidate for the 82nd House seat on Monday said his business and personal relationship with Courser is a long one, but he knows nothing about the e-mail or who sent it.
“We have discussed some of the stuff leading up to this in the past, but I never sent any e-mail, and I was never even asked to send any e-mail.”
…He says he was disappointed and actually quite angry when a Detroit News reporter contacted him about the e-mail allegations.
“How dare they drag me into the middle of it,” he says. “It may be convenient, but it’s very inappropriate. Why do I need to be involved with this stuff?”
Eickholdt later testified under oath that he did, indeed, send the false flag email in an effort to help Courser cover up the affair.
A few months later he called me to tell me that there was indeed a conspiracy to “get Courser.” I asked him why I would ever believe another word out of his mouth, listened to him stammer around a bit, and then hung up the phone before he could reply.
Fact is indeed stranger than fiction. And if it weren’t so sad and slimy, it could almost be called comedy that writes itself.
Email Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.