LANSING, Mich. (Great Lakes News) – Questions loom over secret payouts to Michigan government employees.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer insisted that payouts to departed department leaders were not “hush money.”

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Whitmer said she “bristled” at the term after former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)  Director Robert Gordon received a $155,506 severance after his abrupt resignation. Two other Whitmer appointees also got secret payouts.

One is Sarah Esty, the former senior deputy director for policy and planning at MDHHS.  Her payout amount is not known. The other is Michigan’s former unemployment director Steve Gray. He received $85,872 settlement deal with the state after he resigned on November 5th, 2020.

Whitmer said the agreements, released through a Freedom of Information Act request, had some terms that couldn’t be shared.

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Prior to the news of these payouts, Michigan GOP lawmakers called for an investigation into Whitmer’s policy which forced COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes.