Land Tries to Bury Ad Controversy

Posted at 10:00 PM, May 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-23 08:36:57-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 21, 2014) — Republican Terri Lynn Land took her campaign for U.S. Senate to West Michigan Thursday where she opened an ‘innovation center’ at the Kent County GOP headquarters.

Land was surrounded by about 50 supporters, providing an update on her race for the coveted seat in Washington.

“I can hardly believe it, but it was last May that Sen. Levin announced he was gonna retire,” said Land.

Land and Rep. Gary Peters are fighting for the seat that will soon be vacated.

Before those supporters arrived, FOX 17 spoke with the Republican about her campaign and an ad controversy that’s been following her for several weeks.

The issue centers on a vacant lot in Grandville, the site of what used to be the La Grande Mobile Home Park, an area that 170 families called home ten years ago.

Screen shot 2014-05-14 at 9.12.28 PMThe property has been used in ads by both the Peters and Land campaigns.

The Republican had not spoken publicly about the property nor the ad battle until Thursday night.

“I’ve never owned the park,” Land said, “but the family members that did worked very hard with the residents to make sure that they could go to the community of their choice.”

The company that owns the property is run by Land’s husband, Dan Hibma.

The people living in the mobile home park were given a year’s notice before they had to leave. Land says they were also able to negotiate rent for a future home, even getting help with moving costs. “We moved them all for free,” said Land. “They did that to make sure that they could be in a community where they wanted to live.”

Haley Morris, the communications director for the Peters campaign, sent a statement to FOX 17:

“The question remains, why did Land destroy her childhood community for no reason and why did she try and hide the truth from Michiganders? Michigan middle-class families just can’t trust Land if she won’t even tell them the real story of how she turned her back on where she came from.”

After the families moved out, Land & Co. was able to rezone the property for commercial use.

To this day, the property is vacant.