Former aide: Courser was ‘elitist, arrogant,’ affair was ‘awkward’

Posted at 3:21 PM, Aug 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-17 15:21:55-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. -- A former aide for embattled Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat says the two were disrespectful from the day he started working for them. Joshua Cline, who resigned in April from his job with the lawmakers' office, spoke at a law firm in Royal Oak on Monday to "set the record straight."

Courser and Gamrat, both freshman lawmakers and Tea Party conservative favorites, are accused of having an affair and then using taxpayer resources to cover it up.

Despite having a good relationship prior to him taking office, Courser became increasingly disrespectful, elitist, and arrogant toward staffers, lobbyists, and others, Cline said.

“You never knew which version of Todd Courser you were going to get on any given day," he said. "It was like working for Dr. Jeckyll or Mr. Hyde. He kept us at bay as to which Rep. Courser he would present."

Courser and Gamrat often worked together and held meetings together with staff, but they would also spend hours with each other outside the office during the work day, Cline said.

“Representatives Courser and Gamrat would routinely disappear for hours at a time, especially on Thursdays after session, and then ask us to go get them dinner," Cline said.

“They spent inordinate amount of time going for walks with each other. They frequently greeted each other with what appeared to be long, romantic, high personal hugs and embraces.”

Cline also said it wasn't uncommon for Courser to sleep on the floor of Gamrat’s office, and she would then "tuck him in" with a pillow and a blanket.

Cline could tell early on there was more to the relationship between the two, a relationship he described as "awkward" to witness. When he brought up his concerns about the relationship to Gamrat and Courser themselves, he was told it wasn't his place, Cline said.

Cline also claims Gamrat’s husband caught the two lawmakers at a Lansing hotel in February, a story that had largely remained rumor until now.

The former staffer said Cindy Gamrat's husband called him the next morning, saying he was “in for a very bad day.” Cline said Gamrat's husband claimed he saw Gamrat leave Courser's hotel room at 2 a.m.

Gamrat arrived at the office later that day looking “disheveled” and “smelling of alcohol," according to Cline.

Cline says he ultimately chose to resign to maintain his integrity.

“The stress was immense," he said. "I chose integrity over continued employment in a hostile, untenable work environment in which I was required to turn a blind eye to unethical behavior."

In reference to allegations leveled by Courser that he had been blackmailed through texts, a reporter asked Cline if he had sent Courser anonymous text messages, and he said "absolutely not."

Cline wouldn't comment on whether Courser or Gamrat had ever asked him to do anything while on the job he felt uncomfortable doing, saying he had yet to testify for the House Business Office's own investigation into the matter.

FOX 17 confirmed on Monday the Michigan State Police had launched its own investigation into Courser's blackmail claims. A spokesperson said Courser went to the MSP Post in Lapeer on Friday to meet with investigators and turn over evidence.