LeDuff uncovers Richard Baird, Michigan's mystery man - New York News

LeDuff uncovers Richard Baird, Michigan's mystery man

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Richard Baird Richard Baird
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

Fox 2's Charlie LeDuff tries to uncover Richard Baird, "the most important man you've never heard of." He is Gov. Rick Snyder's right-hand man and has influenced several decisions that affect the city of Detroit.

Baird is known to have done the following:

  • Found Kevyn Orr to be Detroit emergency manager, and negotiated with Orr's law firm, Jones Day, to lead Detroit through its bankruptcy
  • Found Detroit's new CFO
  • Interviewed James Craig to be the new chief of Detroit police
  • Consulted with Mike Duggan about the emergency manager, and donated $2,500 to Duggan's mayoral campaign

Gov. Snyder assures LeDuff, "Rich is not making decisions for Detroiters. He's essentially been of primary assistance in helping recruit good people to the public sector, and he's done a lot of good work in that regard."

Baird makes $100,000 a year - but his salary does not come from tax dollars. Gov. Snyder's NERD Fund, a nonprofit foundation, pays Baird's salary. The donors for the nonprofit have not been disclosed - which is legal - but has been raising concerns since the nonprofit has raised more than $1.5 million in funds.

So who exactly is Richard Baird?

And who exactly is paying him?

Charlie LeDuff paid a visit to Lansing to find out. Click the video player above to watch.

When LeDuff asked Gov. Snyder if those nonprofit donors will be revealed, Gov. Snyder responded: "We're reviewing the NERD fund, just because it has raised enough issues, and we're going to come out and talk about that when it's appropriate. So, we're going through that review process now."

These nonprofit funds, or a 501(c)(4), are not uncommon among politicians, but take note that disclosing the donor list is also not uncommon.

LeDuff says he called Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson inquiring about his donor list, and, twenty minutes later, it was in LeDuff's hands.

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