Lansing, MI (WILX) - Gretchen Whitmer has spent her first few weeks as Interim Ingham County Prosecutor interviewing the staff, circuit and district court judges, law enforcement and defense attorneys, for any information that could shed light on Stuart Dunnings, her predecessor who's facing prostitution charges.
One of the Assistant Prosecutors under Stuart Dunnings describes his former boss as an "absentee landlord." A longtime employee said "she would go weeks without laying eyes on him." And, an 11-year veteran said it wasn't clear Dunnings "knew I worked for him."
"As I was talking to people, it became very clear that there just wasn't a lot of interaction with Mr. Dunnings," explained Gretchen Whitmer, Interim Ingham Co. Prosecutor.
His office is isolated in the building and he parked in an unsecured lot.
"The suspicion was that it was to, you know, so that people weren't privy to his comings and goings here in the office," Whitmer explained.
It's these examples and information from more than a hundred interviews that led Whitmer to believe no one knew about the alleged criminal activity that resulted in 15 prostitution-related charges against Dunnings.
"People assumed he was at meetings and doing things of that nature. But, also more importantly, he wasn't here in a way that impacted or compromised the work that we're doing," she said.
So far, the Office has recused itself from four cases because of the possibility Dunnings may have had a connection to them.
"Will there be others? There could be," Whitmer said. "We're gonna be very, we're gonna err on the side of caution. And, if there is an appearance of some sort of a conflict or concern, we will seek recusal."
Whitmer said the findings are just a step in her efforts to restore integrity to the Prosecutor's Office.
"This was a shock, it was a blow," she said. "But we are, we are still on our feet and we're working to regain trust in this office. And, I think we'll be successful because we do have so many great people here."
Whitmer has made one major change since taking over. She's assigned one Assistant Prosecutor specifically to felony domestic violence cases in Lansing.
She also wants to expand the Diversion Program for first time offenders.
After more than 100 interviews, Gretchen Whitmer says no one had personal knowledge of Stuart Dunnings' alleged crimes and that any problem in that office left when he resigned.
Dunnings officially left his position as Ingham County Prosecutor in early July after being charged with several counts related to prostitution, alleged crimes uncovered after a year-long investigation by the Attorney General.
Former lawmaker Gretchen Whitmer took over the office on an interim basis with a goal of restoring trust and confidence in the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office.
According to a report released Friday, Whitmer says she conducted more than 100 interviews and meetings during her due diligence, including interviews with office staff, the AG's office, several defense attorneys and every police chief for every jurisdiction in Ingham County.
Whitmer concluded none of the Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys nor support staff at the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office had personal knowledge of Mr. Dunnings' alleged crimes. She also has full confidence that any problem that existed in the office left when Dunnings did.
The 11-page report details some of the conversations she had with people, including staff who described Dunnings as an "absentee landlord" and detached on a personal level. Click the link inside this story to read the report.