Clare County Review & Marion Press News

$15 million left of Health Park grant put back in state general fund

Complete Health Park sign, seemingly all that is left of the $25 million project.

By Pat Maurer

The remainder of grant funding earmarked for Clare’s Complete Health Park project – originally a $25 million grant awarded in 2022 and now down to $15 million unused in grant funding — has been put back into the state’s general fund, according to a spokesperson in the state’s budget office.
Some of the grant funds were distributed. The remaining grant funds were frozen in 2023 after questions and concerns were raised over the use of the $10 million that had been distributed to the Health Park committee, then headed by David Coker, Jr.
A Review source reported that required paperwork, specifically plans for the park planned for Clare, which were not submitted by last fall’s deadline, caused the grant to lapse.
Despite that, “Michigan lawmakers are submitting legislation to put a final block on distribution of the $15 million previously allocated….”and technically still remaining.
Bridge Magazine said, “This week, a committee of the Michigan Senate approved a bill that would “lapse” the balance of that grant [for the Clare project] as well as remaining funds from a separate $20 million grant [for a Detroit area project] that is also under investigation.
Both grant funded projects are being investigated by State Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office…”
The Health Park grant has been suspended since March of 2023, after the Review, and then Bridge Magazine reported on questions raised by lawmakers and the public about $10 million in project funds that had already been spent.
An investigation that was started by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), who awarded the grant to the Complete Health Park [then headed up by Coker], was turned over to the Michigan Attorney General at the end of 2023.
According to expenses disclosed by the MDHHS and reported in a May 4, 2023 Bridge article by Jonathan Oosting and Mike Wilkinson, $823,000 in spending by the Complete Health Park covered “other expenses” for IW Consulting LLC, which is a for-profit firm that Coker founded in 2020.
The current Bridge article said $180,000 in hourly fees (wages) also went to Coker.
Another $3.5 million went for the purchase of slightly less than 71 acres of property on the north side of Clare from Clare Northern Group for the Complete Health Care Campus.
Bridge also previously reported that “before freezing additional grant transfers in late March of 2023, the state said it had reimbursed the Complete Health Park nonprofit a total of $233,000 for salary and wages, marketing, space costs, supplies and materials and other miscellaneous costs.”
Coker was also the Agent for State Advising LLC, which he established in 2018 and has since turned over to a family member.
Bridge said, “the bulk of the initial payout, $5.4 million, was earmarked for FED Design/Builders of Gladwin as an upfront payment to initiate construction of the planned health and fitness park in Clare…”
They refused to comment on the matter.
Additionally, the Review learned that the non-profit formed by David Coker Jr. to administer the grant and oversee the project, is not official because the non-profit application (form 1023) was never filed with or approved by the Internal Revenue Service.
A letter to Complete Health Park non-profit leader Coker from the Review last June had requested non-profit filing information as reported on the 1023 form, but was never answered, even though there was a ten-day deadline……
The letter, mailed to Complete Health Park Director Coker last June, said:
Please provide a copy of your IRS (Internal Revenue Service) Form 1023 Application for Tax Exempt Organization and Letter of Determination. An email copy will suffice to answer this request. If it is not in electronic format, and a paper copy is required, please provide the cost to obtain this.
Coker never responded to the letter, violating another requirement by the U.S. Treasury.
According to a Review investigator, “It has been determined that the proper filing with the US Department of Treasury never occurred. A search of 2 sources, Propublica and the Publication 78 search from US Treasury reveals no such entity exists. A 501c3 non-profit filing reveals form number 1023 is necessary. Once it is filed with US Treasury and reviewed, a Letter of Determination acceptance is issued. The Letter of Determination is the formal document acknowledging a true non-profit company exists.”
“Neither the form 1023 application nor Letter of Determination exists.” The Review was told. “Absent Complete Health Park’s answer to the Clare County Reviews request, also violates US Treasury rules requiring disclosure of requested documents from non-profits. This also carries a penalty for failure to respond or disclose.
“Additionally, it seems the required annual filing statements with the State of Michigan are missing.(not submitted) An annual report for 2022 and 2023 has not been updated. If a report is not filed in 2024 the company is therefore dissolved for lack of filing.”
“The corporate filing with the State of Michigan also reveals who the resident agent is. The present documents show David Coker as resident agent. He apparently is no longer associated with the company.”
The investigator added, “Fraud was likely committed against the State of Michigan by the principles of ‘Complete Health Park,’ as it was always stated the entity was a non-profit. This was likely falsely claimed as no legal determination was granted by the US Treasury,
He said, ”There are other … things that could evolve. If non-profit status is not granted (which is likely the case), this makes the company a “for profit entity”. The $10 million check could therefore be subject to corporate taxes. The money all the parties received could be caught up in IRS scrutiny.
The other project under investigation, earmarked for the Detroit area, was a $20 million grant for “economic development and workforce,” which “ultimately went to Global Link International, a nonprofit formed less than two weeks after the grant’s approval,” The Detroit News reported.
“Global Link is led by Fay Beydoun, who has served as executive director of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, a Whitmer appointee to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and vice chair of the Michigan Democratic Party,” Bridge reported.
The attorney general is now investigating [that project, and] how Global Link spent some of the $800,000 it has received so far.
“The people of Michigan have entrusted us to oversee our state budget — a budget funded on years of hard-earned tax dollars from our neighbors, friends, and family,” Sen. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee told Bridge.
In total, that bill by lawmakers including the $15 million reimbursement of the remainder of the Clare project reverting to the state’s general fund will mean nearly $35 million in grant money coming back into the state budget.
All that’s left of the Complete Health Park project in Clare now is a sign saying “Coming Soon” located on the property, which is located on the north side of Rebak Street/Road, directly north of the Peterbuilt facility on Colonville Road.
Based in part on a May 3 Bridge Magazine article

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