GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The most definitive answer as to why State Rep. Roy Schmidt tried to recruit a fake candidate to run against him after he became a Republican is found within the hundreds of pages of information from the Michigan State Police investigation.
Also included in the documents are the words of the recruited fake candidate for the 76th District.
Schmidt has admitted to recruiting 22-year-old Matt Mojzak to run as a Democrat after Schmidt unexpectedly switched to the Republican party in May.
Target 8 obtained the Michigan State Police report through the Freedom of Information Act.
Included in the report were text messages between Schmidt and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger as they set up the fake candidacy, and between Schmidt's son Ryan and Mojzak.
The reports do more than put the facts on paper. For the first time, Mojzak is heard.
During a recorded interview, MSP Det. Sgt. Robert Davis asks, "I mean, do you feel like you've been taken advantage of?"
"Yeah! I totally feel like I'm being used!" Mojzak answered.
In that interview, which included Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth, Mojzak explained it all started with a text from Roy Schmidt's son, Ryan Schmidt -- an occasional acquaintance of Mojzak -- asking him if he wanted to make some money.
"In the actual text message, it says it's nothing illegal. Nothing to worry about getting in trouble for," Mojzak told an investigator.
It would be as simple as changing his residency and applying to run.
Mojzak had already been preparing to move into his grandmother's home, located in the 76th District, before the offer was made. While he used that address on his application, it's not clear if Mojzak would have established residency soon enough to be allowed to run.
Then, the political excrement hit the fan.
Mojzak received another text from Ryan Schmidt.
"Basically said, 'Holy cow, did you see, you were just on TV.' And I was like yeah, I was like, kinda freaked me out."
He talked about reporters who showed up at home and at work.
Roy Schmidt tried convincing him to remain calm. They talked about the cover-up, including 24 Hour News 8 political reporter Rick Albin's interview with Roy Schmidt after the controversy broke.
"He's like, ya know, I said I didn't know you on that first interview. He said I have no idea who Matt Mojzak is," said Mojzak, recalling his conversation with Roy Schmidt. "I'm sitting, almost laughing. I was like, I just saw him yesterday," he told the detective.
24 Hour News 8 learned from the documents that Rick Albin's interview was included in evidence collected by the state police.
Despite Ryan and Roy Schmidt's attempts to calm him down, even increasing the pay they'd promised Mojzak from $450 to $1000, Mojzak dropped out of the race.
But in the course of the controversy, Mozjak asked the question so many in West Michigan have been asking:
Why would an entrenched politician, who would likely win the seat as a Republican as easily if he had stayed a Democrat, go through all of this?
Schmidt's answer, according to Mojzak, was money.
"He said for basically fundraising. Because if I didn't have somebody to run against, then I don't have my fundraisers. I won't have money to pay people. I don't have the money from fundraising."
Included in the report was an interview Kent County Clerk Mary Hollinrake gave to the detective and prosecutor.
She told them that planting a fake candidate is not illegal, and that both parties have done this type of thing in the past.
Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth eventually determined there was not enough evidence to charge anyone in connection with the case.
Roy Schmidt won the Republican primary for his seat against write-in candidate Bing Goei earlier this month.
He'll face Democratic challenger Winnie Brinks in November. She earned a spot on the ballot as a write-in -- the same spot Schmidt held until he switched parties.
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