A Michigan mayor is defending his use of $4,500 in campaign funds to help pay for his daughter’s wedding, arguing that the celebration doubled as a campaign event.
According to local ABC News affiliate WXYZ, Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff said through his lawyer that the money was allocated from his campaign fund to pay for the open bar at his daughter’s wedding, which was held at a local yacht club.
His attorney, Daniel Wholihan, told the local news outlet that the event was also campaign-related because many members of Burcroff’s campaign team were in attendance.
The mayor’s lawyer said that while the payment created “poor optics,” he did not think it counted as a legal violation, noting that Burcroff has since repaid his campaign for the expense, WXYZ reported.
Earlier this year, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) launched a probe into a complaint filed against Burcroff over the payment and other instances of questionable spending.
WXYZ first uncovered a series of transactions made by the mayor of the Detroit-area suburb using campaign funds, including more than $6,000 worth of payments made to his children, brother and son-in-law for office rent and campaign office maintenance.
The local news outlet also noted $3,800 in recurring membership fees at the Belleville Yacht Club, where his daughter’s wedding was held.
In May, Wholihan sent a letter on behalf of the mayor to the Michigan secretary of state, in which Burcroff admitted to using the $4,500 for his daughter’s wedding, as well as nearly $15,000 for donations to his local church.
Burcroff, who announced earlier this year that he would not be seeing reelection, has reportedly given back $20,000 to his campaign fund for the expenses, WXYZ reported.
According to his bio listed on the city’s website, Burcroff is a Navy veteran, volunteer firefighter and local business owner, who “believes that integrity-driven leadership, outstanding customer service, safe neighborhoods, financial stability, and a ‘business friendly’ city administration are important areas for local government to focus on.”