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Former Mich. Pblisher Charged

February 2, 2001

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) _ The former publisher of the Cheboygan Daily Tribune was charged Friday with violating state campaign finance law by giving a mayoral candidate special rates on advertisements.

Roy S. Trahan II was arraigned in Cheboygan County District Court on four felony counts, each punishable by up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. He was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Trahan is accused of charging mayoral candidate Thomas J. Verwys $1 each for four campaign ads that ran in the Tribune in March 2000, without granting similar discounts to Verwys’ opponent, Mayor Bill Chlopan.

Michigan law requires that any bargain rates must be offered to all candidates.

Verwys lost the April 3 election to Chlopan, 373 to 205.

Trahan resigned as Tribune publisher last May. His phone in Cheboygan has been disconnected, and he could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Mike Hackett of Mount Pleasant, was not in his office Friday.

The complaint did not say what the normal rates for the ads would have been. Adrienne Janney, the Tribune’s former editor, has said one normally would have cost about $150.

Verwys has said he did not know what he was being charged for ads in comparison with Chlopan.

Janney was fired as editor after the election. She said she had tipped off police about the cut-rate ads. She later sued the newspaper, claiming her dismissal violated the state whistle-blower law, which prohibits employers from firing workers who report suspected legal violations in the workplace.

The suit was settled out of court and terms were not disclosed.

The Tribune is owned by Liberty Group Publishing.

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