ANN ARBOR, MI — When Jen Eyer ran for Ann Arbor Town Council previous yr and was elected to characterize the 4th Ward, she campaigned as a tiny enterprise operator.
She referred to herself as this kind of when she announced her campaign in August 2019, once again in a February 2020 push release, on her web-site and in literature sent to voters.
“Small company owner who advocates for community instruction, labor and civil rights,” a single of her mailers mentioned, describing her role at Vanguard Community Affairs.
When Eyer created the declare of currently being a little-small business operator, she was not really an fairness-stake proprietor at that time, but applied it in her marketing campaign based mostly on her expectation that it would come to move.
With the Lansing-primarily based political consulting organization now embroiled in scandal — with previous woman employees accusing operator TJ Bucholz of sexual harassment and Central Michigan College launching a legal probe into the pipeline of students sent to perform there — Eyer is distancing herself from Vanguard.
She stop her career past 7 days and issued a general public assertion declaring she was in no way an proprietor, officer or manager. She was an personnel who did most of her operate remotely and was stunned by the allegations in opposition to Bucholz, she stated.
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Eyer blames Bucholz for the fact that she by no means grew to become an operator, stating he unsuccessful to observe through on guarantees to make her a husband or wife with an fairness stake in the organization.
“Promises were being created and they weren’t saved,” she claimed, including she never intended to deceive Ann Arbor voters.
Bucholz has not responded to requests for remark in the previous 7 days.
Eyer remaining her job at The Ann Arbor Information/MLive in 2016 to join Vanguard, undertaking strategic communications and general public relations perform for political, labor and corporate shoppers.
In 2017, Eyer labored as communications director for Gretchen Whitmer’s marketing campaign for Michigan governor.
In December 2018, Vanguard introduced Eyer, the company’s senior vice president, was named a husband or wife with an fairness stake, with her partnership to start Jan. 2, 2019.
Eyer said this earlier week they never ever arrived to terms on the equity partnership, so she turned a non-equity associate.
She and Bucholz went back again and forth on phrases of her turning into an equity spouse “well into when I started off my campaign” for Town Council, Eyer mentioned, introducing she generally thought she was on the verge of starting to be an owner of Vanguard.
“At the time of my campaign, I was even now currently being led to think that we were going to come to arrangement above the terms of an equity partnership. Having said that, it under no circumstances arrived to fruition,” she mentioned. “At the time I didn’t notice it, but now it begs the issue: Was this element of a pattern of how he treats girls?”
Eyer mentioned her difficulty with Bucholz over partnership conditions pales in comparison to how he allegedly handled other girls and she has empathy for them.
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Derrick George, Bucholz’s legal professional, mentioned in a assertion final week his consumer is perplexed why sexual harassment allegations are remaining shared many years soon after they allegedly occurred.
“No problems have been ever submitted formally as per the corporation policies outlined in Vanguard’s handbook,” he claimed. “Any other allegations of misconduct outside the house of Vanguard have not been disclosed to Mr. Bucholz until now, and no formal complaint or documentation exists to help these allegations both.
“In an try to stop the reputational wreck that my shopper has experienced in the previous 48 hours, he issued a assertion and apology for everything that he has reported that may perhaps have harm a person. That apology is in no way an admission of guilt of alleged actions that had been churned up in Fb posts.”
Some former Vanguard personnel declare Eyer knew about and brushed off issues about Bucholz’s habits, an allegation Eyer denies with the exception of 1 worker yrs back who Eyer explained claimed obtaining an inappropriate text information from Bucholz. Eyer claimed she inspired the staff to report it to management, she considered it was resolved, and when the identical personnel complained about a different inappropriate text about a 12 months later on, she notified management and instructed Bucholz she would quit if she read about an additional incident.
As for her statements of staying a little business owner, Eyer stated she wrote her marketing campaign products in the summer season of 2019. Her negotiations with Bucholz have been energetic then and she was led to think the equity partnership was imminent, she claimed.
They talked about it into 2020, but negotiations were being put on keep immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Eyer reported, adding she at some point resolved to prevent pursuing it.
“Negotiations were being ongoing and it wasn’t till immediately after I was elected that I decided to just abandon the situation,” she said.
Vanguard’s most latest corporate information out there on the state internet site with a listing of officers is from 2018 displaying Bucholz as the sole officer.
Eyer ousted 4th Ward incumbent Jack Eaton in the August 2020 Democratic principal and was officially elected to a four-12 months phrase running unopposed in November.
Eaton declined to comment on Eyer’s declare of staying a tiny organization owner, stating she gained the election and almost nothing he could say now would undo that.
Eyer received the a few-way main with 3,883 votes (61%), when compared to 1,863 for Eaton (29%) and 651 for Mozhgan Savabieasfahani (10%).
Savabieasfahani claimed she requires issue with Eyer “blasting that fake message” of staying a compact company operator. She pointed out Eyer signed a “fair campaign practices” pledge in which she produced a determination to truthfulness and said how a person strategies is indicative of how they will govern.
If voters experienced known what a “blatant lie” that was, “Eyer could not have been elected dogcatcher,” Savabieasfahani claimed.
As for whether or not she regrets campaigning as a little small business owner when she was not, Eyer stated hindsight is 20/20.
“The intent all together was to get there, to finalize all people information,” she mentioned.
With Vanguard now in turmoil, Eyer is thankful her quest to come to be an proprietor did not pan out.
“I’m very glad to have been in a posture where by I could resign promptly and sever all ties,” she reported.
Eyer claimed she’s now acquiring arranged to start her individual consulting business accomplishing operate very similar to what she did at Vanguard, independently handling tasks and campaigns from her house, so she will be a tiny enterprise operator soon.
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