- Marissa McClain/Daily
BY ANT MITCHELL
Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 23, 2011
A report produced by the Michigan Attorney General’s office examining former Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell’s behavior last year shed light on Shirvell’s verbal assaults on Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong and a former state representative.
The report, obtained last night by The Michigan Daily from Armstrong's attorney Deborah Gordon, revealed that Shirvell had targeted a former state representative months before he began verbally harassing Armstrong.
At 11:57 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2010, Shirvell e-mailed former state Rep. Leon Drolet (R–Clinton Township) from a state-owned computer before Drolet was scheduled to lead a protest at the State Capitol Building. According to the report Shirvell made anti-gay remarks in the e-mail.
The report describes the reaction of Shirvell’s two supervisors, Assistant Attorney General Joel McGormley and Michigan Solicitor General Eric Restuccia, who instructed him to “never engage in this conduct again.”
According to the report, Shirvell agreed.
However, Shirvell’s payroll records, as well as the dates and times of his Facebook posts, show that Shirvell continued using state resources to perpetrate such behavior — despite his claim that he had stopped — the report states.
According to the document, Shirvell “verbally assaulted his supervisor by screaming profanities for which he was disciplined … contacted a college student’s out-of-state employer in an attempt to get him fired … (and) improperly used state resources.”
Shirvell called the office of former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) this past summer, when Armstrong was an intern there, to get Armstrong fired, according to former articles in The Michigan Daily.
When Shirvell was advised by his superiors to change his behavior — specifically to stop producing his blog, Chris Armstrong Watch, which alleged that Armstrong was pursuing a “radical homosexual agenda” among other things — Shirvell responded by saying “he did not care” if he was sued, according to the report. The report also states that Shirvell “provided evasive and untrue answers during his Disciplinary Conference."
The Attorney General’s office began an examination of Shirvell’s harassment of Armstrong on Oct. 4, 2010, the report states. Shirvell was fired for inappropriate conduct including anti-gay harassment of Armstrong on Nov. 8, 2010, according to an article in The Michigan Daily on the same day.
Gordon said in an interview last night that she hopes the contents of the report will help the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission fully understand Armstrong’s case against Shirvell. Gordon and Armstrong filed a complaint before the commission in October alleging that Shirvell violated several ethics and standards attorneys are required to uphold.
Gordon added that she hopes the report gives the commission cause to take disciplinary action against Shirvell or necessitate that he receive counseling.
“Obviously even the Attorney General’s office’s employer realized some of the stuff he was doing was inappropriate and had asked him not to do it,” Gordon said. “I think this material that I’ve received just really portrays him as somebody completely lacking in judgment, which does support our argument to the State Bar of Michigan, that until he gets some counseling or some assistance, he should not have a license to practice law.”
The report also described an incident in which Shirvell waited outside Armstrong’s house in Ann Arbor at 1:30 a.m. to take photographs of a party Armstrong and his roommates were throwing. According to the report, Shirvell walked by the house twice in order to “determine whether Mr. Armstrong was following the rules governing underage drinking that as the MSA president he espoused.”
Shirvell later called the Ann Arbor Police Department to report the party. He took photos and videos of the police at Armstrong’s home in order to post it later on his blog, according to the report.
The report also states that Shirvell was convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol on June 8, 2009. He received six months probation.