The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has long claimed that the “Pure Michigan” tourism program has been a highly successful investment. However, they have not produced the information needed for the public to evaluate this claim.
On November 6th, 2020, the Mackinac Center submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the MEDC seeking information on the “Pure Michigan” program. Specifically, the Center requested materials relating to “Pure Michigan” produced directly from the modeling done by Strategic Marketing & Research Insights. The Center clarified its request on November 19th.
The MEDC responded on February 1 2021, partially granting the Center’s request. The information that was withheld, however, was legally deficient as it did not specify which information was being exempted based on MCL 15.243(1)(a). The Mackinac Center challenged the MEDC’s response on February 23.
Over the following months, the Mackinac Center and the MEDC continued to correspond, but the MEDC refused to produce the rest of the requested records. On May 28, the MEDC directed the Mackinac Center to Christopher Pike of Oxford Economics to obtain the requested records.
Pike and the Mackinac Center corresponded numerous times in June and July of 2021, with the Center again requesting records on August 3. After receiving no response, the Mackinac Center made another request August 20. Another request was sent January 18. Neither of these requests produced a response.
On March 10, 2022, the Mackinac Center sent the MEDC a demand letter for the production of records. The demand went unanswered and the Mackinac Center filed a lawsuit against the MEDC on April 26, 2022.