Ambassador Bridge owners paid Las Vegas firm $3 million to collect signatures for ballot proposal

Moroun spent $4.6M to get bridge question on ballot, report shows

By Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing— Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun’s company so far has dumped $4.6 million into a campaign to require voter approval for a new bridge over the Detroit River.

The group People Should Decide on Wednesday disclosed the amount that Moroun’s Detroit International Bridge Company Holdings Inc. has contributed to the ballot initiative campaign, according to a public finance report.

The campaign spending is on top of $9.4 million the Moroun family business has spent on television advertising in the past two years fighting a new public bridge sought by Gov. Rick Snyder and top Canadian officials.

The group spent about $4.58 million on paid signature-gathering and marketing the initiative, which aims to prevent Michigan and Canada from building a new international trade crossing from Detroit and Windsor that would compete with Moroun’s 83-year-old bridge for truck and passenger vehicle traffic.

Approximately $2.33 million was paid to Silver Bullet, a Las Vegas-based signature-gathering company, according to the group’s mid-year campaign finance report.

Another $740,186 was paid to a consulting company at the same Las Vegas address, while Smart Media Group LLC in Alexandria, Va., was paid $1.14 million for advertising and promotion services, according to the report.

On July 9, the Moroun camp said it submitted 609,220 voter signatures to the Secretary of State’s office seeking a place on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.

A minimum 322,609 signatures are needed to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot, but the Board of State Canvassers and Bureau of Elections is still processing the petitions and verifying the validity of the signatures.