Local Attorney in court for charge of homicide-solicitation of murder
Attorney Clarence Gomery, of Gomery and Associates, was arraigned Monday morning on a felony charge of homicide-solicitation of murder.
Gomery, 59, was arrested at 4 a.m. Monday and was before Judge Michael Stepka in the 86th District Court.
According to the felony complaint in court records, on July 10, 2014, Dale Fisher was asked by Gomery to kill Chris Cooke, an Attorney, in exchange for $20,000. Fisher met at Gomery's office on Eighth St. in Traverse City.
Gomery gave Fisher $1,000 to purchase a firearm on July 13, 2014 to be used to kill Chris Cooke.
According to Grand Traverse County Prosecutor, Bob Cooney, there are no charges for Dale Fisher. Cooney and investigators said that Fisher actually warned Chris Cooke that Gomery was soliciting to kill him. Both Cooke and Fisher told the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Department on Saturday, July 12, 2014.
"The reason that I feel safe at this point is because Dale Fisher came forward when he was approached by Mr. Gomery and had the strength and fortitude of character to go to the police about it and to come to me about it," said Cooke.
"I felt that it was just my human obligation to prevent a murder," said Dale Fisher. "I felt that if somebody did that to me, I would hope that a person would come forward and give all the facts to the proper authorities."
Investigators and Fisher would not say what the relationship was between Fisher and Gomery other than that it was a business relationship.
Detectives obtained a warrant to arrest Gomery on Sunday afternoon. Undersheriff Nathan Alger says detectives had made arrangements to have Gomery turn himself in.
"Mr. Gomery changed his position on that to leaving and we then began trying to locate Mr. Gomery," said Undersheriff Alger. "We did locate him at a residence in Leelanau County. The sheriff's office and the Leelanau County Sheriff's Office tried to get ahold of him via a P.A. system outside of that residence and Mr. Gomery refused to come to the door. So officers set up outside that residence and waited for him to leave the residence at which time he was arrested."
7&4 was in the courtroom for Gomery's 10:00 a.m. arraignment. Gomery arrived in court wearing a Hawaiian shirt and orange crocs, with shackles around his ankles.
Gomery waived a formal reading of the complaint and his representative requested a reasonable bond because 'he was not a flight risk.' Judge Stepka believes that Gomery is a concern for public safety and gave Gomery a $5 million bond.
Prosecutor Bob Cooney says that this is a serious issue and believes the public to be in danger. Gomery was notified last night to turn himself in but he refused.
Judge Stepka commented that the nature of the allegations were "disturbing,"and said there was still "a long way to go" in the case.
"I want to make sure people understand that if you stand up and you do the right thing and you tell the truth, and you act ethically and responsibly, the system does operate the way it's supposed to," said Cooke.
Gomery served as Leelanau County Prosecutor from Jan. 1, 1997 to Dec. 31, 2000.
He served as Grand Traverse County assistant prosecutor from May 28, 1991 to Oct. 8 1993.
According to court records, in 2013, Chris Cooke represented Fred Topous Jr. who was suing Gomery over a bad business deal. Topous paid over $500,000 in 2009, to purchase a golf course where Gomery formed a limited liability company and Topous did not receive accounting from the sale. The jury ruled that Gomery committed fraud and malpractice.
Investigators are still trying to determine what Gomery's motive was for allegedly wanting to kill Cooke. Alger said Cooke speculates that it had a lot to do with the lawsuit and subsequent bankruptcy. Gomery filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April, 2014.
"I really can't comment on that," said Cooke. "I have lots of ideas, but I think the public record speaks to that."
The preliminary was scheduled for July 28th but has been adjourned to Friday, August 8th.