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Strife at the Claus Household

Michigan's 11th District has seen its share of wacky news this year, with former Rep. Thad McCotter first failing to qualify for the GOP primary and then resigning as the state opened an investigation into his campaign's fraudulent ballot signatures. That left reindeer-raising, Santa Claus-impersonating former teacher Kerry Bentivolio as the only Republican on the ballot, and he staved off a party-supported write-in candidate for the Republican nomination and looks likely to join Congress next year.

When he was a schoolteacher, Bentivolio told students that his goal was "to make each one of them cry at least once," according to school records, and he told a court that he sometimes had trouble "figuring out which one I really am, Santa Claus or Kerry Bentivolio." Now, he and his brother are trading accusations of law-breaking, via the Michigan Information & Research Service's newsletter (behind a paywall):

Congressional candidate Kerry BENTIVOLIO said he asked the FBI to look into his "mentally ill" Arkansas brother after the brother vowed to go to the press with his claims that Kerry owed him $20,000 from a housing deal-gone-bad in 1992.

But Phillip BENTIVOLIO said the FBI never contacted him and that his older brother is the "mentally unbalanced" -- one who "believes his own lies." He said he fears his sibling would end up in prison if elected to Congress.

"I've never met anyone in my life who is conniving and dishonest as this guy," Phillip Bentivolio said. "He's my brother so it's hard to talk about this, but I believe that if he gets elected, he'll eventually serve time in prison."

The FBI field offices in Detroit and Arkansas declined to confirm or deny whether they were looking into the matter.

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