Don’t believe everything you read in the Dayton Daily news… #3578

A Miamisburg attorney will take the seat formerly held by her father, Robert Rettich III, who died in office in February.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday appointed K. Alyse Rettich to the Miamisburg Municipal Court bench.

She will assume office Dec. 5 and must run for election in 2023 to retain the post. Rettich, who lives in Miamisburg with her husband and son, earned her law degree from the University of Dayton. She also earned a master’s of business administration from UD and a bachelor’s degree from the Indiana Institute of Technology.

Source: Lawyer to succeed her late father on Miamisburg Municipal Court – Dayton Daily News

It’s been a bit since her Pops died and this appointment was made. Of course there is more to the story, as readers of this blog know. Alyse Rettich’s appointment had to be delayed because of the 6 years of practicing law requirement hadn’t been met, and, the R’s wanted to give her a chance to be an incumbent when running to hold the seat.

But, there’s another slight hickup: residency. Not hers, but her husbands. You see, she’s married to Aarron Newell, the Fiscal Officer of Miami Township. That’s an elected position that requires that the office holder reside in Miami Township (or Miamisburg). Which would be fine if they were still living at 45 Highpoint Dr Apt B Miamisburg 45342, but, they have been living since sometime in July of 2022 at 145 S. Plum St in Germantown which they bought from her father on Oct 28, 2021. This means that he’s been breaking the law for at least four months and she’s a party to it.

Assuming that he gets paid semi-monthly at the Township and his salary is $33297 (the Fiscal Officer salary for Townships with budgets greater than $10M), he has illegally received $11,099 in salary, plus any benefits that Miami Township pays for their elected officials.

Regular readers know from the story of Dr. Adil Baguirov living outside the Dayton Public School district was unenforced. And how no one was willing to enforce the law until he changed his voter registration and I threatened to file a mandamus action for his removal, which got him to resign. The likelihood of anyone enforcing the law on Newell is slim and none- and slim’s out of town. Just another example of how if you are a politician or a lawyer or a judge in this town, you can commit criminal acts at will without fear of repercussion.

In an insulting press release pretending to be journalism the DDn article ends with the self-serving quote that could only come out of someone absolutely NOT qualified to be a judge-

“I’ve worked really hard … to absorb and learn and do as much as possible and to be as hands-on as possible and as open as possible, and I think that honestly, even though I might have just (enough) years in, I think my background and my experience across the board, not just legal experience, but I do have a good amount of trial and legal experience, but even in my other experiences, frankly I think do speak to the fact that I know how to do it and I am more than capable,” she said previously to the Dayton Daily News.

The only thing that’s remotely true is “I might have just (enough) years in” – to become a judge for life in our corrupt “Monarchy of Montgomery County” where elections for judges only happen once in a career.

It’s time for some folks to come clean.

And the voters said… Carolyn Rice

No this isn’t Arizona where some traitors in the boards of elections are refusing to certify votes. This is Montgomery County Ohio- where the final election results just came in at 1:24 pm today.

There are no surprises except one: Carolyn Rice will remain your county commissioner with 92,501 votes to Jordan Wortham’s 91,038. That’s a pretty big swing for the absentee voters to make.

After election day– the final was Wortham 87,457, and Rice 86,417.

It’s still close enough for a recount, so this may not be the last word, but, considering Republican’s were told that voting absentee and early voting was bad (bad advice btw) this is what can happen.

Wortham had big plans for shaking things up, although he still would have been out voted 2-1, and would have had minimal say, but this should serve as a serious wake up call for Montgomery County Dems, seeing as even relatively unknown candidates continue to strike so close to the County Commission D’s without spending very much money.

There were no other surprises or changes. Addison Caruso did incredibly well against the well known Andrea White in OH-36, despite her outspending him by about 10x. Official final: Caruson: 20,443, White: 20,905

Wortham said he’s going to keep running- he doesn’t want his name to die off voters minds. Next up will be a run for Dayton City Commission, which will be interesting because there is currently a restraining order against him preventing him from going into City Hall.

At this point, the candidates looking to take on incumbent Dayton City Commissioners Matt Joseph and Chris Shaw are Valerie Duncan, Jamica Garrison, Wortham, and me, David Esrati. There may be more.

New 91.3 WYSO news tagline, our communication, our opinion. our word

Why So Incompetent?

Warning: this post is the equivalent of pouring gas on yourself and then welding. There are some institutions in Dayton Ohio and vicinity that can do no wrong. I’ve already challenged some of the other sacred cows- like Sinclair Community College by asking why they were expanding to Warren County- while we pay two different property tax levies- and they pay none, and taking my pea shooter up in a gun fight against the FBI and the DOJ for the Whaley tapes that were played to the grand jury in the “Culture of Corruption” investigation.

These are stories that you don’t ever read about in the Dayton Daily News. There’s a reason of course, the DDN has a policy of not covering my stories, me, or giving journalistic credit for breaking stories. Like the time I exposed a darling of the Dayton Development Coalition, Qbase, for illegally pouring money into Steve Austria’s campaign, and they didn’t write a story until 18 months later and pretended they broke the news.

Since the Cox breakup- where the TV and Radio stations remained in the old NCR building on S. Main and the DDN moved to E. Third street, they’ve had an even thinner news room, with a lot of young reporters and constant reorganization of management.

As a son of a journalist, there is no replacing the institutional knowledge of seasoned editors, reporters and most of all copy editors who check facts and find connections to fill in the blanks. The secret of reporting is having sources, fitting pieces of a puzzle together, insatiable curiosity, a quest for the truth and a commitment to inform the public. Good journalism takes time, work and an aversion to getting sued. The one saving grace for news is that the truth is supposed to be the ultimate legal defense.

With all that said, this isn’t a post about the Dayton Daily News. It’s about the WYSO news reporting, and this is where I’ll piss a lot of people off, because WYSO is about as close to a sacred cow in this community as they come. Recently, they’ve been the recipients of a lot of love and goodwill from Yellow Springs’ favorite son- Dave Chappelle, who has heaped money in their direction and is currently restoring the old school house into their new Global HQ.

While Dave Chappelle can piss off entire religions of people, I cannot. Even my quoting Chappelle in a post about the new laissez faire approach to swearing, made me into a racist according to some. I am held to a different standard, and in the time I’ve been publishing this blog (since 2005), I’ve only been threatened with a lawsuit twice- which isn’t bad. And while some say “no one reads it”- others thank me, in private messages, in person, anonymously, and a very few, actually donate on a regular basis (thank you!) to support my actions.

Last week, I got a surprise message via Linkedin:


David, I recently was doing some research on past contracts and controversy regarding the city of Dayton. You have some really insightful articles in the past years and I just want to say thank you for having the balls to publish the truth. You’re helping younger people like myself get a fair look at history and some of the hurdles that may be in our way in the future. Is there any way I can support you and your cause?

This is not the norm. And what follows, is me venting. Because, while I don’t expect much from the Dayton Daily news, I do expect more from National Public Radio, of which WYSO is an affiliate. NPR is one of the most respected, professional, national news organizations in the country. They take their responsibility to do quality journalism very seriously. So seriously, that they have lots of content on their website about their standards. An entire Ethics Handbook, including “These are the standards of our journalism.

I didn’t need to go find these for validation for myself, because NPR as a whole, exudes integrity. And, while for a national story about an event, interviewing a journalist who has covered the beat for years is acceptable, especially when they work for a news organization of the caliber of NPR, PBS, NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, to cover a local political race, and asking a reporter like Josh Sweigart about a candidate that his news organization black balls, is like asking the disgraced Urban Meyer about coaching performance at Ohio State- and pretending there is no bias.

Because, that’s what happened in my race for US Congress. WYSO Reporter Jerry Kenney, instead of doing original, “fact based journalism in service to democracy” which is their mantra- literally phoned it in with his story, the Friday before election day: “U.S. House 10th District race full of history, boundary changes.”

He didn’t chose to interview me, or Turner. He didn’t choose to present the most basic of facts- like “Esrati, a local small business owner, veteran and activist” instead allowing character assassination wholesale by Swiegert:

Esrati has been a name for himself as an activist and a blogger and filing lots of lawsuits…Esrati is an outsider in every conceivable way. He’s not endorsed by the local Democratic Party, has not been successful with any political run, and he’s made many political runs over the years….Esrati has been an outsider for decades…. Esrati has been an activist and a blogger over the years. One of the things that he does a lot is file lawsuits. He’s sued the Dayton Metro Library for a civil rights case. He sued the city of Dayton years ago for a case. And so, he’s been an activist, an outspoken critic of City Hall and lots of people over the decades. He’s been involved in veterans groups as well, and largely just sort of an advocate for positions that he feels strongly about…. Esrati on the other hand, has raised far less money, and in the last campaign filing that I saw, I think he had $57 in his campaign account.”


VS Swiegart’s reporting on Turner:

a well-established politician… From the two of them first tried to enter political office with a run for mayor back in 1993 against incumbent Clay Dixon… Turner ended up winning that race and became mayor of Dayton and went on to become congressman after that…. Turner has had a long run at Congress…. Mike Turner was the mayor of Dayton at that time…. Turner’s a very established politician and mayor of Dayton, a congressman, for quite some time… Mike Turner is well known for of the work that he’s done to maintain and bring funding to (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). He talks about the work is done for the VA and bringing funding to that, economic development, a lot of the funding that he has been involved in and in claims to have brought money into lots of our local jurisdictions for economic development purposes…. Mike Turner has a ton of money. I mean, the last campaign filing deadline that I saw, he had over $750,000 on hand. He’s brought in money from I mean, incumbents get a lot of money. He started off with a big cash balance because he’s been at this for a while….


So, over and over, Turner is an established politician, with a ton of money, who has brought money to WPAFB and he’s been at it a while.

To a listener who knows zero history, the first major bit of information left out was that Turner was the one who had me arrested in a City Commission Meeting– and I won after the city lost in 5 courts- and agreed to settle for $100K. Or that I won in the lawsuit against the Library as well (although getting stuck with my lawyers fees by Judge Gerald Parker was a miscarriage of justice- and one I corrected when filing and settling a federal civil rights case for $40K on my own). Both of these wins would classify me as a civil rights activist and free speech hero- by most journalism outlets, except the DDn and WYSO.

I am a WYSO member (for now). I listen daily to morning edition, but, on that Friday, I first heard about the story when a good friend texted me:

What a bullshit piece on your race on WYSO. I expected better from them. ???

I didn’t get to hear it, until after they posted it on their site a day later. By that time, I’d already been in contact with General Manager Luke Dennis leaving a Voice Mail for him at the station. He called me back, we discussed the firewall between management and news- even though he hired the news director, Samantha Sommer, a mere 11 months ago from the Dayton Daily. While I’ve already recapped a lot of my email to him after our conversation above- the end of it included this:

No mention of the 27 billionaires backing Mike Turner- or the PAC money. No mention of how much I’ve raised- $40K and I’ve spent it on producing a ton of video, and targeted emails. I spend the money as it comes in- on advertising. Turner’s spent over $70K on “food and entertainment”

And as to the non-endorsement. Do your listeners support election deniers? That’s what the local MCDP and the ODP are. There was an election, I beat 3 other candidates in the primary. Is the story about their dismissal of a legitimate election, or the candidate who is fighting without their support?

I expect better from WYSO than interviewing a third party.

From your own mission/vision page:

  • Equity. WYSO has a role to play in undoing centuries of inequality in all its forms. Our news, music and storytelling further conversations about inequality and highlight solutions emerging to tackle it.
  • Independence. WYSO is independent and belongs to this community. Independent also describes the ways we approach journalism and the music we share. Our staff, boards and hosts / producers will not be unduly influenced by corporate interests or wealthy individuals.
  • Trustworthy journalism that is fact-based, researched, transparent, intellectually curious, pushes beyond the obvious answers, local, fair, and, when it’s called for, embraces the search for solutions. We believe an educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our democracy. 

Tell me how you consider that interview to have met ANY of those three goals?
If I told you how I had to lead Josh to real questions- after he asked his 3 simpleton ones- to move to real issues- it’s sad that this is their best “investigative reporter.”
He’s paid to do this. I do it as a hobby.
I grew up the son of a journalist. I know the difference between reporting and phoning it in.
You allowed your stations reputation to be besmirched by phoning it in from someone who phoned it in.

Not OK.
You owe your listeners better.
You are not supposed to be a parrot for the establishment.

esrati email to Luke Dennis- Sun, Nov 6, 2022 at 7:50 AM

His response?

Thanks for this thoughtful email. I’ve shared it with our news director Samantha Sommer. You’ve given us a lot to think about. 

Luke Dennis response 11/7/22, 1:59 PM

Samantha Sommer, news director responds:


Thanks for reaching out. I don’t really have anything to add to what Luke said. Interviews with reporters from other news organizations are a standard across public radio stations.


Samantha Sommer wrote on 11/22/22 9:52 AM

I reply:

Hi Samantha,
I’m sorry you feel that way.
I looked up the NPR handbook.
You may want to read it- and take another crack at a response.
I’m trying to be as kind as possible- because the WYSO listening audience and stakeholders deserve better.

Esrati reply to Sommer, copied to Dennis- 11/22/22, 1:17 PM

I had asked for a proper story before the election. Or at least an apology for doing second hand news. I even took the time to write it for them, because, unfortunately, Sommer, educated in the same sloppy news room that has given us Swiegart, has no clue what a WYSO/NPR story would look like.

Hi this is Luke Dennis (or Samantha Sommer) of WYSO. On Friday, we aired a piece about the candidates for congress in our home district. We would like to apologize to our listeners for the way we covered this important race, and accept responsibility for not delivering the quality of journalism that we aspire to. Instead of interviewing the candidates, we interviewed a reporter for the Dayton Daily News. While we have an alliance with the Dayton Daily news, in this case, it was inappropriate as they view one of the candidates as competition. David Esrati, who is the democratic nominee for Congress is a citizen journalist that has broken stories that the Dayton Daily news refuses to acknowledge as his work. From the second pepper spraying of an inmate in restraints at the Montgomery County Jail, to exposing that Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams was an FBI Confidential human source, already caught for committing a felony in office, who was allowed to stand for re-election with an agreement to resign if he won.

These are the kinds of stories, that often go untold by mainstream media, that we applaud and aspire to at WYSO.

Sources have confirmed to us, that writing about Esrati is not welcome in that newspaper, so interviewing their reporter was irresponsible when we could have interviewed him ourselves.

For the record, Esrati is a local ad agency owner who has won many awards for creative excellence. As a citizen journalist, which is his hobby, he’s filed and won lawsuits accusing government entities of breaking laws concerning the Sunshine laws and first Amendment rights. For decades, he’s fought city hall and both political parties for open transparent government.

The fact that the incumbent, Mike Turner has out fundraised him is part of his campaign. He’s identified 27 Billionaires who’ve donated to Turner. He tells people he doesn’t even know a billionaire. The fact that the local Dem Party is denying that he won a 4-way primary is a point of pride for him. He ran partly because the idea of election deniers being re-elected appalls him. Turner has spent almost twice what Esrati raised on food and beverages alone, according to campaign finance reports.

Esrati has been helping other candidates including Eric Price, Addison Caruso and two write-ins, Nancy Kiehl and Megan Overman, doing what he believes the party should be doing- trying to win every race. They have a joint website with a commercial Esrati produced for all at

Mr Esrati is a member of the WYSO community, and made a choice to put his life out for scrutiny by the public. It is our responsibility to provide fair and honest coverage.  We did not do that. Our mission to further conversations about inequality, to provide an independent voice, and to provide fact-based trustworthy journalism was sidestepped by using a secondary source. We know every election is important, and that an educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our democracy. We broke Mr. Esrati’s trust, and our duty to you to meet our own standards. We will strive in the future to do better. We hope you can forgive us.

Esrati draft response submitted to WYSO 11/7/22, 1:59 PM

If you read this far, it’s because you are either a friend, or a WYSO person who cares about their mission in our community. Or, possibly a journalism student, interested in how not to do a news story. The election is long over. The results said that Mike Turner should be our congressman for another 2 years- and that I’ve lost another election.

The fact that nearly 100,000 people voted for me, despite the public flogging given to me by the media and even the Republican party with their “Un-endorsed mailing” that was referenced in this WYSO piece- “a Republican Party (sic) mailing criticizing him because he didn’t have the money to actually put a flier in the field” should make examining the way this story was produced something to question, think about, and address going forward.

Because, journalism matters.

If you want to tell WYSO that you expect better, send an email to GM Luke Dennis, copy Samantha Sommer, and me too- [email protected]

When hacks get elected: The Mike Foley Follies

There are only two reasons Mike Foley is the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts: Russ Joseph wasn’t the political genius he thought he was, and Mike shares the same name as Judge Patrick Foley and his son Dan Foley- who had served this community honorably for decades.

Mike copied Dan’s signs- and let the ignorance of the electorate pick a known name. Voila.

Out of the gate he did some things that weren’t normal- like hiring a Democrat as one of the bosses (that was John McManus, who then flipped to the R side and is now the Treasurer). He also did the normal “friends and family” thing and hired his campaign manager, and wife of his best friend as his administrative assistant.

Neither Foley, or his assistant, Elle Sollenberger, seemed overly concerned with actual work in their positions. Foley hired Herb Davis to run the office when he wasn’t there. Herb is one of those folks that seems to float from one cushy government job to another without having to work very hard. The Montgomery County Veteran’s Service Commission (full disclosure: for which my firm, The Next Wave does some work for) has been working hard to reverse years of phoning it in by 10 years of Herb and a few of his successor.

Neither Foley nor Sollenberger made it into the office more than 3 days a week. But, the problem was that when they were in, they thought it was OK to conduct their side businesses in the office. Sollenberger was frequently gabbing it up on her cell phone as the Disney Vacation princess. Foley was working his side gigs as well. As a Realtor with Glass House Real Estate, Mike even had agents from his office calling in for legal advice from the in-house counsel under Mike.

Their antics of using public property/resources/time for their personal side hustles had gotten the attention of the nearly petrified republican king maker wannabe Danny Hamilton, who actually sat down with some of Mikes employees to ask them to advise Foley to reel in both Sollenberger’s and his behavior.

This resulted in the termination of 2 trusted employees: Tyler Starline, Esq. who was the chief of HR, and Christy Ahrens being terminated.

There was already a hostile work environment inside the clerks office, caused by pressure for employees to tithe to his campaign. Word was that Sollenberger, when she wasn’t doing the Disney vacation thing, was running copies and working on campaign stuff to boot.

There’s been a huge increase in a “Marketing budget” by both the Clerk’s office and the Treasurers office. Some of this may be due to the forward thinking McManus knowing that most people in the county don’t think of either the Clerk of Courts or the Treasurer in the best light- and since they don’t get to stick stickers on gas pumps like the Auditor- being out in the community with “Help Centers” and spending money on year round ads on stations like K-99 help keep the name in front of voters.

Foley hired at least two people to go out and talk about the clerks office daily. This is something that the County should be doing- not individual offices. (Full disclosure, my firm designed and printed banners stands for this effort back in 2019).

Foley has also made a few odd hires- starting out a few years ago when Sarah Greathouse moved into the Board of Elections, he bailed long time Dem Cathie Merkle out of the basement dwellers office. Just a month ago, he hired former BOE Director Steve Harsman, after he completed his top secret/SCI no public record of his contract- with the Board of Elections to play around with the precinct lines in Montgomery County for $150K plus. His contract is part of the reason I’ve sued the BOE for Sunshine Law violations (a story the Dayton Daily newsless refuses to acknowledge).

What voters might be most interested to find out is how many times Mike Foley has been sued as a bad debtor. Since 1994 there are at least 6 lawsuits- you can look them up on his own site: Look for Michael J Foley.

The fact that he barely puts in a 3 day workweek is actually legal. If you remember the former Republican County Recorder Joy Clark, you’ll remember she only came in the office about once every three months– which is all that’s required by state statute. However, Sollenberger, as a salaried employee is a different matter. On her attendance alone, Foley should be in trouble.

I’ve questioned why we elect a clerk of courts in Ohio- and the lack of qualifications to be one. You can read a lot of the background in this 2020 post I put up: “Why do we elect a Clerk of Courts? And how much is the ransom to get a competent one?

The State Auditor released a one page statement on the raid and identified only the campaign connected violations. That the Clerk’s office is the only one being raided is a joke- this is common practice in almost every elected leaders public office in Montgomery County- go look at the fundraisers for both parties, and to judges campaigns. You want to keep your job- you tithe. The County Prosecutor, Mat Heck is the master of this game.

The Dayton Daily newsless has a quote of new Dem Party Chair Mohamed Al-Hamdani with his fake contrition. He’s just as guilty- and he was one of the first people fired by Foley when Foley took over from Mohamed’s patron saint Russ Joseph. The star investigative “reporter” failed to make that connection for you. But, that’s why you read

The fact that Herb Davis told the news that Foley had hired Rion and Rion to defend him, should be a clear indication that they knew this was coming. Of course, Mr. Rion often represents high profile cases up until the plea is entered and he’s got the free press- but then often doesn’t continue representation.

Mat Heck claimed he was taken by surprise by this, which is of course, no big news. Mat Heck can’t identify crimes unless you are black, poor or a political threat to him. He refused to investigate Dr. Adil Baguirov for not living in the Dayton School District while on the board, he didn’t investigate or charge and Montgomery County Sheriffs department officials for pepper spraying inmates.

The reality is, Foley being forced out of office won’t really do anything to change things up. The Republican party will just pick another unqualified person to take over until the next election. We already know that white people, like newly elected Juvenile Court Judge Julie Brun’s husband – can commit crimes at the expense of the public- and get their wrist slapped – no more. And, if you are connected with the party- like former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams or Roshawn Winburn- you’ll get short prison time- or no prison time, at least until you take naughty pictures of juveniles like Roshawn did.

To fully understand how crappy of a human being Mike Foley is, realize that Tyler Starline has been working there for a couple of years- and had offered legal advice to protect Foley. Instead of being allowed to resign and collect his vacation and sick time, and maintain some integrity- Foley fired him. The kicker? Starline’s wife just died in September- leaving him as a single dad, with no health insurance.

If there is a special place for crappy, self-serving, pompous politicians- Foley’s headed there fast.

If the republicans actually cared about straightening out their mess, they’d replace Foley with McManus who is a lawyer and has years of experience working in the Franklin County Clerk’s office before his stint in Foley’s office. Then, name someone else to be treasurer. The Clerk’s office pays better than the Treasurers office does, so McManus would make more- and McManus can be trusted and could easily be re-elected.

To this day, I’ll still wonder why we elect a clerk of courts in the first place. Chief file cabinet master? We don’t elect librarians do we? And most of them actually have a degree. The fact that these are cesspools of political patronage is another reason to stop this non-sense, but, then, the parties wouldn’t have as many people to extort to fund their little private clubs.

Raid on Mike Foley, Clerk of Courts office

A few weeks ago, Mike Foley, the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts fired two employees in his legal division, Tyler Starline and Christy Ahrens were sent packing. Today, law enforcement executed a search warrant in the Courts building.

Sources say that Foley was asking county employees to do either campaign work- or provide private legal assistance on the taxpayers dime. Typically, when law enforcement raids a public officials office, they know what they are looking for.

This is a change from the “Culture of Corruption” investigation of 2019, in that the target is white, republican and still in elected office. There is no mention of the investigation on any news site.

Because I’m tired, and I don’t get paid to report the news like the hack Josh Sweigart at the Dayton Day-old news, I’m going to just state that you heard it here first, and any news station that reports it should say that this story broke on

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