After a 7 day trial in US Federal Court on 3 charges of mail fraud, 2 charges of witness intimidation and 2 charges of witness retaliation a jury of 8 women and 4 men found Brian Higgins guilty of all the charges except witness retaliation. The last four charges stemmed from a lawsuit Higgins filed in Common Pleas court against United Demolition in 2020 over money owed from the job United didn’t do in 2014-15. Sentencing will be in 90 days, on April 14, 2022 at 9:30 am, however appeals could delay things.
The jury deliberated from 10:15 to about 2:15. It’s not known if they broke for lunch. The case was ploddingly dull, thanks to lawyers who were far from sharp. It was delayed more than a few times for AV issues in Judge Rose’s courtroom, where monitors, projectors, audio were all unreliable, at one time moving the hearing to Judge Rice’s courtroom.
I was the only “reporter” in the court for any of the proceedings. The Dayton Daily didn’t bother to send a reporter. I’ve covered everything leading up to this, and have had first hand knowledge of many of the things discussed in court. A few times, my firm, The Next Wave, came up- either for an invoice to Mr. Higgins or his use of my fax machine.
I will have a lengthy article about what I saw, learned and thought of the only trial in the “Culture of Corruption” indictments of April 30, 2019, where formed Dayton City Commissioner Joey D Williams, former State Representative Clayton Luckie, and former Minority Business Center director for the City of Dayton, Roshawn Winburn were paraded out by the Ohio Attorney General, the FBI and the DOJ as the first of a promised many indictments. So far, 6 Black people and one white one, Steve Rauch, have all been implicated and pleaded or negotiated settlements.
This trial was heavily edited for context, so that the Jury never knew what else was going on in the Higgins case. These will be issues for appeal.
Given the information the jury had to work with, this was a rational outcome. Had they known that FBI Confidential Human Source Mike Marshall, head of the false front company set up by the Feds- United Demolition, used Higgins to be introduced to Williams and Winburn, or that Marshall, his partner Scott Waters, and Higgins were contriving plans to create a new company to bid on City of Dayton Demolition projects, they may have had a different opinion of Mr. Higgins guilt. Minus this part of the story, only once referenced by Higgins on tape “this is pebbles compared to what we’ll make” they were all part of a plan with Williams and Winburn to set up a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business headed by Higgins, to bid on contracts that routinely go to either Steve Rauch Incorporated or Bladecutters for millions each year.
This is why Marshall did no work on Higgins home repairs- the fraud charges that were levied, because he was too busy building out Williams patio enclosure- with some of Higgins insurance money plus money from the Feds. Had the jury known the full story, the only people who were really to blame were the Feds- who set this whole mess in action.
The fact that it takes 3 votes on the Dayton City Commission to approve any contract, means Williams did not act alone in getting a contract to United Demolition (which they botched). The fact that not a single white person in city hall was found complicit speaks volumes to the ineffectiveness of this investigation that culminated today.
Higgins has already served 68 days in Federal prison while being given a competency exam. And while Williams only did 3 months of a 1 year sentence and Winburn hasn’t spent a day in prison despite being sentenced almost a year and a half ago- Higgins got stuck with an electronic monitoring device on day 3 of the trial when he correctly notified the court that he may have been exposed to Covid. Whether he will have to remain on monitoring depends on Judge Rose and probation.
Stay tuned for the full story soon. I took 82 pages of notes- and gave up a week of work to bring you this story.