Baku’s Man in America – is Dayton’s own Adil Baguirov

Look back at this blog on April 5, 2017. That should have been the end of Adil Baguirov, International Man of Mystery on the Dayton Board of Education.

But, because we don’t have a real prosecutor, sheriff, attorney general, Ohio Ethics Commission, Secretary of State etc. etc. in Ohio- and instead have politicians finely practiced in the art of CYA, nothing happened to Adil. Oh, and did I mention the other 6 members of the school board, Joe Lacey, Sheila Taylor, John McManus, Robert Walker, Ron Lee, Hazel Rountree- who also sat on their hands.

That is, until election day, 2017, when I checked his voter registration, and showed he didn’t live in the Dayton Public School district anymore.

When all those people jumped into action, and demanded his immediate resignation.

Yeah, right.

It wasn’t until I sent a fake writ of mandamus and threatened legal action the following day- did we see him resign 2 days later.

The Dayton DayOld News didn’t give credit to me for breaking the story or forcing the resignation. Nor, did they investigate anything else on his background. Or his dirty money, which I posted about on September 7, 2017

But, never fear, he’s still making news on the international news cycle with this expose by the OCCRP who posted this in depth article on our local man of mystery yesterday- and mentioned esrati.com and our story.

By the way, Representative Turner was there on the congressional junket, but didn’t accept the airfare or gifts that got the other congressmen/women in trouble.

Dr. Adil Baguirov, former Dayton Public Schools Board president

Dr. Adil Baguirov, former Dayton Public Schools Board president (heroic photo montage  from https://www.occrp.org/en/azerbaijanilaundromat/bakus-man-in-america)

As it turns out, another recipient of Laundromat money — to the tune of a quarter million dollars — was an influential American oil and gas consultant of Azerbaijani origin who worked to influence US policy in his native country’s favor.

Adil Baguirov, a business owner based in Dayton, Ohio and a vocal member of the Azerbaijani diaspora, received the $253,150 transfer just months after a non-profit organization he runs, the Houston-based US Azeris Network, helped host a conference in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, that was attended by 10 members of Congress. The junket was widely criticized, and investigated by the House Ethics Committee, for being secretly funded by Azerbaijan’s state oil company.

The precise origins of the money Baguirov received are unknown, hidden behind secretive shell companies. But there is ample evidence that the authoritarian country’s ruling elite is behind it.

Baguirov’s Washington lobbying in the interests of Azerbaijan goes far beyond the 2013 conference. He has also helped organize other US-Azeri conferences in Washington, repeatedly testified before the House in favor of US military aid to Azerbaijan, served as the coordinator of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus, and worked prominently in a Houston-based company that claims to have organized a trip by the country’s president, Ilham Aliyev, to the White House.

Baguirov and his family run in elite circles back home. They are known to have close ties to President Aliyev – who awarded Baguirov a medal for his efforts in the US – and he and his father serve in numerous advisory roles to the Azerbaijani and Russian governments respectively. Baguirov did all this while holding American, Azerbaijani, and, it also appears, Russian citizenship ?until at least 2005.

His lobbying raises the question of whether he should have registered as a foreign agent, as the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires people representing the interests of foreign countries to do. Although the statute is loosely defined and contains a number of exemptions and loopholes, Josh Rosenstein, a lawyer at Sandler Reiff, says “this case raises red flags and raises questions that the Justice Department may be interested in having answered.”

When contacted by OCCRP reporters for comment, Baguirov said the payment he received was none of their business.

An American Success Story

Adil Baguirov’s campaign website touts him as “An American Success Story”— a striving immigrant who came to the United States at the age of 16 to “study hard and pursue his dreams” of a better life.

He graduated from the University of Southern California in international relations and business administration, and also received a PhD in political science in Moscow. Today, however, he’s a local business owner and educational leader in Dayton, an Ohio city with a population of around 140,000.

In a 2016 feature on Dayton, Politico described Baguirov as “handsome and well-spoken enough that it was easy to imagine him going far [in politics] … just the sort of new American who Republican Party leaders said the party could bring to its side, if only it tried.”

In fact, he recently mulled the possibility of running for Ohio’s state senate as a Republican, though he ultimately decided to sit the 2018 election cycle out in order to, as he told Dayton Magazine, “take a little time off.”

According to the magazine, the businessman has “spent his entire life committed to the idea of education, both for himself and others.” Indeed, his first foray into local politics began five years ago, when he was elected to Dayton’s school board, a position he held until 2017, when he resigned more than a month before the end of his term after local activist David Esrati discovered that he appeared to have lied about his residential address.

But, as it turns out, Baguirov’s eligibility for the school board is not the only controversy surrounding the businessman.

Just one week after he was elected to the position, a consulting company he runs called Turbillion LLC received a payment of US$ 253,150 from Hilux Services, a shell firm that is part of the Azerbaijani Laundromat. The reason for the payment is listed, cryptically, as “to the contract.”

While Baguirov lives in Ohio, Turbillion is registered in Wyoming, a state popular with those looking to create secretive companies due to its tax-free incentives and provision of anonymity.

Turbillion has no website and no publicly known activity, and it’s just one of a number of similar companies controlled by Baguirov. For example, it shares the Dayton mailing address of Nobel Brothers Pictures LLC, another Wyoming-based company which is allegedly producing a Hollywood movie about the history of the Azerbaijani oil industry.

Source: Baku’s Man in America – OCCRP

And if you need a refresher on our original story, watch the Esrati.com video:

Another public service, unpaid, by the only independent investigative journalist in Dayton.

And, because Baguirov can no longer count on doing dirty deals for the Schools- and he didn’t run for office as planned, he’s reportedly now trying to secure a real estate license.

Let’s hope the Realtor’s do a better background check than anyone else did before putting this guy in charge of anything.

 

Political Party Insiders overrule voters will, kicking judicial candidate off ballot for 2nd time

Alan Gabel is about to get a dear John letter from the Montgomery County Board of Elections. He was rejected in February for petition vagaries  (the judgeships are identified by their start date of term, he had the wrong date for the seat) from running for judge against Erik Blaine for Montgomery County Common Pleas court. The bar to get on as a Dem, 50 valid signatures. He then turned around and collected signatures, he turned in 3108 of them, from registered voters to run as an independent and turned in enough valid signatures (he needed 1459) to appear on the ballot.

However, the Board, made up of 2 democratic party  and 2 republican party appointees- decided that he couldn’t run as an independent, overruling the voice and will of the people, because he was “still associated as a dem.”

Note, judges names on the ballot appear WITHOUT party affiliation.

The democratic party insiders are running Montgomery County Juvenile Court Magistrate Gerald Parker against Blaine.

A three way race for judge is almost as unheard of as anyone challenging a sitting judge, except in their first race. Blaine was appointed by Governor Kasich to replace Michael Tucker, who won an unopposed race for a seat on the Second District Court of Appeals. This is his first election. Previously, he’d worked at Wright & Schulte since January 2012 and he’s the Chairman of the Greater Dayton Area Friends of the NRA according to the Dayton DayOld News. Blaine, a 2006 graduate of the UD Law School is a relatively young for a judge. (Full disclosure, my case against Dayton Metro Library is in his court)

Last time I looked at a voter lists just before the May 8 primary, it struck me that there are a lot more UNC (undeclared) voters than there were D or R, which begs the question, why don’t they have at least an equal voice on the Board of Elections. What’s worse, is that on election day- if there is a dispute, the tie breaker as designated in Ohio, is the Sheriff- which in this case, means the head of the Republican Party casts the deciding vote.

That the BOE is appointed, by people who are marginally elected (precinct captains of each party- like me) is one of the political travesties allowed in Ohio.

Alan Gabel should be allowed on the ballot, the voice of 2000+ voters should outweigh the decision of 4 political patronage partisans on the BOE.

Expect a lawsuit.

And, remember- you read this story on Esrati.com first. The Dayton Day-Old news won’t attribute who broke it.

 

Retail politics and May 8, 2018 election

thumbnail of esrati 2018 central committee sm

What educated voters in Dayton 1-D are getting hand delivered. Click to download PDF

The way you win elections isn’t with :30 second TV spots, yard signs, or facebook ads.

At least that’s not how the most successful campaigns do it anymore.

It’s all data driven, trying to target most likely voters, and deciding who we need to get out and vote. It’s done through personal contact, door knocking, volunteers calling, and endless data collection and analysis.

Or- you ignore all the data, and just realize you have to meet and convince more voters than your opponent and hope.

That only works when you are running for something as small as precinct captain, which, yours truly is.

I’ve got 2 opponents. One has even printed a tri-fold brochure. So I have to out work, out knock, and out talk him.

Which is what I’ve been doing including enough time in the sun yesterday to be told by my mother that I’m sunburned.

I was also preaching the sermon for Darryl Fairchild and to vote yes on Issue 1.

And here are the takeaways:

  • Despite all efforts to clear voter rolls and eliminate old data, there are still some people on the rolls who shouldn’t be (hadn’t voted since the 90’s, dead, house has been torn down).
  • That some homes in my neighborhood have had multiple addresses- and the voter rolls still haven’t been fixed.
  • Party affiliations are often wrong.
  • A ton of “UNC” or unclassified voters- way more than D or R. So no matter how much the two parties think they should rule the roost of the Board of (S)Elections- by the look of things, we’re letting the foxes run the hen house. And many of them are pissed that they can’t vote for me as Precinct Captain and Gary Leitzel for County Commission at the same time.
  • Issue 1- most had no clue it was on the ballot.

What we need more than any ballot reform- is a real voter information system. No one seems to know where to go to find in-depth, relevant information about each candidate and race. If we had a board of elections that took their job seriously, we’d have a better system than what we have now.

thumbnail of Sample ballot 1-D

Sample Ballot for Dayton 1-D for a Dem in the May 8, 2018 election (Click to download entire PDF)

For now- if you want to know what your ballot sort of looks like- you can go here and download your personalized ballot.

https://www.voterfind.com/montgomeryoh/ballotlist.aspx

Then you have a choice of party, or issues only, to see what will be on the ballot in your precinct.

You should go, download a ballot, and research every issue, candidate, and try to make a decision long before you go to the polls.

If we’d switch to vote by mail, like Oregon (the State, not the district) did long ago, we could even mail a catalog with equal space for every candidate to summarize their candidacy and provide links to their site, for more information.

If we had a system like that- we could eliminate 90% of campaign ads, mailers, signs and stupidity.

 

 

When congress screws up your love life

craigslist personals bannedMost people still don’t like to admit they met on a dating site, although more and more do. Hoping to run into “the one” randomly, at the right time has odds about as good as the lottery, or getting hit by a self-driving Uber.

This week, in the tumultuous chaos of Trump’s Washington, between firing and hiring and budget fights and gun protests, Congress passed a law March 21, 2018  and killed the only truly free dating site on the Internet: the Craigslist personals.

Now instead of ads in M4W and MW4MW etc- all that’s left is “Missed connections.”

The rest have this message:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

I stay pretty informed, and I had no idea this was happening.

In the senate- only Wyden (D-OR) and Paul (R-KY) voted no. In the house- Local Warren Davidson was one of the 25 No votes. BTW- the senate site is WAY better than the house.

FOSTA stands for Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017.

And, while I’m sure Craigslist has led to some prostitution and all kinds of other illicit behavior, there are obviously other sites that rate prostitutes and provide “GFE” – girl friend experiences- that have zero legitimate dating ambitions. They will probably stay in existence.

For me, this move by the nanny state, saddens me. Back in 2009, I posted the following ad on Craigslist:

Life works better as a couple. (Downtown Dayton)

age: 44

If there is one thing that becomes more and more obvious as I get older, it’s that our society and our success comes as a couple.
The bit about behind every successful man is an amazing woman- and visa versa- isn’t folklore- it’s as real as it gets.
I really don’t mind being alone- but I’m tired of losing friends to spouses and children, I’m tired of going to music, culture, film alone- and cooking for one is the pits (esp. when I actually can cook worth a damn).So- who would you be coupling up with?
A bright guy, with many interests including: art, architecture, music, pop-culture, advertising, design, photography, politics (liberal), mass media, urban development, reading, old houses, dogs, SCUBA, ice hockey, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, theater, film, food, pilates, computers, the internet, writing, travel.
I’m 5’11”, non-smoking, non-drinking, 205lbs (which drops when I am cooking more at home), and, this is important: a secular humanist/atheist/jew. If you want to convert me- forget it. If you don’t get it- Judaism is a culture as well as a religion.
I’ve got a bachelors degree in Business. Regret not getting an MBA or a doctorate. I’m a veteran – and proud of it.
Never married, no kids.

You: able to write in complete sentences, would rather walk over broken glass than; watch NASCAR, listen to Country, vote Republican, or smoke.
Employed. Baggage minimal, and matching. Able to carry on a conversation, work a room on your own, able to receive as well as give a great massage. Have a passport. Willing to try new things.

Write me- meet me for coffee- what do you have to loose?

And a woman, with two wonderful girls, ages 4 and 9, wrote back. We met at Tanks for lunch. She liked their Reuben. I liked her smile, her eyes, and her boldness. I wouldn’t say she lacked a filter, but she made things very clear. We started dating, 2 years later we were living together. After 5 and some, she moved out- a block away, we still acted like a family when it came to kids, dogs, and having each others backs for about another year and a half. All thanks to Craigslist.
We traveled to Paris, to Boston, to NYC to Disneyworld, to LA. – to Fallingwater.
All this, thanks to a free ad on Craigslist. You know the saying, if you don’t play- you can’t win. Craigslist was a winner for us.
There are still some free dating sites out there- Plentyoffish.com and OKCupid.com are two that come to mind- but, all have paid options, and various matching algorithms. That was the beauty of Craigslist- it wasn’t anything different than a bulletin board at a coffee house – totally random- based on geography.
She was the longest and best relationship I’ve ever had. Her kids meant the world to me.
Now, there is no more Craigslist personals- and there may not be another woman like her- or there may be- we just won’t meet on Craigslist- thanks to Congress.
That ad was 11 years ago. I’d just have to change a few things to it today to run it again- but alas, I’d have no place to post it- other than here. I’m up 10 lbs, and, I’d probably claim 6′
The world of online dating has turned into swipe culture- with sites like Tinder and Bumble reducing it down to looks and photography skills. Almost all the sites are now owned by one company, the Match Group. The problem with corporate dating sites is they control the experience- with Craigslist- it was up to you and the community. Now Congress has ruined that.
Of all the dating sites I’ve tried, the one I liked the best was OKCupid- and the way it “matched” people. Another Harvard based Internet startup, it was originally a market research company masquerading as a dating site. One of the problems with asking most people deeply personal questions and getting them to answer honestly, is they won’t- unless there is something in it for them. OKCupid- asked a question, often contributed by the community- and you would answer how you would answer it- how you would like your potential mate to answer it and how important it was to you. Lying about these things wouldn’t help you meet the right person- so you answered honestly. It was up to you if you wanted to make your answer public or not- but if it was private- it would still help tell you who matched up best.
That said, we don’t always know that what we think we want- is really the best thing for us. Some ladies have a broken “manpicker” and some men “are shit magnets”- and vice versa…
The way OKCupid attracted people in the early days were funny surveys- much like the same ones Cambridge Analytical used to harvest the pscyhographic data everyone is up in arms about right now. Those got discontinued by the corporate overlords of Match. Those surveys told you what kind of motorcycle was the right one for you (my results were pretty close- a Yamaha FJ 1100- close to my BMW R1200RT) and the infamous “Slut test” where I scored… I don’t remember. Now, I refer to the site as OKStupid- since it has been dumbed-down. 
All that said, the real reason that Craigslist bears the brunt of Congress’s brute force is probably because Craigslist has no friends, other than its users. It destroyed the revenue stream from Classified ads in the local newspaper, changed the face of real estate advertising by owner, upset the job listings, ticket scalping became a business, and even saved landfills by making it easy to give away stuff that might end up in the trash.
It also was an essential tool for community organizers- looking to promote events.
Part of the problem was that since it’s debut in 1995, it never really evolved as a platform- allowing others to specialize and replace it with new and improved versions for specific areas- StubHub, Zillow, AirBNB, Monster, Etsy etc- all did the same thing only better.
But, that was the beauty of Craigslist. It was simple and community driven.
And, now, it’s no longer a place to meet your mate.
And, I still believe life works better as a couple….
but, now, the only place I can post this ad is here.

School board fails to properly post Lolli contract 48 hours in advance

The 2nd worst district in the State fails publishing agenda 101 with the inability to post the contract for public review 48 hours in advance of the meeting. All other documents are properly linked and openable.

This rush to hire Lolli, with an announcement on Friday Mar, 16, 2018 at 5pm instead of after coming out of the legal executive session on Tuesday Mar 13, 2018, smacks of a protective move to Lolli for giving testimony on Thursday Mar 15, 2018 in my lawsuit trying to force compliance with the Open Meetings law- on the issues of school closing.

This is yet another example of failure to follow and comply with the law, and a reckless disregard for the people of Dayton, and why the board should be removed from office.

UPDATE

right after I posted this- I realized I didn’t show that all the other links worked. So here is a longer video, with the rest of the agenda items clicked on- and opening.