Conflicts abound when deals are done in back rooms

The hypocrisy of all this is amazing- yet, no one other than yours truly, has questioned how the Congressman’s wife, with no office in Atlanta or Washington, is doing work for the Home Depot PAC (most definitley a conflict of interest). Another question- is how the Turner Effect could even consider bidding on Government Contracts (it did work for the Army Corps of Engineers) without it looking like a conflict. And, this subtle change on their website- last week Turner Effect had a dropdown menu that said they had a GSA schedule, but it’s not on the site today.

A GSA schedule is a complex contract that sets standard rates for Government work to make it easier for government buyers to award bids without having to pre-qualify the contractor (it’s referred to as a “license to hunt” government work by one local holder).

However Turner Effect does have an “Ethics policy” on site- which I will include after the “More” split on this post- since it can’t be linked to directly or read by blind people- a non-ADA compliant site (they have poor web skills, in addition to lackluster branding skills IMHO) which would seem to conflict their PAC work with their number 2) directive.

However, the paper is now airing a squabble among the power brokers of Dayton on questioning their private decisions in public (started when Dem Party Chair Mark Owens signed off on a Jane Mitakides e-mail questioning the ethics of Turner Effect’s no bid work for the Dayton Development Coalition).

Questions on branding deal draw criticism
Business leaders slam newspaper about coverage of Turner Effect contract.

DAYTON — Leaders of local business groups have slammed the Dayton Daily News for its coverage of a no-bid contract of more than $300,000 to a company owned by U.S. Rep. Mike Turner’s wife, and asked the chairmen of the Montgomery County political parties not to “politicize” the issue.But county Democratic Chairman Mark Owens said that won’t stop his party from questioning the Turners’ actions related to Dayton Development Coalition’s choice of Lori Turner’s marketing firm as lead contractor for a $1.5 million regional branding campaign that resulted in the slogan, “Get Midwest.”

“If the other side is doing something we feel to be unethical, we’re going to ask questions about it,” Owens said. Turner is up for re-election this fall.

In a letter to the chairmen dated Thursday, Feb. 14, officials of the public-private coalition and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce lauded the coalition’s process of setting regional economic development priorities and lobbying the local congressional delegation — including Turner — for federal funds to pursue them.

“We were doing the best we could to add clarity to both these party leaders and stop this thing from getting nasty and ugly,” said chamber President Phillip Parker, one of the signers of the letter. Asked about the letter’s accusation that the newspaper published “false information,” Parker said only that he thought the articles gave the misleading impression the coalition was attempting to “curry favor” with Rep. Turner by hiring his wife.

Owens, who is the Dayton Municipal Court clerk, said he supports the planning process. “However, the issue of Mike Turner and his wife’s acceptance of the no-bid contract is a whole separate issue,” he said. “Certainly there are questions that have been raised that should have been answered by the congressman.”

Owens said coalition officials “would have been better off if they had gone out for bids” to “take away the question of impropriety.”

County Republican Chairman Gregory Gantt said he is reviewing the letter and supports the work of the coalition.

The letter quotes a statement from Dayton Daily News Publisher Doug Franklin and former Berry Co. Chief Executive Pete Luongo, coalition trustees who co-chaired the branding campaign. They said there was no conflict of interest in the Turner contract, in part because the coalition lobbies for federal funds for the community, not its own operation.

But in articles published Sunday, Feb. 10, two congressional watchdog groups were quoted as saying the contract with Lori Turner’s Turner Effect at best gives the appearance that the coalition is trying to buy political favors from Mike Turner, R- Centerville, or give the Turner household a cash infusion during an election year.

“I don’t feel they have a clue about what happens in Dayton, Ohio,” Parker said of the watchdog groups. Most of the coalition’s trustees have contributed to Turner’s political campaigns and trustee Clayton Mathile, whose foundation provided half of the branding campaign’s $1.5 million budget, is a major Turner contributor.

Coalition President and Chief Executive J.P. Nauseef has said the Turner Effect has earned more than $300,000 so far, and will be paid more during the second half of the campaign.

I added the emphasis on DDN publisher Doug Franklin- doesn’t it seem odd that the publisher would send a letter questioning the reporting of facts in his own paper- and the subsequent use of the story as basis for political bashing? The paper endorsed Jane Mitakides for Congress (while using more ink on attacking me)- and it was on her e-mail letterhead that Owens sent the complaint (because she won’t ask hard questions).

Does it seem like a back room squabble is coming to light?

Do you wonder why the DDN hasn’t gone full bore after Turner Effect for doing PAC work?

Is it odd that only Mary McCarty- a feel-good columnist actually questioned the price that the Turner Effect charged?

Leman speculated that the price tag is five times more than other firms would bill for similar services. (His firm was paid $20,000 for the branding campaign for the Dayton Convention Center.) And Leman isn’t exactly knocked out by the “Get Midwest” slogan. “When people hear about this campaign, the first reaction is, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ ” Leman said.

More to come on this, I’m sure.

read the Turner Effect ethics policy after the more tag… (I had to retype it, because it’s in Flash- no linking, no reading if you’re blind)

From the Turner Effect web site, on Feb 16, 2008 (it seems out of date, since Turner is now a third term congressman. Here is a link to a screen grab of just the text (I was hoping to OCR it- but no luck – had to retype) Screen grab of Turner Effect Ethics Policy on Feb 16, 2008

Turner Effect Code of Ethics Policy
Lori Turner is owner and founder of Turner Effect, a fifteen-year established marketing, research and business development firm, with 13 employees, located in downtown Dayton. Turner Effect is a well-known and award-winning Dayton area business. Since Lori Turner is the wife of two-term Congressman Mike Turner, Turner Effect has implemented the following policies to avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety.
In order to fully comply with and exceed the U.S. House of Representatives Code of Official Conduct as it pertains to ethics, Turner Effect’s policy is as follows. For further information, refer to the House Code of Official Conduct Ethics Manual, Chapter 3 (www.house.gov/ethics).
1) Turner Effect will only receive compensation for services provided.
Turner Effect invoices clients based upon detailed time and activity reporting for all professional services delivered using an electronic system. Project information is profided for clients on a monthly invoice basis or upon request at any time.
2) Turner Effect is not a registered lobbyist and as such does not work to influence legislation or federal funding under any circumstances.
Turner Effect does not provide lobbying services to influence pending or anticipated Federal legislation.
3) Turner Effect will not accept a project with any group or organization where any portion of the porject’s funding is a result of Congressman Turner’s direct involvement.
As an established professional service business, Turner Effect serves numerous clients that are eligible for and at times do receive federal funds. Turner Effect may provide services for projects that are federally funded and are unrelated to Congressman Turner’s direct involvement. However, Turner Effect will not and does not accept project assignments from clients where the project has received federal funds secured by Congressman Turner.

If you have any questions, please contact Lori Turner, President and CEO of Turner Effect, at (937) 222-8238

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15 Responses

  1. Greg Hunter February 16, 2008 / 9:31 am
    David, man again where to start. It appears too me that the big boys doth protest too much. Mr. Parker’s operation funded Husted’s rise and due to the mistakes made by Republicans at the State and Federal levels probably lives in fear of a Democrat change over causing the gravy train of public and private dollars to come to an end. In some respects I understand their dilemma as they are trying to woo businesses and high level personnel so they can save Dayton. I mean I would not complain if these investments actually benefited Dayton or the Country, but they only appear to re distribute public dollars to a few private hands.

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  2. Greg Hunter February 16, 2008 / 9:35 am
    I agree with Mr. Parker on the point that we should not give so much weight to what some obscure think tank says about Dayton, but the DDN would never stoop to give credit to the citizens and bloggers that have been saying the same things about these relationships for YEARS. The hypocrisy is apparent.

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  3. Josh February 16, 2008 / 11:24 am
    Conflicts abound – period.

    This will most likely be my last comment for quite some time. I get pretty passionate about philosophical concepts like ethics, morals, and politics, so much in fact, that other aspects of my life (job hunting, and portfolio building) begin to suffer in quality – because I am so consumed.

    The slogan “Get Midwest” isn’t the greatest – because it doesn’t mean anything. But, neither does saying you want to “Change the World” – change it into what?

    We live in a society which is becoming an amalgamation where it no longer matters if you are from the south, north, east, west, or midwest – chances are you’re like most other people. You want to be well liked; recognized as intelligent; earn enough money to pay bills, retire before age 100; find love and happiness; so on and so forth. The midwest, by itself, is not a culture – it’s barely a location. It is a conflict of principles to believe that we are all connected and in this together, and believe that we are completely different.

    Further, the demonstration of the amalgamation of ideas is seen within the two major parties themselves. Most of the people claiming to be one over the other are actually riding pretty close to the center.

    Another demonstration of the concept can be seen in the last few presidential elections – when was the last time a candidate won by a true landslide? When we are considering 55% a landslide – that’s a problem.

    Lastly – as it was the last discussion I became impassioned about on David’s site – the smoking ban. The spin states that Ohio voters – “overwhelmingly” passed the bill. However, the bill was passed by around 54% of Ohio voters. The next time your child passes a class with a 54% out of 100% – if that’s even a passing grade – I want you to congratulate them immensely – because that is “overwhelming.”

    The communication of ideas is difficult because they are abstract, and language is becoming just as abstract. Look to the word love – and read how many definitions there are. Find an older dictionary and do the same.

    It is a similar notion with legislation and law making. We create new laws – and annex them with the old. Chances are you are breaking some law right now and don’t even know it.

    Conflict happens – because hate is an easy emotion (Orwell, 1984 – where everything is public). It is very easy to find reasons not to like something – it is sometimes difficult to find reasons to like something (I should know – been in Dayton 16 years – and still haven’t found enough reasons to like it enough to be compelled to stay).

    A simple test: List 20 things you hate about people. Now list 20 things you love.

    Now react to the things you love – with the same intensity as the things you hate. Then you will have changed your world.

    Peace out.

    Josh

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  4. Josh February 16, 2008 / 11:59 am
    ps. I just noticed two things:

    1) I should have said, “Then you will have improved your world” – I do apologize.

    2) The disclaimer at the bottom of the content section: “…or include ad hominem attacks.”

    These style attacks are part of the series of logical fallacies developed initially by Aristotle – in which a person attacks the individual within a debate; instead of the argument itself. “Suzy makes a sound argument, but she’s ugly.”

    I would move that the following comments be removed – based on this clause.

    “David, I’m not sure why you’re such an angry little man. ” – Russ Joseph (02/14/08)

    “You sir, are the angry little man, who can’t do anything except tear people down who you can’t control.” – Esrati (02/14/08)

    Happy Valentine’s day indeed.

    (Or removal of that clause within the comment area would accomplish the same.)

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  5. David Esrati February 16, 2008 / 2:47 pm

    Josh- tit for tat, so they stay.
    I leave the rantings of Russ Joseph to see so all can see the disposition of a Montgomery County Democratic Party Political insider.
    Otherwise- they wouldn’t be there.

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  6. Josh February 16, 2008 / 3:31 pm
    My father used to tell me and my sister: I don’t care who started it – I will turn this car around.

    Or

    “The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind,” wrote Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Dr. King was most likely inspired by Mahatma Gandhi whose original quote is: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

    Peace.

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  7. Shannon February 16, 2008 / 7:50 pm
    Josh, looks like your father should have turned the car around! He also should of pulled you face out of the books and shown you the real world, maybe convinced you to join the Army.

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  8. Josh February 16, 2008 / 8:22 pm
    Shannon – if I had your email address I would have written this directly to you – as I believe my personal history (ad hominem) and present situation have no bearing on the discussion of politics or how to improve Dayton.

    Yes I have read a lot, because when I would tell people my ideas they would generally ask me to cite sources as to where I got the idea despite having them most of my life – I am sorry that seems to upset you.

    And my father, being in the military did show me the real world – one city and state at a time. I have attended Native American festivals on the reservations of the West. I have helped my Grandmother farm the fields of Texas. I have climbed the mountains of the Rockies. I’ve even bailed hay in Ohio.

    i have seen the beauty of this country – and its people. And, I have seen the ugly – I just prefer to try and share the beauty.

    When David asked me to “join the conversation” I knew a problem would come up, because he and I disagree on a great deal of things. However, I will say this – he has a very caring heart – I just wish he would show it to the world more often than he shows the side which is demonstrated here on many of his posts (ie. Angry. Conspiracy Theorist. Reverse Elitism.).

    I don’t know too many people that talk to their mailman when he (she actually) delivers the mail – much less know his/her name. I don’t know too many bosses that bake their employees cookies from scratch. If I didn’t think he was a worthwhile human being – I wouldn’t continue to talk to him; or, accept his phone calls or emails.

    However, there is a lot of piss and vinegar in him that he is willing to show the world. And, I won’t support him to run for congress – because he’s too far the other way trying to expose all the things we already know: Life sucks get a helmet.

    Show love – more than hate. Show peace – more than anger. Influence by reason – more than by fear.

    Have a good one Shannon. Don’t worry I won’t be around here much longer.

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  9. Pedro February 16, 2008 / 9:43 pm
    “Influence by reason – more than by fear.”

    I think Josh needs his own blog.

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  10. Shannon February 17, 2008 / 9:20 am
    I agree, you have my attention. Let us hear more Josh. “I think Josh needs his own blog.”

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  11. Josh February 17, 2008 / 3:36 pm
    Shannon and Pedro – I am flattered I’m sure.

    I have actually had an online log of some form or another since 1998. I write stories, poetry, and papers. I also displayed my visual art – very rarely got a response (4 unsolicited over a lifetime I think); so, I took it down.

    Since writers, artists, musicians and stage celebrities are gifted people whose ego feeds on appreciation and applause, I am willing to add my bit of fuel to the flame of their genius, not for their sakes alone, but so that they may be encouraged to give the world still more of themselves. If they write books that give me pleasure, for instance, I want them to write more books, so that I may continue to enjoy their art. All who make life enjoyable should be encouraged.
    – David Dunn (Try Giving Yourself Away)

    Further, I didn’t want to use David’s space to plug my own. However, since you both have asked, let us start small – if David does not mind – I will give you a way to contact me, and we can talk about whatever you wish – I enjoy talking to people.

    AMidKnight [at] aol [dot] com

    Have a good one you guys – looks a little cloudy.

    David, good luck man – seriously. Really diggin’ the “For The Love of Dayton” Site – maybe it should be in connections instead of politics though – seems more informative than political – just a thought. Tell Michael if he wants me to redesign it – I will – no strings attached.

    Peace.

    Josh

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  12. John Mitchel April 27, 2008 / 6:41 pm
    As bad as the sweetheart deal is(was) between the DDC and the Turner Effect, it pales in comparison with the money laudering from Greene County Commissioners to the DDC to the Greentree Group and then on to The PMA Group, all under the pretext that Greentree and PMA were essential players in supporting Wright Patt during the BRAC. If you follow the money at http://www.reformcongress.com (2007-2008 archives),you may agree that the only benefactors were Steve And Eileen Austria, Dave Hobson,and of course Nauseef and the Greenwood family. Greentree and PMA were both awarded unbid contracts and had absolutely no impact on Wright Patt’s success with the BRAC. Wright Patterson is a national treasure that never was and never will be in danger of closing or downsizing, and I believe it’s time the Dayton Development Coalition come forward and either show that they did have an impact or fess up to the fleeced Green County taxpayers.

    Mitch
    patriotpressohio.com

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  13. Jeff April 28, 2008 / 3:42 pm
    I’d like to know more about this Greentree connection.

    Theree is an apparent quid-pro-quo between a Mike Turner earmark for a research program they were working on, around the same time they made a massive donation to Turner’s Congressional campaign.

    This other angle is a new wrinkle.

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