This story started over a decade ago when the FBI and DOJ started investigating what would become known by their own naming as “the Culture of Corruption” in Dayton. You, me, and and every Daytonian who paid a modicum of attention to what passes for politics in Dayton has known that Dayton’s strictly pay-to-play, with the two political parties running the show the same way the mob does.
When the 10am press conference came on April 30, 2019, the Feds, along with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, made a big deal out of announcing the first indictments in “Operation Demolished Integrity.”
And here we are 4 years later, and the only integrity that’s demolished is their own.
On the morning when they indicted 4 Black men as the “first wave” of what were supposed to be many indictments, I asked the first question, making the AUSA look like I’d just shot his puppy.
“David Esrati, Esrati.com I find it interesting that this first round of indictments is all African American males. This culture of corruption in Dayton has been going on for a long time. We had Wright State where a hundred and thirty million dollars disappeared, and nobody was led off in cuffs. We have a school board member who committed voter fraud, broke laws, I reached out to offices, he received money from the Azerbaijani laundromat, nothing happened. Are you only prosecuting Black African American males? Because this this is the first indictment you’re putting people in handcuffs over $150,000 when we had 130 million dollars disappear at Wright State and no investigation has come close to this.
US District Attorney Glassman: We would ask you to take any complaints about any allegations you have of criminal wrongdoing to the FBI.
Me: I have taken them.”
Later in questions Glassman assures us, more indictments of people in City Hall will be coming. He’s a liar.
I would say that we’ve gotten multiple different people who were employees of the city of Dayton or former employees the city of Dayton elected officials or employees who according to the allegations of the indictment participated in corrupt schemes to defraud the citizens of good governmentSee later in above youtube video
He later indicted former Trotwood Mayor, Joyce Cameron and her husband. Again- all Black. Oh, and Steve Rauch, of the demolition company SRI, who walked off with a paltry $15K fine.
No other people in City Hall.
Over 2 years ago, I began a process of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for additional information on this travesty of an investigation.
I was working with 2 pieces of absolutely irrefutable information: I had the discovery from the Higgins case where former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams becomes a “CHS” or snitch for the rest of us (I was later sent a court order to destroy that documentation- but, it still lives online on this site). And, a friend of a friend served on the Grand Jury, and made an out of the blue comment about former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley when her name came up in conversation: “She’s dirty. I was on a grand jury, and they played us all of these recordings of her, and then they just stopped.”
For all of us who know our former Mayor and our current city manager, you didn’t need a wiretap or documents proving criminal activity on the afternoon of April 30th- their faces couldn’t hide their guilt. If it wasn’t for tornadoes, the KKK and the Oregon District massacre to distract folks, they may have self-destructed on their own.
Every step of my FOIA request the Feds have rebuffed and delayed. When I finally filed the required lawsuit in the Federal Court, Southern District of Ohio, three weeks later, a judge unsealed 2 warrants that had been involved in the same investigation.
“Specifically, RAUCH told CHS-4 he gave current City of Dayton Mayor NAN WHALEY $50,000 in cash, and has ways to get the cash to WHALEY that is not detectable. On another occasion, RAUCH told CHS-4 he is using BLACKSHEAR as a “go between” to WHALEY”Search warrant for 937-416-7953 (Phone of Former County Recorder Willis Blackshear) case 3:14 mj 272, pg 8
Next thing you know, 3 federal judges recuse themselves from my case. Finally, over a year later, a 4th out of Columbus, issues a ruling ignoring the entire legal argument, using a simple administrative ruling- that I’d failed to “perfect” one part of my 2 FOIA requests to the SAME AGENCY.
I appealed, the feds, delaying as much as possible, then drag things out and blow their own timeline. Today, I filed my final response to their response and we wait for the court. I want oral arguments, they do not.
My argument, is that by not immediately charging Williams with a felony for accepting a bribe in office- and then allowing him to run for re-election, despite him being a government snitch, was a felony. Yes- the FBI and the DOJ committed a Felony- but, it is bigger than just a run of the mill felony.
From the AUSA’s own mouth about Williams crimes:
Mr. Williams has committed a grave crime. As President Theodore Roosevelt warned over a century ago: “There can be no crime more serious than bribery. Other offenses violate one law while corruption strikes at the foundation of all laws.” Theodore Roosevelt, Third Annual Message to the Senate and House of Representatives (Dec. 7, 1903).sentencing memorandum, Case No.: 3:19CR78TMR
The second part of my argument is that by taking the crimes committed in office to a grand jury doesn’t place it behind some veil of secrecy.
I cited a decision by Ruth Bader Ginsburg from 1987 when she was on the DC Federal Court:
Noting that the D.C. Circuit has “never embraced a reading of Rule 6(e) so literal as to draw ‘a veil of secrecy … over all matters occurring in the world that happen to be investigated by a grand jury.”Senate of Puerto Rico v. U.S. Dept of Justice, 823 F.2d 574 (D.C. Cir. 1987)
If you are a public official, you can’t hide.
Unfortunately, the FBI and the DOJ, when they are trying to hide (like in this case) they try to twist a rule put in place to protect issues of national security to protect them from embarrassment. You’ve heard the line from movies “we can neither confirm or deny the existence of any records that comply with your request.”
It’s called the Glomar response, and comes from a case back in 1976 when a citizen wondering what was being built in an LA shipyard was. Global Marine (hence GloMar) owned by Howard Hughes, was building a top secret ship for the Navy to try to salvage a sunken Russian nuclear sub. His request was deemed too hot for public disclosure- and hence GloMar was born.
The use of Glomar in this case is comedic. The FBI claims by releasing the tapes we’ll somehow learn some of their super secret investigative techniques. You know like the ones where they file reports called FD-1023’s where they can’t even spell the names of the players correctly (including mine).
They also try to make an argument that criminals have a right to privacy- despite the fact that in Ohio, politicians aren’t allowed to meet in private to discuss public business.
The other argument I’m making, which I’ve been told doesn’t stand a chance in hell, is that the government’s refusal to compensate pro se filers for their time is a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. If I was a millionaire, and paid a lawyer to argue this case, the attorney can be reimbursed for all fees. Me, as a private citizen, despite spending countless hours toiling at the law, has absolutely zero reward other than the truth. Even whistleblowers can be compensated- yet, only if they work inside the beast. If you don’t think this is a whistle blower type case, remember, the FBI spent millions, for almost a decade- to come up empty handed.
Another part of my case is the racist nature of the Federal Court in the Southern District of Ohio. Not only are only Blacks charged in this investigation, but the jury pool post Covid has been questionable, with less than half the number of Black jurors being called- and none actually serving. This is another story for the Dayton Daily snooze to steal from my blog and not give credit, but I can’t play lawyer, and journalist and run a business all on my own. Trust me, the attached documents from the Brian Higgins appeal were very interesting to the appellate court last week. Higgins was a co-conspirator with Williams and Roshawn Winburn, who is the only one who went to trial. Higgins appeal was handled by the University of Michigan appellate legal clinic– because it had several significant questions of law at stake.
This case isn’t just about the tapes anymore, it’s about if we really do have the right to question, observe and double check what our government is doing. The use of the excuses the feds are using to not turn over these tapes, made of public officials, with public dollars, basically immolates the Freedom of Information Act.
Here’s the complete filing and the 3 attached documents, in case you want to read it. I promise, it doesn’t read like normal lawyer drivel.