Post this in the better late than never file.
Last November, there was a race for Montgomery County Judge of Municipal Court (FTC 1/2/2020) that was very close in a race that shouldn’t have happened. At least if anyone didn’t have amnesia and judges races weren’t so hands off.
Tamela Womack squared off against James D. Piergies and lost by 477 votes in a very low voter turnout election. Piergies had 7,268 or 51.70% and the newcomer Womack had 6,791 for 48.30% of the votes.
Judges party affiliation doesn’t appear on the ballot, and the Montgomery County Dem party and their union stooges backed Piergies. This must make folks wonder who knew Piergies history, where he tried to enter the race against Mary Wiseman back in 2008 and was told by everyone including the Bar Association to STFU and go away after saying “Wiseman should remove herself from cases involving gay rights, including those challenging Dayton’s new anti-discrimination law or the Ohio constitutional amendment banning gay marriage” DDN Jan 20, 2008, “Attorney calls for bar associations to take stand against remarks” The attorney who was raising hell about it on Wiseman’s behalf was Steve Dankof, now Judge Dankof, who Piergies claimed was violating the lawyers secret code- that you don’t raise ethics issues about another attorney in a public forum.
Wiseman’s response to Piergies was questioning if Thurgood Marshall should have recused himself from civil rights cases, to which Judge Dipshit responded “perhaps Marshall should have recused himself from such cases.” in an undated article “Challenger questions gay judges ethics” by Lynn Hulsey about the same time. After Piergies dropped out of the primary, Mary McCarty actually wrote something worth reading- extrapolating Piergies fine sense of judicial ethics that maybe divorced judges should rule on divorces, judges with kids shouldn’t rule in juvenile court cases and best of all, white heterosexuals should have to recuse themselves from cases of heterosexuals doing crimes (Arguing for the sake of Arguing, Mary McCarty Jan 24, 2008.)
This was in Wiseman’s first run, the one where it’s OK to challenge a judge according to the secret code of Montgomery county elections for judges. This is the deal that gives us judges for life once they get elected for the most part. Dick Skelton broke that rule when he ran against Judge McGee-Cromartie and won.
Wiseman had been appointed to fill retiring Judge John Kessler’s seat by then Governor Ted Strickland. She was claimed to be Ohio’s first openly gay judge. Piergies had applied but was passed over- and MCDP chair Mark Owens then said he strongly discouraged Piergies from running agains Wiseman. The following quote from the same article is priceless “It’s divisive for him, it’s divisive for the community and divisive for the party.” Piergies said “In terms of waiting your turn, I have”- as if he was somehow entitled to an automatic judgeship- the same way Darryl Fairchild thought if he waited his turn, the Party would serve him a seat on the Dayton City Commission. Because, that’s how the culture of corruption works in Dayton.
It’s almost entertaining to follow what happens next once Piergies actually gets in office, although since we don’t have a newspaper with real reporters anymore, you have to count on me to fill you in. But, let’s go back a bit to when AJ Wagner did his very ungraceful leaving of his judgeship so the very same Steve Dankof could get “his turn” in office. Dankof wants to put his own people into courthouse jobs, and Wagner wants to protect his patronage folks. AJ tries to un-resign, and there’s a big brew-ha-ha where eventually the backroom deals are done and every political symbiote gets taken care of. See this article from 2011 How the Monarchy of Montgomery County Works: The AJ Wagner Affair.
Piergies, gets into office and starts to remake it the way he wants. Part of which means finding a new job for his son, who he had Judge Hensley hire for him. He fires one of his magistrates, so he can hire his former law partner Jeff Slyman. There is some other hocus-pocus going on, but you’ll just have to wait for the lawsuits which will be coming. Apparently, one of the courts long-time employees was openly gay and Piergies the homophobe couldn’t have that and fired them.
How the Montgomery County Dem party, run by the very same Mark Owens, can stand by while this happens is bizarre. Of course, since they are all so busy with who’s turn it is that they forget actual ideals of the party is the critical issue that’s not talked about. Apparently, Piergies power in the party comes from longtime relationship with retired labor leader Wes Wells.
Piergies also wanted to arm his bailiffs with handguns. After a disastrous round of paintball practice, the attorney general’s office came to the court and said this was a bad idea. All the guns are in a safe in one of the courts now according to a source.
Most folks have no idea of who will make a good judge when they go to vote. Most voters can’t read a legal decision or a brief and even recognize the language. Basing your vote on the voters guide for this race, one seems to actually have a grasp on the biggest issue- the lack of web access to files. Of course, if we only had one county wide court system like Franklin County, this wouldn’t be an issue. The people who do know the most about judges are the ones who’ve had to stand trial in front of them and most of them still may not know exactly what’s going on.
Here’s a hint- if you do get a case in front of Piergies, claim you are gay, and that you don’t trust him to rule on your case. If you are black, suggest that since he’s not black, he can’t fairly rule on your case. And if you are a precinct captain in the Montgomery County Democratic Party kick yourself in the ass for letting the party endorse this piece of shit 2-bit punk of a lawyer to the bench. We deserve better.
There’s something stinky going on in the Montgomery County Municipal Court, and you read it here first. Sorry.
but, wait there’s more. 20 Jan 2020.
Turns out the gay baiting judge had a sweet relationship where he rented to one of his employees, who lived with his son. Piergies first hired his sons roommate, Ben Gainor, to work for him as a full-time service bailiff in New Lebanon. When Piergies hired Ben, Ben was Piergies renter. He lived in a house that Piergies owns. His son Rob Piergies lived there too. Nice deal, sort of like a kickback.
Rob Piergies had been fired from the Greene County Clerks office for poor attendance. James Piergies had Judge Hensley hire his son.
Then the roomies had a cat fight- over a girl. Gainor moved out- and then was fired by Judge Piergies.
But, it gets even better. Soon after the election, a staff member found evidence of some restitution payments made to a probation officer in Huber Heights. The payments were made with money orders, with a blank “pay to the order line” and what started as one payment missing- turned into thousands of dollars of undistributed restitution payments going back more than a year. The staff member reported it to the magistrate- that Piergies then fired. The probation officer is scrambling to cover up his felony thefts, while Piergies whistles dixie.
One other fun fact- when Piergies found out that Womack had dared to challenge him, he reached out to her boss- and threatened that if she didn’t fire Womak he would see to it that she had a challenger in her next election.
Piergies will age out of the courts at the end of this term. The real question is can we really afford to let this good ole boy keep up with his coverups and patronage abuses?
I’ll be turning this info over to the Office of Disciplinary Council of the Ohio Supreme Court tomorrow.