International Man of Mystery: Adil Baguirov

His campaign literature was a bit over the top, and why he even needed any to run unopposed for Dayton School Board was a bit of a mystery. But when you take a closer look at Dr. Adil T. Baguirov he, not Austin Powers, is Dayton’s own international man of mystery.

Adil Baguirov and John Paul IIThe literature (which I saved but can’t find at the moment) had a photo of the young Turk with the pope and another with Joe Biden. Not your run of the mill school board candidate, but he was unopposed, had a PhD, and had the 300 required signatures. What could we do?

He came in dead last- of four (the write in didn’t stand a chance in hell).

One thing has been clear in his tenure on the Dayton Board of Education, he’s been THE mover and shaker. He pushed hard for the one-to-one computer program and the decision to cut ties with former Superintendent Lori Ward and Treasurer Craig Jones. He was the loudest voice convincing others that internal candidates for replacement would be giving someone who got us in our current mess a promotion, thus starting David Lawrence’s oust. Most would say current Superintendent Rhonda Corr was his hand picked protegee (or maybe more appropriately, partner in crime).

Since Corr has come on board, and while he was the President of the School Board, we’ve seen an insider deal to sell the Patterson Co-op site to the Port Authority (for a handoff to CareSource), an odd dismissal of a private developer’s offer on the Patterson Kennedy site near UD and MVH, a massive ruckus caused by a Reduction in Force driven by a supposed budget shortfall, and a push to spend $11 million to finance over 100 buses (with a full 10 year maintenance contract).

And the uncharacteristic silence and tacit approval from the board about Issue 9: a play by Nan Whaley and the city to jack up the income tax, in part, to fund a competing quasi-public pre-school system. There was so much money behind issue 9 and we still don’t know the half of it, since the PAC “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” hasn’t filed their post election report. Any half-wit journalist would start to wonder why, but since Dayton is sort of short on journalists, you’re stuck with me.

For those of you not into the whole “reading” thing, here’s the video to whet your appetite.

What did I do? Well, what any mediocre journalism student is told to do: “follow the money.”  What I find is a lot of smoking barrels which point to the personal enrichment of Dr. Baguirov as well as a spiderweb of shell corporations and business partners.

Sure, if we’d done our homework before he was elected, we’d have known this was coming, because Adil Baguirov is connected. Not just photos with the (previous-previous) Pope or Biden, either. It took months to put all the pieces together.

The Father: Dr. Togrul Bagirov

We found the following short bio in the “Worldwide Strategic Energy Final Draft Business Plan”

Dr. Togrul Bagirov is the Executive Vice President of Moscow International Petroleum Club (MIPC), a non-profit non-governmental specialized international organization. He is a Special Advisor to the Russian Prime Minister, the Russian Minister of Energy, Gazprom, LUKoil, and Transneft. In addition, Dr. Bagirov serves as a Deputy Chairman of the United Nations Forum on Energy Security.
Dr. Bagirov received a M.S. in International Relations, a Ph.D. in History from Moscow University (MGIMO), and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Institute of USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is an adjunct professor in energy security studies at MGIMO University. Dr. Bagirov also heads the public consultative center under the Russian Government for international projects in oil and gas.
Dr. Bagirov is a member of the World Economic Forum at Davos, a participant in Russia-U.S. and Russia-EC Energy Dialogues, and a Deputy Chairman on the Board of Trustees of the Russian-American Business Council.

And while all that sounds impressive, I’m not sure I can tell you much about Dr. B. senior. Other than, he’s done OK for himself.

Photo of Togrul Bagirov, Stephen Payne, Timur Kulibayev (son-in-law of the President of Kazakhstan & Chairman of the KazEnergy Association and VP of Samruk – the new state-owned holding company), and Adil Baguirov

Togrul Bagirov, Stephen Payne, Timur Kulibayev (son-in-law of the President of Kazakhstan & Chairman of the KazEnergy Association and VP of Samruk – the new state-owned holding company), and Adil Baguirov

The people he’s rubbing elbows with in this venture, Worldwide Strategic Energy, are a bit better known like the lobbyist Stephen P. Payne. In July 2008, Payne attracted international attention after being secretly videotaped discussing a $750,000 lobbying contract offering access to senior U.S. officials and suggesting a $250,000 donation to the future presidential library of U.S. president George W. Bush.

Dr. B. Sr. is also the chairman of the Baku Nobel Heritage fund, which describes itself as a “civil initiative to restore the Nobel brothers’ heritage in Azerbaijan.” Apparently, the Nobel family were the movers and shakers who developed Azerbaijan’s oil resources at the end of the 19th century. Introducing innovations like oil pipelines and steam-powered tankers to transform Baku into one of the world’s leading oil producers. This leads into one of the stranger Baguirov connections. Adil has a Wyoming Corp, “Nobel Brothers Pictures, LLC”, which is working to make a big-budget Hollywood movie called “The Big Game” about the history of the Baku oil industry.

Recall that another movie about the history of Baku oil industry starring world-known actors will be shot in Hollywood. The multi-million dollar film to be produced by the chairman of the Baku Nobel Heritage Fund Togrul Bagirov in the frame of the Nobel project will show the history of Baku oil through the eyes of the Nobel brothers.

The film will describe mutual relations in the Nobels-Rothschilds-Rockefellers triangle of the great powers and the global role played by the Baku oil. All this will be shown in the context of the Nobel oil empire’s prosperity and fall, the communist revolution in Russia and political compromises of the early 1920s. The film presumably will be called ‘The Big Game’ or ‘The Oil Wars’ and will underline that the Baku oil has always been in the focus of international attention, being “an award” which superpowers were endeavoring to gain.

Source: Azerbaijani movie shown in Italy

Dr. Baguirov Sr. with Dolph Lungren

Dr. Baguirov Sr. (fourth from Right) with Dolph Lungren (fourth from left)

And the “world-known actors”- ready for it?

The large-scale movie, which will be filming in Baku and the U.S., will be made with the use of innovative technologies.It is expected that the film will star Anthony Hopkins, Michael Douglas, Monica Bellucci, Antonio Banderas and Dolph Lundgren, Bagirov said.

Source: Hollywood to make film on Azerbaijani oil history featuring superstars | Dünya Times

He has been very valuable to Russian national interests, obviously, since Togrul was also awarded Russia’s Order of Badge of Honour, signed by Vladimir Putin.

The Son: Dr. Adil T. Baguirov

Adil was born in 1978, which makes him just eligible to be one of the Dayton Business Journal’s “40 under 40” this year. Don’t worry, even I was one of the 40 under 40, so you know it’s not that big of a deal.

However, Dr. B Jr. is kind of a big deal on paper. He went to the University of Southern California with a degree in International Relations and Business Administration, graduating in 1999. By 2002 he’d earned a Ph.D in Political Science from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

His father’s status opened doors, and he served as a “Special Advisor on Russia and the Former Soviet Union” to Congressman Curt Weldon sometime around 2003. This was while was also serving as an “Executive” for “Worldwide Strategic Energy” out of Houston, which is where we got a lot of the info on his father through a leaked “proprietary and confidential- Placement Memorandum.”

Don’t ask why, but it seems almost everyone that Adil comes in contact with has some sort of international controversy, usually connected with Russia:

In 2006 Weldon faced investigation by the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section for suspected unlawful ties to two Russian companies and two Serbian citizens, when in a filing with the Federal Election Commission Weldon’s campaign committee reported that it transferred $70,000 to the “Weldon Legal Expense Trust”.

Source: Curt Weldon – Wikipedia

Come 2009, he’s still in DC creating non-profits.

The co-founder of Karabakh Foundation, a 501(c)(3) in Washington D.C. with a mission statement to “preserve and disseminate the cultural heritage and traditions of Azerbaijan, the Caucasus area, and the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.”

And he’s also elected to the board of directors of the U.S. Azeris Network, an organization dedicated to coalescing the political power within the U.S. of Azerbaijani and Turkic diaspora communities. That’s a fancy way of saying lobby for the best interests of the legal immigrants, of which he is one.

Sevin Elekdag and Adil Baguirov in their wedding pix

Sevin Elekdag and Adil Baguirov  wedding pix

In 2013, just as he started showing up in Dayton, he married Sevin Elekdag in D.C.  She’s the daughter of Sukru Elekdag, the Turkish Ambassador to the United States from 1979-1989.

Check out the wedding announcement page in Turkish. She’s our own version of Melania Trump. We think the girl with the shoe addiction is Adil’s sister, who is an artist in NYC.

Adil in Dayton

This is where we start running into problems. As you may know, Adil has to file a few things as an elected official.

thumbnail of Baguira, Adil

The post campaign report

thumbnail of Baguirov Campaign Finance Report

The pre-election report

Our first document is his campaign finance reports, to which you really do have to laugh. He was running unopposed, yet still printed literature and bought signs, with his own money. Specifically, he spent about $2,200 (no contributors listed) on printing, signs, and $92.75 on online advertising.

He lists his address as 111 Cooper Place West downtown. And, while this is an OK place for a nice, young, newlywed couple, they still had a house outside DC that was quite a bit nicer. Bought 12/06/2004, for $552,000, 3920 Charles Av, Alexandria, VA, the 3 story townhouse was built in 1994. This property is notable in that it actually has his name attached, which we found to be a rarity. Since the property wasn’t in Ohio, he doesn’t have to list it on his ethics commission form.

Adil made history as the first Ahiska-Turkish American to be elected to public office when he was sworn in to the Dayton Board of Education in January of 2014.

Since his election, the School Board hasn’t quite been the same. They meet more often, and cause more consternation than any other school board in the region. There are deep divisions on the board, and the one member who seems to be at the center of almost anything that has controversy attached is Dr. B. But, considering who he’s worked for in the past, is it any wonder?

thumbnail of Adil Baguirov Ethics Statement 2015

Adil Baguirov Ethics Statement 2015

Cycling back to his listed home, 111 Cooper Place, it was bought by his undisclosed shell company, Metroplis LLC of Wyoming (the state, not the suburb in Cincinnati) just before the election, August 27, 2013. We know this because we looked at his Ohio Ethics Commission Financial Disclosure statement.

He lists no debtors, no creditors, and his only investment is in the Connor Group Fund. It’s also funny that he only lists ownership of two pieces of property:
1819 Troy St Dayton OH 45404, home of his trucking company, and 400 E. 5th St. Dayton Oh 45402. No residential properties at all. His income comes from:

  • Turbillion- which provides “Consulting”
  • Addison HHS- a “health care provider”
  • Dayton Board of Education- $5,229
  • American Power- Freight and Logistics.

Living with him is his spouse, Sevin Baguirov, and his two dependent children.

The businesses listed/offices/fiduciary relationships, add “Megapolis” and “Oregon Renaissance” which is 400 E. 5th St.

If asked what business he’s in, the standard answer is logistics. He owns “American Power LLC” which has offices on Troy Street. Interestingly, the last blog posts on their site are 2013… it seems once he got his $5000 a year job on School Board, the trucking company didn’t get the attention it once did. But, no worries, he’s got other ventures. Lots of them.

One that he’ll admit to is Addison Home Health Care [full disclosure, I did some work for his business partner Islom Shakhbandarov, printing some business cards, and working on a craptastic boxing event that was being done in a hurry] which has its offices in the Oregon District, above Salar. The building, formerly owned by shadow Mayor Dr. Mike E. Ervin, was originally owned by Oregon Renaissance LLC – a firm set up on 3/12/2008. On August 29, 2014 paperwork was filed to make Turbillion LLC a subsequent agent of Oregon Renaissance. Adil lists himself as a director in his 2015 ethics statement. What is the address of Turbillion? 111 Cooper Place of course. In the Ethics Statement, he’s listed as a director of Addison as well.

Businesses incorporated in Ohio by Adil Baguirov and his wife Sevin Baguirov

Businesses incorporated in Ohio by Adil Baguirov and his wife Sevin Baguirov

What’s more interesting is what’s missing from his disclosures. Two other medical firms, one in his name and one in Sevin’s. That’s a no-no. It’s why I contacted the Ohio Ethics Commission and asked them to investigate in the first place. Adil seemed, to me, the only one in the loop on both the CareSource sale of school-owned real estate and the denied sale to a private developer. He has companies doing business in the medical field, and both Premier Health and CareSource are the 800lb gorillas in the industry. This could be a conflict of interest, if Baguirov’s companies work with CareSource or Premier. Right after I brought up this conflict of interest in Millennial Medical LLC at the Dayton Board of Education Meeting on February 14th, he filed to “kill” the corporation. I was holding the knowledge of  “Montgomery Medical Holding LLC” as my hole card. Metropolis Holdings LLC lists 111 Cooper Place W. as its mailing address, and its business address is the Troy St. American Power offices.

Remember, the Cooper Place house was bought by Metroplis LLC of Wyoming, so we have at least 2 Metropolis branded companies.

The problem is, we’re pretty sure that Adil and Sevin don’t live at 111 Cooper Place W. A quick look at voter records finds two things. Sevin isn’t registered to vote in Ohio and Adil isn’t registered to vote at Cooper Place.

630 Maryland Ave Dayton

630 Maryland Ave

Adil is registered to vote at 630 Maryland Ave in Old North Dayton, a 1,300 square foot house bought for $10k by Ismat Shakhbandarov. Slight problem, I don’t know who is Ismat is. I do know that Islom Shakhbandarov is Adil’s business partner in Addison HHC. Don’t worry, Islom, who drives a Range Rover, is also registered to vote at this humble house.

If you think that Adil just crashes at 630 Maryland Ave home with his beautiful wife and two young children and Islom too, well, you’re about as gullible as the rest of the school board who has been buying Adil’s guidance hook, line and sinker.

4611 Charleston Ter NW, Washington, DC 20007

The Baguirov’s DC manse

Nope, I don’t think Adil lives in the school district. Sevin also may not live in Dayton, since we found a building permit (see page 54) in Adil’s name for 4611 Charleston Ter NW, Washington, DC 20007. When we look to find the owners name in the DC.gov Office of Tax and Revenue site, it’s Metropolis LLC. This is a house more befitting of the Baguirov family, bought for $1,560,000 on 12/02/2011. Check it out on Zillow. Sure, Sevin may still live here and Adil flies out every weekend. The more likely answer is, they’ve got a new mansion and it too is not in Dayton, but in the Vandalia Butler School district.

7077 Meeker Commons Ln belonging to Metropolis LLC

The Baguirov Mansion in the gated community

Once again, Metropolis LLC bought a home. This one has two addresses: 8 Meeker Place is on the tax record, bought Oct. 2nd of 2015 for $495,000. This beauty is 5,352 square feet, and you could safely and covertly park that Jag in the driveway, it’s a gated community. The Zillow address is 7077 Meeker Commons Lane Dayton OH 45414 and the house is described as 4 beds 7 baths 5,702 sq ft. It looks like a very nice house.

Why is this a problem for Adil? Well, one of the conditions of being on the Dayton Board of Education is that you actually have to reside in the school district. His kids aren’t old enough to be enrolled in school, and it’s a moot point, he’d probably send them to a private school.

Page 6 of the DBOE Manual:

Filling Vacancies
Vacancies in Board seats may occur as a result of many things including,
but not limited to: resignation, non-residence, removal from office or
death.

The question of residency gets a little muddled in Ohio, thanks to our very own Secretary of State Jon Husted. He had a vacant house in Kettering while he lived in Columbus, when he was a State Representative. I don’t want to get into the legal quicksand on this issue, but there is a major difference. Husted actually owned the house in Kettering and no one else lived there. Really, it’s not much different than Tony Hall living in DC all those years as our congressman, while keeping a small bachelor pad here in town. Again, the house was his.

Now, this would all be great and fine, except, if Adil lives in 111 Cooper Place, which he owns, why is he registered to vote at 630 Maryland which he doesn’t? Is that voter fraud when he and Islom went to vote for president last year? Or, does he live in the mansion outside the district, 7077 Meeker Commons Lane Dayton OH 45414? Well, that would have to be his residence if he decides to run for State Rep Mike Henne’s seat when it comes open. Word on the street is that’s his goal.

The question is, who enforces the rules when it comes to residency? I talked to the Board of Elections, the Ohio Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State’s office, the BOE again. I put a call into the prosecutor’s office and then told a few trusted people within the school district. No one knew who would be the ones to investigate and prove the residency. It requires a court order to put a tracking device on his car. Frankly, I don’t have time or the inclination to start tailing him all over town.

It’s time to investigate not only his residency and his legitimacy on the Board of Education, but take a deep look at possible conflicts of interest. His many holdings in companies could be enriched by his actions on the board (eg. bus purchases and vacant land sales).

In the past, I’ve called for an elected chief ethics officer position in each county to help wage integrity in office on behalf of citizens who always get the run around when they bring issues like this to light.

And as always, I have to sit and wait for the Dayton Daily News to do their normal theft of my story and not give credit. Then wait for the people in the statehouse to move, if they even care.

I’m sure that the athletes in Dayton Public Schools will suffer more from the in-depth investigation of Dunbar playing an academically ineligible player in a football game against Belmont, than what will happen to Dr. Adil Baguirov, because politicians policing politicians is the lunatics running the asylum.

With all the noise in Washington about connections to the Russian government and interference in our elections, this story of our very own International Man of Mystery surely won’t be discussed on the Sunday morning talk shows, but isn’t it nice to know that international intrigue can happen right here in Dayton?

Montgomery County Democratic Party ch-ch-changes…?

It was refreshing to see a whole bunch of fresh faces at the January 2017 Montgomery County Democratic Party meeting. Trumps been in office less than a week, and people are already seeing what happens when the system fails to stop stupid.

Welcome to the too little, too late club.

There are lots of new groups starting up- indivisible, the resistance, blue Ohio, the progressives, etc. etc. I did a “negative post” about the dangers of neophytes last week, and was the bad guy, for explaining that you can create all the groups you want, but, you won’t get on the ballot unless you work within the existing system.

The front of the flyer- the back has a lot more to say.

Click to download the PDF

So last night, I showed up with my pamphleteer of the revolution hat on. I had a nicely printed 5×7 card explaining what has to change. I sat through the laughable “executive meeting” which is now held on the too small stage, behind a screen, with an agenda that’s almost identical to the general agenda. And when it came time to vote to add new precinct captains to the roll, I asked “how many of them either work for elected officials, or are related” and almost got booed off the stage. “That’s not relevant” and “people who work in government are more likely to be involved” and “why.” As it turns out, only one of the 17 new appointees admitted to being related, which is great, compared to the rest of the central committee.  At the end of the exec meeting- I started handing out my propaganda. Some refused (Russ and Matt Joseph both turned it down). I went out to the general meeting area- and handed them out- saying “Welcome” to everyone as I passed out my flyer.

Some people came up to me immediately and thanked me. Others swung back around and said “I agree with …”

However, online today, I’m the bad guy. I’m arrogant, rude, my approach sucks, they don’t agree with my tactics- etc. Apparently, investing time and money in putting together a handout isn’t ok, and saying “welcome” is rude. Hissing and booing when I speak- is, just prim and proper.

Maybe that’s why the piece included “We need to talk about issues, not personalities” and ended with “Go ahead, shoot the messenger.”

The full PDF is available here. Friends And Family Are Great For Cell Phone Plans, But That’s Not How We DEMOCRATS Win Elections.

There was no discussion of issues, strategy, plans. There were requests to sign up for committees, there were requests to sign peoples petitions, there was the hat tip to the elected officials in attendance. The floor wasn’t asked for input. It’s the same old party.

However, there has been one change- they’ve hired a new executive director; Sarah Greathouse.  Sarah and her husband Erik have been political operators for a while. And for the first time- the party site actually lists who’s on the central committee, if they were appointed or elected, who are the ward leaders and who is appointed to the executive committee. There is no mention of who is on the “screening committee”- or if it’s still going to choose our candidates and endorse in primaries.

The executive committee also named Sarah to the Board of Elections to replace John Doll, giving them $20K a year to help compensate her.

Now that the party doesn’t have the dead weight of the old HQ to support, the treasury coffers should be in much better shape. With an executive director who actually understands the internet, we may start seeing effective fund raising and competent emails being sent out (the old way was to send pdf’s of bad flyers as attachments).

For all the newbie politically active- the goal of the party should be to elect democrats, and especially, start winning the offices at the State level that run the gerrymandering operation that’s known as the apportionment board (Governor, Secretary of State and Auditor) in 2018.

In the meantime, I’m giving Ms. Greathouse the benefit of the doubt, and will do whatever I can to help make the democratic party- a true democratic party.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.

And just remember, “Hindsight is 2020”

Ohio campaign finance and the A.D.A.

On Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 I made the journey to Columbus to throw myself at the mercy of the Ohio Elections Commission. The local Montgomery County Board of (S)Elections had turned me in for failure to file my 2014 annual campaign finance report. Only thing is, I didn’t run in 2014- or 2015, or collect more than $1000 either year.

But, that’s really just a moot point, since the whole system is really just a kangaroo court of fake transparency. Starting with this:

The Elections Commission holds regular meetings. The schedule of the Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting for 2016 is listed below. All meetings are held in the Riffe Center located at 77 South High Street, Columbus, OH 43215. Please contact the Commission staff for suite numbers for all meetings of the Elections Commission. As a scheduled agenda for a meeting is made available, Commission staff will do its best to post it below.

Source: Ohio Elections Commission

There isn’t a single agenda posted.

But, they were going to fine me $25 a day for every day I hadn’t filed- for both years, or some such. But, let’s talk about those filings, because I did. I recorded it for this blog- and to make a case for a lawsuit against Secretary of State Jon Husted for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the filing and recording of campaign finance reports across the state of Ohio.

Now, why is the ADA so important? And why is this is a farce?

Because if public documents aren’t ADA compliant- ie- machine readable- they are also not google friendly. This means, PDF documents, filled out on a computer are the minimal standard. But, wait, said one of the commission members- what if you don’t have a computer? Seriously? In 2016- if you don’t have a computer, you shouldn’t be:

a) running for office
b) asking for campaign contributions

Secondly, it seemed that I wasn’t the only scofflaw that was naughty. On the agenda, that wasn’t posted, there were 38 others from Montgomery County- out of 67 statewide.

That should tell you something. And, many of them- are sitting in office right now.

Our local board of (s)election would rather play “Gotcha” than help people run for office. They’d also prefer it if, frankly, you didn’t run- because we can pick everyone ourselves between the party chiefs without voters to make it difficult- but, uh- that’s another matter.

I found it odd that while they had no problem filing against me for my 2014 annual- the organization shilling issue 9 didn’t file at all this year- “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” weren’t in trouble- or being chastised. Why is that?

In reality, even if everyone files, all the stinking pre-election, post-election, bi-annual, annual, etc- with the board of (s)elections, there is still no easy way to quickly find or analyze any of it. You have to know what you are looking for because they are posted as scans of printed documents (sometimes handwritten) to the site  http://www.mcohio.org/government/county_agencies/board_of_elections/candidate_tools_election_issues/CF_Reports/

Where you have to know what year, what report, and then you can look down the list and download the non-ADA compliant report.

So when we hear that the Redflex traffic cam president is being hauled off to jail, for donating money to politicians to install her cameras with a nice split of ticket revenue, you’d have to go in and pull each and every politicians report, one-by-one, for days and weeks in order to find her name, or her  lobbyist ,John Raphael, donating to anyone.

Contrast that with the still pathetic, but workable Federal Elections Commission database (they have a new beta site that looks better) where you can search by donor, by candidate, by PAC and get reasonable data of all donors meeting the $250 threshold. Or, you can go over to use the more useful Open Secrets site that reformats and pivots the data so that it’s really useful.

To recap: The Ohio Secretary of State has crafted a whole bunch of reporting forms that make the IRS look like user experience design gods- with a slew of different, nonsensically named and numbered forms, that aren’t computer ready or database connected.

And, yes, I know there is a column called “Fillable PDF” but it really isn’t.

A true document designer would have a single PDF that walks you through questions, and lets the committee fill out each area that is needed, and the form does all the calculation and error checking. You’d fill out the candidates name once, his committee name once, his treasurer name once, and you would enter data in (or import it from a CSV file) for donors, or expenses, that would automatically fill in the fields, and step and repeat as needed until the document was complete- at which point you would click file- and it would electronically send the file to the BOE- and enter all the data into a searchable database. If this sounds like a website- it’s because, that’s really how it should be done- but, PDF’s were invented before the Internet as we now know it- and can do all of these functions also.

There is no need for 35 forms. Only insurance companies and Jon Husted could come up with something that insane for a basic accounting report.

Another problem is the idea of closing campaign committees to stop from having to file these stupid annual filings via document hell. Since the new post 9/11 banking rules took effect, the opening of campaign bank accounts, linking pay pal accounts and all the miscellaneous stuff behind a campaign is incredible difficult and a barrier to running. There should be a simple check box at the top of the site- “I didn’t run for office this year or receive more than $1000 in donations. I understand that if I receive more than $1000 or choose to run again, I will have to file a report of transactions for the years I didn’t run.” Simple. No one should care about these small money accounts being held open to pay for things like keeping a URL and website up.

And, if this is all built properly, the system would automatically send out emails letting you know that a filing deadline is coming up and that you should go see if you need to file. This isn’t rocket science. The fact that 38 people from Montgomery County missed their deadlines says something isn’t working.

Lastly, there are fines levied on people who don’t file. What difference does that make to someone who has raised tens of thousands or even millions? Not much. To the small campaigns- a lot. Is this really democratic? Or is it punitive? And, what about the sneaky PAC running issue 9? What do they care if they get fined- since they’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to pass their tax increase so public tax dollars can be doled out to private enterprises who are probably backing it?

How about this, if you don’t file, and you win, you lose and are banned from running for a year, or putting a similar issue back on the ballot instead of fines? If campaign finance is really about transparency and integrity, this makes more sense than the hand-slap, after the effort fine.

Of course, the OEC isn’t just taking care of finance reports, they are also the ones who go after people for having signs without the small disclaimer print, the mailings that go out at the last minute that slander people and throw elections etc.  All of which are window dressing on the system that is rigged for the 2 major parties to continue to have it their way or their way.

And while I don’t believe for one minute that our voting system is rigged the way the Donald claims it is, I do know the rules governing small campaigns are rigged to put as many obstacles in place as possible for free-thinkers to run.

If you’d like to hear my monologue to the OEC- here it is:

 

 

 

 

The Petty Party of Montgomery County

At 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, January 13, the executive committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party will meet to decide the fate of one of their long-time leaders.

Normally, yours truly wouldn’t be invited to this kind of meeting, but they don’t have a choice. I was duly elected precinct captain, and when the 5 precinct captains of the first ward met, 2 others who have been wronged by the party over time, graciously opted to vote for me, providing a 3-2 selection as the Ward leader and automatic inclusion on the Central Committee. Note- this doesn’t get me on the screening committee- which is only for those who either have sworn a blood oath, or been elected and are in control of patronage jobs which are handed out like candy to people they then use to fill in the open precinct seats- to make sure they control who runs for office.

The two who fell from grace- former county auditor, judge and mayoral candidate, A.J. Wagner, and current school board member Joe Lacey- who tried to run for state rep and wasn’t endorsed. The two who voted against me- Russ Joseph, brother of Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph and heir apparent to party chair, and current Dayton Clerk of Courts, Mark Owens, and Judge Daniel Geheres’ son.

Tomorrow night, the secret society is meeting in private to decide if they should put former Dayton Mayor, daughter of the all powerful C.J. McLin, State Senator Rhine McLin back on the Board of Elections- or should they find someone else to have the cushy job that pays $20K a year for two short meetings each month.

The Dems are mad at Rhine because she broke ranks and supported Wagner for mayor instead of her royal highness, Queen Nan.

Rhine sent all the central committee members a “Fellow Democrat” letter in December- asking for their support and stating her case.

For those of you who don’t know about the Board of [S]Elections – it’s an organization that is totally controlled by the two major parties- to run your elections. This is why third party candidates, independent candidates, and anyone who doesn’t kiss the party’s ass, runs a high risk of not making it to the ballot. Plus, it controls a bunch of patronage jobs- and grossly overpays the staff- especially the directors, one from each party. It gets a little confusing because the actual board is 2 Dems, 2 Republicans- yes- a virtual deadlock on every issue- that gets to hand over the deciding vote to Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican. The members of this board aren’t elected by the people, nor do they have oversight by the people- just Husted. That’s the way we like it in Ohio- ethics be damned.

Rhine has been in the seat for 2 years of a 3-year term- thanks to a deadlocked vote during the last presidential election, where Husted managed to get the 2 Dems, Dennis Lieberman (spouse of County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman and former party chair) and Tom Ritchie Sr.- regional director of AFSCME (a big public service union) kicked out of their jobs when they stood up to Husted on early voting hours.

The party picked Rhine and John Doll. Doll is a check-collecting, empty suit. McLin on the other hand threw herself into the job and is the only member who bothered to become a certified elections/registration administrator.

McLin is also a party legend. She’s currently vice chair of the Ohio Democratic Party (which isn’t quite as petty), vice-chair of the Mid-West Caucus of the Democratic National Committee, vice chair of the Mid-West Executive Committee of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, and the Mid-West Representative for the Black Caucus of the Democratic National Committee.

She also notes- “I have consistently donated to the Party.”

Face it- it’s pay to play on top of requiring a blood oath and major butt kissing.

Frankly, none of these people deserve to have anything to do with elections. Their idea of running people for office includes interviews that start out with the question “If we endorse someone else, will you drop out and work to get them elected” before petitions are even turned in.

I’ve run in 6 different counties- and no other county Democratic party endorses in primaries- that’s what the primary is for- for the voters of the party to decide whom they want to run for office- not 40 hand-selected members of the “Monarchy of Montgomery Party” to decide for them. They are patently undemocratic- and Rhine herself has benefited from this winnowing process for years. She’s as guilty as the rest of them- the only difference is while she was happy when Nan was her lap dog- when she was mayor- the moment Rhine lost to Gary Leitzel, she lost value to Nan, who along with Mark Owens and Karl Keith had taken over the party- kicking Lieberman to the curb. Now, Nan is a rabid dog, going after Rhine- her former mentor, out of spite- for Rhine recognizing that A.J. was the better man for the job than our monomaniacal mayoress. There are still deep divisions in the party- but, most are afraid to speak- for fear of losing their plum patronage job that either they- or their family members have thanks to their party loyalty.

This is the dirty secret of the Dayton Montgomery County Democratic Party. But, now you know.

And I’ll try to fill you in on what happens, despite me not really wanting to have anything to do with this disgustingly undemocratic process. In 2018, the party will once again elect new precinct captains- that’s when we may be able to organize, and re-populate the central committee with people who believe in democratic principles- instead of the self-anointed royal family we have now.

Board of Elections takes care of its own

Once you turn in petitions the rule is you are finished. No statement of your petitions’ validity is given until the actual board meets to certify. I’ve pointed out many times the agenda doesn’t provide any information – just a repeating worthless document- an outline of the structure of the meeting.

When I turned in petitions with 50 signatures that I collected for Congress- and signed the petition circulator statement AFTER I collected them in front of Steve Harsman (as you do with City Commission petitions) he ruled them invalid- kicked me off the ballot. Then when William Pace didn’t sign the agreement to run statement, if the signatures were valid- he was kicked off the ballot (despite someone calling him at 4 p.m. on the last day of the turn in- telling him to sign- and his faxed-in papers were ignored- plus the nominating committee- who was empowered by his petitions was also ignored). Basically- if they can find a reason to fail a non-party favorite candidate, they do. Either party.

But, when one of their own is about to fail- things change. Bryan Suddith, who used to work for the BOE and check petitions, turned in his petitions early marked “Kettering City Council”- the day they were due, he got a call that he was going to be turned in for election fraud because he didn’t put “Kettering City Council, Ward 4” on his otherwise valid petitions.

His anonymous caller told him to call the BOE and say an exact phrase- much like spies use to verify the identity of an undercover agent- like, “the sun shines nicely on the North side of the building today” to be responded to with, “flowers will grow, in the spring.”

This triggered an admission that his petitions were about to be kicked. He rushed down, withdrew his petitions, quickly gathered 100 more signatures (something the low number requirement makes possible) and was placed on the ballot.

District 3 council member Tony Klepacz will run unopposed after the board of elections invalidated petitions filed by Jan Kinner. Kinner had enough valid signatures from residents of the district. However, “no ward designation or number is listed with the council seat on (his) petition,” according to attorney Mary Montgomery with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. She advises the board of elections. Montgomery said it was in the board’s discretion to invalidate the petition. Montgomery County Board of Elections member Kay Wick pointed out “we don’t ask them specifically (for the district)” on the petitions.

However, when asked by other members, Board of Elections Deputy Director Steven Harsman said all other candidates did list the district number. Members also argued Kinner could have called the board of elections to learn the status of his petition.

Wick said she had heard of other candidates seeking the status of their petition and rectifying any issues by gathering signatures on a new petition with the district number. Board members John Doll, Gregory Gantt and Kay Wick voted to invalidate Kinner’s petitions. Member Rhine McLin abstained.

Current Kettering Vice Mayor Bruce Duke will face challengers Patricia Higgins and Bryan Suddith for the District 4 seat.

Source: Candidates for Nov. election set

Wick knew what happened. As to Kinner calling the BOE to learn the status of his petition- absolute HORSE SHIT. Unless you know the exact words to ask- the secret phrase, ZERO information will be given, not even what candidates will be discussed in the upcoming meeting. I’ve ASKED repeatedly for the classifications of valid and invalid petitions before, only to be told “come to the meeting.”

Special privilege was granted to Suddith. Kinner deserves to be on the ballot. And the BOE needs to be investigated and charged with racketeering and election fraud.

Also, petitions that have questionable language or unnecessary “gotchas” built in need to be evaluated and reformulated every time a candidate is kicked off the ballot for procedure. The failure rate is getting too high. Wick is correct “we don’t ask them specifically (for the district)” on the petitions.”

Dayton’s petitions ask for Ward and Precinct- yet they don’t require them to be filled in, and they are the only petitions that require notarization (other than Oakwood- which was supposedly going to remove this antiquated rule).

This kangaroo court needs to be investigated. Not by the Secretary of State, but by the Justice Department. Kudos to Rhine McLin for abstaining.

Fire the Montgomery County Board of Elections

This is not an agenda. This is an outline.

Agenda
Board Meeting
Tuesday, August 11, 2015, at 8:30 a.m.
Call the meeting to order
Motion to certify candidate petitions for the 2015 General Election
Motion on candidate petitions for the 2015 General Election that appear invalid
Motion to certify local option petitions for the 2015 General Election
Director’s comments
Deputy Director’s comments
Next meeting date is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25, 2015, at 8:30 a.m.
Motion to adjourn

An agenda would have the names of each candidate, and status. What local options they are discussing- you’d never know.

This is a joke. It’s a violation of the sunshine laws- it’s purposefully vague and misleading, and it wastes the time of the public. There is no excuse for this kind of blatant obfuscation of public business.

UPDATE

10 Aug 15- they’ve sent an “amendment” out- but only their twisted minds would call this an amendment- it’s a date change nothing more.
Agenda
Board Meeting
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 8:30 am
Call the meeting to order
Motion to certify candidate petitions for the 2015 General Election
Motion on candidate petitions for the 2015 General Election that appear invalid
Motion to certify local option petitions for the 2015 General Election
Director’s comments
Deputy Director’s comments
Next meeting date is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 8:30 am
Motion to adjourn

Still no details.

#FAIL

Dayton Charter review committee: second report

I went to what was to be the last official meeting of the Dayton Charter Review Committee. Former Mayor Richard Clay Dixon was nice enough to recognize me and allow me to participate- at least for a little bit, until the FOP rep decided to be a jerk.

Interestingly- the committee is only working on what it was told to work on by the commission. My questioning of changes needed in the petitions for Commission, with their high propensity for filing failure, were sort of ignored: “that wasn’t on the list.”

Although changes are coming that would make it possible for citizens to finally petition the government to change the charter or to force a vote on commission passed legislation. Currently, it takes 10% of REGISTERED voters to put an initiative on the ballot- which works out to somewhere around 10,000 signatures (Mayor Whaley only had 9,000 votes in the last election as a point of comparison). In the future- 2,500 votes will guarantee an opportunity to get an issue on the ballot.

On those petitions- they will no longer have the “Ward and Precinct” boxes which are on the current petitions- but are tacitly ignored by the Board of Elections- which is odd, because everything else on the form is ironclad required. I’m still not sure if they are going to require notarized signatures of signature gatherers- an absolutely meaningless step that only does one thing- guarantees that last-minute signatures are almost impossible to collect. Having a Notary witness a signature of a petition gatherer has zero relevance over the validity of any of the collected signatures- so what’s the point?

No mention of the elimination of the “Nominating committee” as well. This archaic idea makes zero sense- and was proved to mean nothing when William Pace turned in over 650 legitimate signatures on petitions- but wasn’t allowed on the ballot because he hadn’t signed a clause that he would accept the chance to run. If the nominating committee was “empowered” by the 500+ valid signatures- then they should have been able to pick any qualified candidate they like- regardless of if William had “accepted” the nomination. And besides, no nomination is valid until the “handwriting experts” at the Board of Elections certify a petition- so how can you accept something you aren’t qualified to run for yet?

Apparently- much of the committee’s time was spent arguing over protecting the hiring practices that are in place, with the FOP, IAFF and AFSCME reps all voting to delay the final work of the committee to the commission until they have another meeting- which is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, Aug. 4, at 3:30.

Generally, the meeting was run by former city Planning Director, Paul Woodie, the go to guy for anyone who wants anything done in Dayton. He left the city to work for Premier Health Network for quite a while- kicking off the changes in the Fairgrounds neighborhood – which is now becoming more UD housing despite promises by the city and MVH for it not to be.  Paul pushed off the discussion of the last issue that the Commission chartered them with investigating- the ability to create townships within the city- a bizarre request, which he claimed would require too much investigation into State law. I can just see it now- as South Park would petition to become a Township- eliminating the city income tax- and expanding our boundaries to include UD- since we already have MVH within our planning district. Another tax free haven… to pretend to be a part of our community like Washington, Miami, Harrison, Butler, etc., townships- where drama and mismanagement are the norm.

I’m posting PDF’s of the documents I picked up. I’m not sure what the city commission will do with these recommendations- or if they even have to abide by them. Our Charter is an antique that’s desperately in need of updating- but, there weren’t very many engaged people in the meeting I sat through- with one exception- one young lady who did want to know why the petitions weren’t part of the discussion (I circulated a proposed redesign of the current petition)  and she also caught a double negative that they were proposing as a change.

If the recommendations all make it to the ballot this fall, it may be possible for us to fix the petition process in the March primary once and for all. They are also setting a ten-year requirement for review- something that is currently missing.

Of course, no changes are being made to the current language for a recall- which requires 25% of the registered voters’ signatures- or 25,000 signatures. Nope, Mayor Nan and Crew likes their cushy safe jobs; too much to risk having to answer to the public.

Typically, the charter has only been revised when the commission has needed to change something like how bonds are handled or taxes raised to keep the city out of trouble. To proactively fix fundamental flaws is a rare occasion. We will see what makes it from this committee onto the ballot soon enough.

Who did you elect? Who you gonna call? Database 102 for Boards of Elections

On Friday, I was talking to Jan Kelly, the director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. about a form. Trying to figure out how to accurately fill it out- and the cold hard fact was, it requested information that was totally impossible for a voter, or even the person in charge of checking that form to know what the answer was. The correct way to fill this form out was to leave information required blank.

Bad form design aside, how to find the simplest information about who and what we elect, what the qualifications for each and every public office, term dates, forms required, processes to follow are all over the place online- making getting into elected office way more complicated than it has to be. While the axiom of running government like a business is a common crutch for clueless political wannabes, the reality is that even the way to buy elected office is such a convoluted process that if elected office were an online store, it wouldn’t make very many sales.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections has an online portal to tell you if you are registered and where to vote (it’s recently been fixed so that it will even allow those without a middle name to get their information, a flaw identified by this site a few weeks ago) it doesn’t have the ability to tell you all the people who represent you and their offices.

Who represents you?

We often see a little blurb at the end of newspaper articles about how to contact your congressman with their address and phone number, but, who represents you on the State Board of Elections, who is your coroner, your party precinct captain, your county engineer, your state Supreme Court justices? Good luck at finding all that information in one place, yet isn’t this the most fundamental part of a representative democracy?

One of the reasons we have so many elections is because we have so many offices to fill and we’re attempting not to overload and confuse the voters. It’s one of the reasons the big political parties hand out the official “Endorsed candidate slate list” because, frankly, it’s too hard for most voters to fathom who they should vote for in each election without one- especially when the ballot contains candidates like judges who don’t show their party affiliation on the ballot (at least this used to be the case, I’m not even sure of where this stands right now in Ohio).

I also often get calls asking what the qualifications are for office- not just where you have to live, your age, your experience, but what petitions, deadlines, etc., are required to run for U.S. Congress- you don’t actually have to live in the district you are planning to represent, nor do you have to be born in the U.S., but to run for president you have to be born in the U.S. and have to be at least 35. As to how many signatures are required- it depends on if you are running as a candidate of a major political party or not. All these details should be available to each and every voter. For instance, even though it’s not an elected position- you don’t have to be a lawyer or have gone to law school to be on the U.S. Supreme Court- although it’s very unlikely that Congress (a body made up of a lot of lawyers) would ever confirm a non-lawyer to the bench these days, although as recently as 1941 we had a high-school dropout appointed to the bench.

The last justice to be appointed who did not attend any law school was James F. Byrnes (1941-1942). He did not graduate from high school and taught himself law, passing the bar at the age of 23.

via- Supreme Court FAQ

It would seem to me that knowing who represents you, how to contact them, the requirements of the office and the forms to file should all be available to every voter, with a simple look-up of their address, just like they have for where you vote. This should be required by law, across the land, and every effort should be made to simplify and reduce the number of forms (see this page on the Ohio secretary of state’s office for the really long list of required forms: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/elections/electionsofficials/forms.aspx) My really rough count came up at 238 (not including the ones in Spanish).

The SOS site does have a page with a general description of what is voted on in the next election here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/elections/Voters/whatsontheballot/whatsOnBallot.aspx

There aren’t enough hours in the day, or dollars you could pay me to try to list all the offices from party precinct captains up to POTUS, but I’m pretty sure the list would overwhelm each and every one of you if it was readily accessible. If we want to see any real reduction of government, or better efficiencies via regionalism, this would be an amazing place to start- a simple look-up by address, of every person you are expected to elect, complete with requirements for office, terms, pay, duties and who currently sits in it.

For the closest example of anything remotely like an information page for running for office- see this page from Armstrong County, Pa.: http://www.co.armstrong.pa.us/departments/public-services/elections-votersregistration/running-for-public-office New York state also has a page: http://www.elections.ny.gov/RunningOffice.html

VoteSmart.org has a look-up list that’s semi-useful, but far from complete or up-to-date: http://votesmart.org/search?q=45410&cx=004674700904797117618%3Aiqzskagjgeo&cof=FORID%3A11#.UwnzGl6gaXQ (Gary Leitzell is still Mayor!). Common Cause has an even less complete version here: http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/advocacy/search.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4860375

What do you think?

Bad agendas, hidden agendas, worthless agendas- are all the Party agenda

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is in the basement of the County Administration Building. Basements are notorious as places where it’s damp, dark and mold grows. Slimey mold.

So, despite the claims that the BOE always meets now at 11 a.m. (when they claimed I misrepresented the time of the proper William Pace denial on the ballot meeting)- they are meeting this Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

And on the MC BOE 02.18.14 Agenda are these three innocuous items:

  • Motion to certify candidate petitions for the Primary Election
  • Motion on candidate’s petitions for the Primary Election that appear questionable
  • Motion on candidate’s petitions for the Primary Election that appear invalid

Notice how there is no list of who may be in trouble? What if the candidate wanted to know if he or she need to be there? To line up the people who signed the petition? Ah, screw you. Screw the sunshine laws. Let’s keep the public in the dark.

If you want a participatory democracy- you do it out in the open, with as much useful information as possible.

#FAIL Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Note, there should have been a document on the website the day petitions were closed, of every candidate who had filed. It didn’t show either. Here it is: MD BOE 2014 primary filed_1 Note- it was sent as a scan of a printout. I had to OCR it to make it accessible. Also missing is the list of Dems filing for Montgomery County Precinct Captains for the Democratic party.

UPDATE

update 4;45pm- the list of precinct captains. Only 5 contested precincts (including mine)  and a lot of empties. 2014 Democrat central committee all

Ah, if we were all mushrooms, we’d be worth millions- they like to keep us in the dark and feed us $h!t.

Database 101 for Board of Elections

In today’s Dayton Daily news, Mike Bock, publisher of www.DaytonOS.com, had a letter to the editor urging Dems to run for precinct captain seats. He also covered it in a few posts on his site:

I’m a precinct captain, elected to Dayton 1-D, but how do I know that? Well, funny you should ask.

I’m supposed to be able to go to this site and look up my voter status and polling location: http://www.mcohio.org/boe/voter_information/voter_reg_lookup.cfm

Unfortunately, the middle name field is required, and I can’t look myself up because I don’t have a middle name.

But, my parents who live across the street do have middle names. I can find my father, Stephen G, but when searching for my mother, Nina B, no such person.

What’s more interesting is according to the county site, they are in Dayton 1-E. I was elected to Dayton 1-D, and when calling the current director, Jan Kelly she confirmed those assignments.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. I have a database of all Dayton voters for my campaign- at www.electesrati.com and it has me in 1-D, but I also have a list of the entire county loaded at www.independentdayton.com and that list, downloaded from the Secretary of States site, http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/pls/voter/f?p=111:1 has me in Dayton 1-E and my parents in 1-F.

Stupid question, but isn’t that the core, most essential information maintained by election officials? Shouldn’t something as simple as what precinct you are in be correct?

Screen shot of Ohio Secretary of States voter data for David Esrati showing wrong precinct

The Secretary of State isn’t told the truth, how can you trust our elections officers?

You can look up my voter location by first searching my name at http://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/voterlookup.aspx however it’s a 2-step dance, then having to click on my name to see the polling location: which comes up with Dayton 1-E (see screen shot)

I’d show you mine from the county site, but, alas, I can’t see my registration there because I don’t have a middle name.

When I told Director Kelly about the problem with middle names, she said they’d work on it “if they got more complaints.”

Quite frankly, this Board of Elections can’t be trusted to maintain their own website in the first place. When I wrote the first post in this series, they still had election dates for 2013 posted and that was on Jan 12, 2014 (since updated).

Note, there are no tools for candidates to download the “correct” voter data file from Montgomery County on the county site. With a turn-in deadline of Tuesday for petitions, any questions of voting precinct should be ruled null and void at this point, since the data isn’t verifiable or accurate.

An investigation should also be started since this is probably typical of most county board of elections in the State of Ohio- which are run by un-elected political pogues in patronage positions instead of by qualified election professionals. Never mind the fact that in Montgomery County, they are handpicked by the parties- who engage in what amounts to racketeering- filling the lowly precinct captain positions with people who get paid by the politicians they select and elect through illegal closed door “screening committee” meetings.

The integrity of election data is, and should be, one of the most sacred duties of any public servant. Unfortunately, in Montgomery County, and by extension now the State of Ohio, we look like our elections are being run by amateurs.

There are five different “approved” voter database vendors in the State of Ohio. The question is why? The fact that there are discrepancies between the databases in this instance make one question the integrity of all. There are also difference in field naming, data contained within the fields, lacks of easily sourced data keys (for non-party people trying to utilize this data) and different data maintained by state and local boards. Examples including how election dates are maintained (Montgomery county uses a letter P, S, G and a date 140506 while the State uses the much less cryptic format 05/06/14). The County uses the most arcane, and technically inept way of indicating if someone voted early, absentee or at the polls- using a lower case or capital letter in the election field- something most databases can’t sort on (capitalization) instead of a separate searchable field.

I could go on to point out that I still have a real question of how when sending out postcards to people who requested an absentee ballot via mail, or voted early (can’t tell the difference thanks to their data format) I get returns of first class mail to those voters- saying “undeliverable” – yet they vote.

My confidence in the entire voter registration, Montgomery County Board of Elections, Ohio Secretary of state’s office is nil. I’m currently awaiting a call back from the SOS office, about my latest findings. If you need a visual, here it is:

 

Screenshots of same voter, from two different precints.

My father votes in the same place, but the precinct name changes