Same disclosure as before:
Full disclosure: Joey Williams and I first met on the campaign trail when I was running for Mayor to unseat Richard Clay Dixon and he was running for school board. I consider Joey a friend. I’ve watched him get married, his kids grow up, and his career do exactly what he wanted to do. I’ve broken bread with him, and I’ve always gotten a call back.
Brian Higgins is one of my closest friends. He was there for me when my dad was dying, and also when my mother was passing. A trained mortician, he’s been an amazing steadying force for me through the last 3 years. I did work for him when he owned Sidebar and have done other work for him. Brian is a fellow veteran and paratrooper, and because of Dayton’s strange 1.2 degrees of separation rule, one of the first people I met in Dayton in 1983 was the man he calls his Dad, SGM John Powell, US Army Ret.
Corruption in Dayton is nothing new. John Patterson “invented” the City Manager form of government to attempt to bring professional management skills to government for a reason. The problem is that it doesn’t matter what kind of system you put in place, over time, without checks and balances and people of integrity, systems fail, and in Dayton, they’ve been failing for a long time.
The first hopes of uncovering the corruption came last April, when the FBI, Department of Justice and the State Attorney General held a press conference on a Tuesday morning, right before the primary and in front of the local media. They indicted four African American men as the first round of what they said would be many more, for public corruption. In reality, they only had three who were guilty of public corruption, the fourth, wasn’t ever even a candidate or a government employee (however he was a government contractor, but that wasn’t part of this indictment… yet).
So far, Clayton Luckie, who was already a convicted criminal who used his campaign money for his own benefit and done 3 years in the pen, has pleaded guilty and then asked Trump for a pardon. He’s accused of getting paid $2,000 and is going back to prison for a few months.
The big surprise was local bank president, Joey D. Williams who had served 2 terms on the Dayton Public School board before becoming a Dayton City Commissioner who had been elected to his fifth term. He’d been caught asking for a new enclosed patio on his house in return for helping some people get some city/government contracts.
Too bad for him, it was all on tape, and then, he did what most crooked politicians did, turned around a wore a wire too- so he could put off his public shaming until his youngest son graduated from Stivers. Hence the April 30 2019 announcement. The feds had told him he had to step down from his seat, and that’s why Darryl Fairchild is now a commissioner. Williams did that, just after getting re-elected in November of 2017, and fibbed to the public claiming his new job as President of Key Bank precluded him from serving (a lie) and the real question is did the FBI tell Key that they had crook in charge? He got to keep his day job for over a year after he’d been told to stop being a politician. Friday January 31st, after negotiating a deal he took a year in prison, 2 years of supervised release and that he owes $28,100 in restitution. For some reason, he’s not going to have to pay interest and isn’t being forced to sell any assets to pay it. He will make payments out of his prison wages.
“While incarcerated, if the defendant is working in a non-UNICOR or grade 5 UNICOR job, he shall pay $25.00 per quarter toward his restitution obligation. If working in a grade 1-4 UNICOR job, he shall pay 50% of his monthly pay toward the restitution obligation. Any change in this schedule shall be made only by order of this Court.
Within 60 days of the commencement of the term of supervised release, the probation officer shall recommend a payment schedule to the Court to satisfy any unpaid balance of restitution.”
He’ll also have to do: “The defendant shall perform 80 hours of community service with an agency approved in advance by the probation officer within 18 months of supervision.”
To explain his light treatment, more details will have to come out.
But, we’re still waiting to finally see some of the really corrupt folks in Dayton getting shiny steel bracelets and the public parade of shame. More on who it could or should be coming up if you stick with me.
The third corrupt clown in this posse is the son of a long-term Dem Party hack- Roland Winburn who had served as a state rep. Winburn was picked by the Montgomery County Democratic party oligarchy to be the new state rep in Ohio 40 over a smart young newcomer- an Army Lt. Col Vic Harris, because “it was Winburn’s turn.” Of course, since the local dems are as inept as the state dems, it wasn’t long before redistricting run by the republicans in the state house gave Roland the heave ho by gerrymandering the district in a way a dem couldn’t win.
The son, Roshawn Winburn, wasn’t a party insider, but had managed to get elected to a seat on the Huber Heights council- and then wrangle his way into a job in Dayton City hall via the Monarchy of Montgomery County. Of course, if you’ve followed my recent posts about Huber Heights, you’ll know they aren’t angels either.
Roshawn, pleaded guilty on Feb 11, 2020 for taking marked cash to help steer contracts to his conspirators in this little posse. Sentencing is scheduled for May 21. He’s just guilty of being born into a world where the “Friends and Family” plan make him think he’s special. The people who gave him a job- they are really the ones the FBI and the DOJ should be rounding up next, but, first we’ll have to explain how and who has been feasting on the carcass of Dayton since the Fifties- and getting away with it. At one time, this city was a manufacturing and inventing force in the world. Had the vultures not sunk their claws in, Dayton could have been Atlanta, but instead it’s looking more like post-industrial Detroit.
Dayton did well by World War II, becoming a key manufacturing center for the war effort. Mendelson’s building was churning out machine guns, NCR was working on decoding the German’s “unbreakable” code, and the Manhattan project was turning buildings on Ridgeway Ave in Oakwood and at the corner of Sears and E. Third into polonium polluted superfund sites. After the war, the men returned and went to work making everything from cash registers to refrigerators and Dayton was booming. The “All American Committee” had a private club and picked the City Commissioners and all was well. They were careful to rotate from D to R each cycle, so as to look fair, but the commission did what they were told.
In the sixties, we took a bad hit for being such a racially divided city, and the riots did a number on good parts of the city. Tensions stayed high, and the implementation of school busing in the early seventies gave rise to the suburbs. It’s around this time that demolition tied to “urban renewal” started to be big business. Arthur Beerman of Elder-Beerman fame, insisted that there be no retail near the new Sinclair campus- so it wouldn’t interfere with his department store. Beerman later had an inside source on the path of I-675 and so he bought up real estate cheap and early and made a killing when it was bought by the state.
He wasn’t the only one doing deals to beat highway construction, CJ McLin and his daughter Rhine McLin used the same strategy for the construction of 35 W which, in an almost sick joke, is named after him.
The early 80’s weren’t good for Dayton. NCR was shrinking as they were getting their asses handed to them on a plate by cheap Japanese electronic cash registers. Demolishing those old buildings showed some people that there was good money in knocking things down- and maybe even a better opportunity than building things up.
Mead, Standard Register, Reynolds and Reynolds all were struggling with the coming digital economy and betting on the wrong things. Mead spun off its crown jewel Mead Data Central, which would become Lexis/Nexis- but local leaders haven’t admitted yet that most of their IT talent has moved now and is in the North Carolina Research Triangle. NCR did the same with Teradata- which also closed up shop locally last year. From the sixties to the eighties and even into the nineties, Montgomery County kept adding jurisdictions and elected offices and creating more and more opportunities for the political class to find jobs for their friends. The newest “city” is Clayton, and Riverside is another recently manufactured municipality. While Uni-gov has proven successful in Indianapolis, Columbus, Louisville, we’ve gone in the opposite direction- making sure our political overhead makes us the most taxed county in the State. Look at the growth of Beavercreek since the eighties- and realize that even they are now looking to add an income tax to cover costs of running their banana republic.
Urban tax havens like Harrison, Butler, Bath, Beavercreek, Miami, Washington townships are supposedly unable to levy an income tax, yet, the bizarre tax on retail workers at Austin Landing seems to go without outrage as the servers at BJ’s Taphouse and the clerks at Kroger pay a 2% income tax while the lawyers at Thompson Hine, the 3D wizards at Marxtent etc who work in “white collar” jobs don’t pay any. Just another example of how things work in this corrupt little ecosystem that now allows for tax dollars to go to a private pre-school only school board, with no voter oversight- to compete directly with Dayton Public Schools.
The amount of overhead for all these governments, quasi-governments, and jurisdictions is hard to pin down, but, when Reconstructing Dayton did a survey of just city managers, the numbers in some communities were just gross. The poor folks in Moraine, all 6000 of them, are taxed $23 a head per year- just to pay for a City Manager. For that kind of money, he should at least come out and shovel your walk once.
Right after the indictments, we had tornadoes, a water system failure, a mass shooting, a cop getting shot. Some thought the FBI and the DOJ were done. That they’d decided Dayton had had enough punishment. Nan Whaley and Shelly Dickstein, the leaders of the Culture of Corruption went from looking like deer in the headlights and on Prozac to back to confidence as one disaster after another threw the spotlight their way. Others have guessed that they were cutting deals too- and wearing wires to try to get the Joey treatment. We had a brief glimmer of hope when in December the FBI and the DOJ told us they’d also rounded up two more African Americans, the former mayor of Trotwood, Joyce Cameron, and her 80-year old husband. They also named the demolition king, Steve Rauch, as the first white person indicted- in what they now were calling “Operation demolished integrity” and making us think they still had more folks lined up for charges. Rauch had just beat an EPA case, and has the money to defend himself for years. Needless to say, none of these folks, other than Rauch, were major players.
So far, Williams is the only one who has suffered at all, losing his credibility in banking, and his fat paycheck as a bank president.
The last “conspirator” in the gang that couldn’t shoot straight is Brian Higgins. Higgins had hired a fellow army veteran as a contractor to help fix his home after a fish tank had leaked. The contractor, used to be Rauch’s right-hand man, and had two companies, Drywall Wizard and United Demolition. Neither of stellar repute. Mike Marshall had been a confidential informant for the feds for years. He’s not real smart either, because he’s told people he’s a CI, people I know, people who a smart CI would never have told.
So, Higgins introduces Marshall to Roshawn and Williams, to try to get government contracts for demolition. Using Higgins status as a disabled veteran and Winburn’s position in the city minority contracting office, they were going to try to set up another firm, but trying to bond Higgins was impossible. Roshawn wasn’t going to be on the papers/official, but he was the one who was the technology wizard- “just put my RingCentral app on your phone, then you can answer the new business on your existing line” was his brilliant business advice contribution.
Marshall slips Winburn an envelope with 5 crisp hundred dollar bills- and asks “is that enough respect for you for this go round” and Winburn says “yeah we’re good.”
Winburn had thrown one of the confidential human sources a bone- work on library demolition contracts, showing how far reaching the payola spreads among the many quasi-governmental shell organizations in Dayton in addition to the obvious ones like CityWide, The Downtown Dayton Partnership and the Dayton Development Coalition.
Literally, these folks are thinking they are starting a multi-million dollar business, but the payola that’s being dangled is less than a two-week paycheck working at Chipotle.
The posse had no relevant past performance without the participation of Marshall- the white dude, and his company had either burned all its bridges with the city for half-assed performance, or by pissing off the king, Rauch. Trying to get a contract, any contract, they stumbled into a demolition job for Joey’s church on Hoover- Wayman A.M.E. The Director of the Human Relations Council was looking for a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE firm) to bid and asked Winburn to come up with names This was in Feb of 2015 and Katie Crosby was at the helm. Apparently, the church wanted to tear down a house to expand its parking lot. Joey was going to help- but, none of it mattered because Roshawn was dreaming if he thought he had any juice, and Joey couldn’t help because it wasn’t a city contract.
At one point, Roshawn is frustrated that his new friends aren’t winning bids even though they are the low bidder, and Winburn is blaming Sheila Moyer’s department in City Hall for killing their bids. He wants to know from City Manager Dickstein what the policy is on debriefs and how the city goes about choosing who they want despite the low bid. This of course is not the way it’s supposed to work, but, in Dayton it’s standard operating procedure.
Roshawn had another veteran, George Hamilton, of “G. Hamilton, LLC Demolition Co.” trying the same thing- but, with the same catch 22 that protects the big bosses like Rauch, you need past performance to bid, and you can’t get a job without past performance.
The crazy thing about all this- being a service-disabled veteran owned business isn’t recognized by the City of Dayton, just woman owned, minority owned. I know, because I am a VA certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business, and it doesn’t make a bit of difference on city or state bids.
Williams knows this- and suggests they can get contracts at the base, but on anything they got with the city he would abstain. Of course, this is the part that’s missing – the way you get base contracts in this city is to kiss the ring of the Dayton Development Coalition- an organization that should be totally disbanded after a few more of its finest get defrocked. If you need a primer on this org, look back through this site and realize that the fall of Wright State is directly connected to the coalitions pied pipers.
The reality of Dayton is there are two businesses that are successful- graft and demolition. It’s because of the graft, we have a lot of things to tear down, because that makes the grifters wealthy- and we’ve mastered the art of tax transfer from the poor to the rich. Barely a day goes by when the taxpayers aren’t bailing out the people who pay the vig in terms of either donating to political campaigns, direct payoffs to them, or voting to increase their own taxes.
Need an example, the owners of the old Beaver Power building at 4th and St. Clair got a windfall:
The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority awarded $1.75 million to St. Clair Lofts in downtown Dayton…
The $1.75 million in bond financing will allow Lindy-Zell Dayton Lofts LLC to install new energy-efficient windows for St. Clair Lofts, located at 35 S. St. Clair St. in downtown Dayton. The original, single-pane windows will be replaced with more modern, energy-efficient windows as part of the project, which involves the development of 108 apartments and retail space in the 110-year-old building.
This is how things work in Dayton. But what started the FBI investigation? Probably the demolition of the perfectly solid Schwind and Dayton Daily News buildings- to create the hole in the ground one block south of city hall- graft central.
This cockamamie gift to their friend and benefactor Steve Rauch was also a hat tip to Sinclair Community College and Dr. Steve Johnson, who were prohibited by state law to build student housing- and probably under the same moratorium on real estate for higher ed imposed by the state which also gave birth to Double Bowler Enterprises at Wright State that was involved in the acquisition of the old Wright Patt Credit Union HQ for which WSU had no public use- other than to grease the palms of WPCU CEO Doug Fecher who became a WSU trustee before the ink was dry on the deal, and Bob Mills- a big donor to WSU that wanted to unload his old CSC building to WPCU. This was the scam where former Congressman Steve Austria got paid $9K a month for doing nothing. Note- Luckie is going to prison for $2K, but Luckie is black and Austria is, well, not black.
In the Ludlow street deal the city committed several million to give to Student Suites LLC to tear the buildings down and build student housing on the site. No one from Student Suites was heard from ever again. Rauch had the demolition contract- and tore stuff down, but left a hole in the ground, where the city then had to pay another demo company to finish the job- and Rauch somehow ended up with the old Cox HQ part- which he is trying to sell for around a million. A side note- Rauch hires the darlings who used to work for me to video the implosion- probably on the advice of someone from the city or the Downtown Dayton Partnership. They also won the bid to brand the bike share program that I introduced to the city- without the bids being made public. They got their first office with tax support- via the “pop-up shop” program run by the DDP- who take the tax dollars from the downtown businesses that are a part of the SID (Special Improvement District) and then redistribute it back to the property owners so as to make it like they are doing something. The “CEO” – a former city suck up, Sandy Gudorf has a staff of about a dozen- and pays herself north of $200K. The city manager, Shelly Dickstein, who has a staff exceeding 1000 and a much bigger budget- doesn’t make that much.
The Schwind had a few people who were trying to develop it- both who were lied to by the other quasi-governmental slush fund, CityWide Development, which screwed both Bill Rain (full disclosure- another friend and client) and Mr. Bob Schiffler, who apparently didn’t want to keep paying the vig so he got the screws applied, getting his notes called when PNC bought National City. That no one from CityWide has been indicted yet is a travesty. I’m guessing it’s coming in the big roundup. Williams claimed he had no power over citywide and played dumb in initial interviews, but undoubtedly as the Feds kept digging, CityWide was and is still one of the channels of the river of graft.
The issue of plausible deniability, of insulating one agency from another is how the local cappos think they can get away with contract steering at will.
Reality is, those in power will do anything it takes to stay in power. Others who want to eat at the trough, are forced to continue to fund the re-election campaigns of those in power and any other cockamamie scheme they come up with, like Issue 9 where Dayton voters were asked to raise their own income tax in exchange for creating yet another slush fund, the “Preschool Promise” which competes directly with DPS to provide services.
The donors to that campaign, many who live and work outside the city, know that when it comes time to get access to government contracts, they had to pay to play, and they paid their vigs accordingly. Look at the donor list- and realize it’s all city vendors or employees, or large “non-profits” that depend on sweetheart deals to keep themselves on the right side of tax breaks and favorable deals, like Premier and UD getting the Fairgrounds for about half of what anyone else would have to pay.
The FBI and the DOJ don’t have to tell you anything about what they have in the works. They claim they are up against the “statute of limitations” on prosecuting folks like Nan Whaley who once took $5K from Kitt Cooper, owner of the Vance Road Landfill, as a campaign donation, yet, totally refuse to acknowledge that Nan is still steering HUD money to projects in the city, based on who has kissed her ring. Lately, a misanthrope has been sending an anonymous email out as “Concerned Daytonian [email protected]” disparaging the Windsor Group which is leading the “Fireblocks” project. And while they cite cases and claims, the reality is, all the beefs “concerned” has don’t outweigh the key metric in this city which is how much money did the griping “concerned citizen” donate to the Monarchy, vs how much did someone else promise? I’m guessing the concerned citizen has the initials GD, and owns a construction company that got squeezed out of the Fireblocks early.
Last week, I wrote a story about Huber Heights Councilman Seth Morgan not fulfilling the residency requirements which caused his resignation the next day. Also contained in that story were emails of how Morgan was giving a developer, Eric Joo advise on how to engineer a deal with the city for over $3M via his personal email. An example of felony election tampering in the story was also ignored by the press and the prosecutor, yet the Dayton Daily claims that they were the driving force in Morgan’s resignation. I’ll have more information on this in later posts.
The Dayton Daily is now in possession of some of the feds materials about the raid on Williams home, and will be releasing a story about what happened.
I’ll be releasing a story about an actual contract steer by a County employee, where the county is refusing or is unable to produce any kind of documentation to justify over $220,000 being spent in a month with a single firm, without any kind of RFP, or contract documents.
It’s long past time for the feds to start indicting wholesale, but, until they do the big roundup, you’re left with a one man investigative team, the Esrati report.
And while the Mayor is off accepting awards from the Restaurant Association and giving a State of the City address that focuses on all the things that happened to us in 2019, she’s left out the carnage that her and her crew of corruption has waged on this city for decades. Maybe I need to eat out more?