On July 1, 2022, while most of us were in a state of shock due to the Dobbs decision effectively banning abortion in all the Red states including ours, just before the holiday weekend, Judge Thomas Rose of the Southern District of Ohio slipped one by us.
Roshawn Winburn, the public employee caught accepting bags of cash from the FBI false front company “United Demolition” in exchange for a demolition contract, got sentenced after years of delays. What his penalty was will floor you, but, background first.
Literally involved in the setting up of a new company, to be called “Airborne Demolition” or something like that- with City Commissioner Joey Williams as a partner, along with FBI informant Mike Marshall and businessman Brian Higgins (the Airborne part) a Black veteran with a service connected disability, they were going to go after millions in public demolition contracts that had previously gone to Steve Rauch Inc.
(Full disclosure, Higgins and I are friends and fellow paratroopers. My firm, The Next Wave had done work for him starting in 2010. I sat through his entire trial)
Marshall had been Rauch’s job boss before the two parted ways. Rauch got a slap on the hand, despite the FBI having a surveillance operation going on former County Recorder Willis Blackshear who was the bag man according to the warrant that was unsealed weeks after I filed a FOIA case in Federal court asking for the tapes of Nan Whaley that were played to the Grand Jury.
I filed the FOIA case, not just because it would expose Nan Whaley as being pay to play, but, because the idea that City Commissioner Joey D Williams was caught accepting a bribe- a patio enclosure built by Mike Marshall, in exchange for getting demolition contracts. Williams was turned into a Confidential Human Source by the Feds– on 10/02/2015, and worked for them for 3 years while a sitting city commissioner. He was allowed to run for re-election, with a deal that if he won, he’d resign shortly after he was elected (which he did) a few months before his indictment on April 30, 2019 with Winburn, Higgins and disgraced former State Rep Clayton Luckie. That date was the same date that William’s youngest son graduated from High School- so he wouldn’t have to face his peers with the disgrace of his father.
Williams got sentenced to a year in prison plus fines for the price of the patio- around $40K. He spent all of 3 months in the pen before being released due to the pandemic. Luckie, who wasn’t involved in this scheme, but had “consulted” with other demolition companies served 4 months. Higgins, was sent to prison for 3 years. He was the only one that refused to plead guilty, and went to court. But, the trial never explained any of his connection to the demolition contracts- the feds carefully curated the evidence and only charged him for insurance fraud- a case that should have been a civil one between the insurance company and Higgins, with zero mention of how Higgins had connected their informant to Winburn and Williams.
Higgins appeal to Rose’s decision was just taken on by the University of Michigan Federal Appellate Litigation Clinic. This usually means the case has some significant legal issue at stake, but calls and emails to the clinic have gone unanswered.
Higgins is now in the Federal Prison transfer facility in Oklahoma City awaiting assignment to a prison. He was taken in cuffs out of the court on his sentencing date, May 25, 2022, after the jury found him guilty in January. He’s been held in the Montgomery County and then the Butler County Jail for the last 2+ months.
While Higgins case is on appeal, my case had been decided on administrative grounds by the fourth Federal Judge who got the case. I’ve filed an appeal to the Sixth Circuit, and am awaiting a response. Her arguments that administrative rules are hard and fast and that I shouldn’t be granted an exception, yet, she’d allowed me access to electronic filing via PACER- which is not allowed administratively. You can’t have it both ways while dodging the real question- which is, do the feds have the right to run “Manchurian Candidates” or is it election fraud?
Note: 29 Aug 2022- I filed an appended appeal due to the unprecedented release of the search warrant affidavit in the case of the former president.
And, onto the sentence for Roshawn Winburn, Mr. let me show you how RingCentral can make it look like you are answering a phone from your company, while you are at work for someone else…
90 days of limited house arrest-” the defendant shall be restricted to the residence everyday from 3 p.m. to 9 a.m. or as directed by the probation officer.” 50 hours of community service, 3 years of probation, and $8,500 in restitution. Judge Rose didn’t even bar him from public office or public employment, despite his willingness to defraud the public.
The Feds spent millions of dollars on this investigation, and in the end, concluded that only Black people commit crimes against the public, and that it’s worse to defraud a clueless insurance company than it is to steal from the public.
And, in one last note about the Sixth Circuit and appeals, and Federal crimes, the City of Centerville spent a ton more of Centervilles tax dollars on lawyers to ask the Sixth Circuit to reverse themselves on the Sgt Myers case.
It would seem that corruption can’t get a fair shake in court for anyone in this region. Maybe it’s time to refresh some Federal judges- no one seems to be happy with them these days.