The Wire: Dayton Edition

It’s been ten years since I binge watched “The Wire” television series. And like most things in Dayton, we’re about ten years behind the rest of the world as we get our own real world version unfolding in front of us. What made “The Wire” great was that it didn’t end each episode with a triumphant close- it just kept adding layers to a story of how sometimes it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad. In the end- they both have their own codes that they adhere to, with varying consequences.

Last Tuesday’s indictments were only the first 5 minutes of a show that ran for 5 seasons. I imagine that by the time this investigation of the “culture of corruption” ends, we’ll have just as many story lines and almost as many bodies.

There wasn’t any interest in the Dayton City Commission race prior to Tuesday’s “breaking news.” A term that applies to everything from car crashes to shopping mall stickups thanks to our low bar for local “journalism”. Thanks to the FBI and the DOJ the local news finally has a story handed to them worthy of actual coverage and now, they’re digging in for angles- without figuring out what’s really going on.

For that, you have to come here. To read some of the 2800+ posts I’ve assembled since 2005. And to go to my youtube channel and watch the videos. Not the ones of crazy school board meetings, but the ones that showcase the sheer audacity of our political class treating the public as rubes.

The last laugh is a long way off, but for the local news outlets to not connect the dots to what’s been happening all along is a sad sign of how bad “journalism” has become.

Start with the money. And the person with the most money spent in local races would be our Mayor, Nan Whaley, a mediocre UD student who has somehow managed to move herself through the ranks despite not being either smart or particularly charismatic. In her race vs AJ Wagner after Gary Leitzell failed to pass the runoff- she spent $450K to get a job that pays about a tenth of that. And when we looked at where the money came from- you have to go back to this post: Money may not buy happiness, but it might buy a politician  from August 1, 2009. As I said, ten years is a magic number. In that post I was asking why was a guy named Kit Cooper handing so much money over to McLin and Whaley. Number one rule for journalists- and for FBI agents, follow the money. Of course, since our campaign finance records are self-reported and then audited by party folks, a lot gets by if you are a party person.

I was expecting the big donations then, to have come from Steve Rauch, because he had been a big party supporter in the past, and because after years of incompetent leadership in Dayton, the only profitable growth game left for blue collar racketeering is cleaning up the mess the political class has created. As you may remember, it wasn’t that long ago that the Feds were raiding Rauch’s offices and unsanitary composting facility. But, we didn’t see Steve being lead off in handcuffs or a press conference to indict him.

What ties the four folks indicted on Tuesday together is a former employee of Steve, Mike Marshall. There isn’t a lot online about Mr. Marshall, but what I did find wasn’t very positive. Apparently he’s an Army Veteran and he started a company called “United Demolition” with offices in 130 W. Second Street- right next door to the Federal Building. He also had a company called “Drywall Wizard” that has a horrible online reputation. How this guy can make it through the hoops to get contracts as a reputable contractor is beyond belief. (I recently had to go through the process to recertify as a Certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business and had to supply everything from tax returns to copies of contracts and bank statements). Just a quick check of legal actions against Mr. Marshall should have set off warning bells. Of course, if anyone was actually watching out for the public money- instead of themselves.

Earlier this month, Dayton commissioners approved a $248,000 contract with United Demolition in Dayton to remove and dispose of the equivalent of 13 commercial buildings, or nearly 1.7 million square feet of commercial space.

Source: Commercial properties bog down blight fight | DAYTON June 15, 2016

He is the link between all four of the indicted folks and has been working as an informant for the feds. Wiretaps, payoffs, contracts, partnerships with minorities to get contracts. That he chose to team with disgraced former State Rep Clayton Luckie should tell you that he’s not that bright. That the Feds perp walked someone with as stellar reputation as Joey Williams says they have concrete, rock solid evidence to guarantee prison time… unless, he….. flips and decides to spill the beans on all the others who’ve been running this scam in Dayton for a long time. CJ McLin is long gone 6 feet under, but his daughter is still playing puppet for the party on the Board of Elections (a sweetheart job that pays $20K a year to go to 2 meetings a month) to keep her from spilling what she knows.

Watching the local party make her prostrate herself in front of everyone for her support of AJ over Nan a few years back was as humbled as I’ve ever seen her. That she wasn’t left to rot, says she knows where enough bodies are buried so as to still be allowed a scrape from the plate.

Nan on the other hand is probably searching for countries that won’t extradite her just in case people start talking. Unfortunately, Ecuador doesn’t have a local embassy for her to hide out in. The look of her face during her press conference should have told you everything you needed to know. I’m guessing there have been people burning through industrial strength paper shredders in multiple places in town including Citywide Development, the Commission office, and probably a few other contracting offices.

If you need to see other examples of minority contracting per demolition contracts run awry, look no further than this post: The Death of a Good Idea about how Kent Development got killed off by shady deals that probably came with bags of cash too.

Note, this blog also questioned past stories about Brian Higgins and his contracts, in this post: Purchasing directors as prosecutors?

But, in the end, as I’ve said before, there are lots of different games being run in Montgomery County that shouldn’t be. And just like “The Wire” had five seasons, with five different story lines, all intertwined, the Dayton version probably has the same.

 

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