Full disclosure: Brian Higgins was a client and became a good friend. I still try to be as fair and impartial as possible.
It was April 30, 2019, when Brian Higgins walked into the FBI office with binders full of documentation of how a registered sex offender got a contract to pick up the deceased in Chicago- only to be arrested as part of a “culture of corruption” probe in Dayton. So far the Feds have yet to prove their case against Higgins, dragging his name through the mud, while claiming that he was somehow a part of the conspiracy that was ruining our City.
If you’re confused about how dead body removal contacts in Chicago fit into this- it’s because Higgins used to have the contract to do it. He’s a licensed mortician. He didn’t do the pay to play game with Alderman Ed Burke in Chicago- so someone else got the contract- a registered sex offender. Why shouldn’t a convicted criminal come to pick up Grandpa? Because no one notices right away when Grandpa’s pills are gone- and his wallet- with ID – or his jewelry… but, that’s another story.
When the Feds announced that they’d arrested former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, as well as Roshawn Winburn and Clayton Luckie in a “major investigation” my first reaction- and question to Ben Glassman the US attorney was “are you only arresting Black men?” He looked like I’d killed his puppy- and struggled to respond. Afterall, white folks had lost $130M at Wright State- Wrongful leadership University- and despite a MILLION DOLLAR FINE- no one was charged with a crime for the H1B visa scandal, or the missing money. Of course- Wright State was long known as “White State” by the folks at Central State- which was the first state school in Greene County. Racisim is what gave us the only county with 2 State schools- and racism is what the FBI and the DOJ continued in their lame persecution of Higgins et al.
Between Williams and Winburn and the Fed’s criminal informant (oops- I meant, confidential informant) Mike Marshall of “United Demolition” total contracts and graft may have equaled about $200K when you thrown in Williams $28,000 patio that Marshall built for him. Higgins hadn’t pocketed a dime of public money- he was in trouble because he introduced Marshall to Williams and Winburn- and his insurance money for damage to his mansion from a leaking fish tank- probably financed Marshall to build Williams a patio.
The Feds had another announcement about 7 months later- where they fingered demolition kingpin Steve Rauch and former Trotwood Mayor Joyce Cameron and her husband for some minor contracting crimes. Rauch paid a fine. Cameron and her husband were sentenced today- a $1500 fine on one felony count of conspiracy to engage in mail fraud. No one has asked Rauch for the extra millions the city had to pay to finish his abandoned demolition of the Schwind and the old Dayton Daily News building. Somehow, he still ends up holding a crown jewel of Dayton- the old Cox HQ part of the Dayton Daily building- which he’s asking $900K for. Rauch has made tens of millions with demolition contracts from the City of Dayton- although this investigation only focused on his misuse of minority contracting set-asides. Rauch had used Green Star to meet minority contracting goals for nearly $4.7 million in city of Dayton demolition contracts between 2008 and 2016. The feds said Green Star won work as a subcontractor on at least 34 public contracts since 2008. Cameron’s husband seems to have been forgotten in the mix up. Obviously, for Steve Rauch- crime pays, but, then again- he’s white- just like most of the Wright State criminals- (Michael Bridges claims Asian ancestry, Nina Joshi is Indian as is Vishal Soin).
Luckie and Williams did about 3 months each in prison- despite Williams sentence being a year. Winburn isn’t reporting to prison until September (as if he’s a privileged class). And Higgins is still waiting for his apology.
The crazy part is Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is now running for Governor- calling Columbus politics corrupt- yet it takes 3 votes to grant a contract by the Dayton City Commission. Somehow, her part- and Jeff Mim’s part- and Matt Joseph’s part- and Chris Shaw’s part in giving contracts to United Demolition is totally overlooked. Or the money that freely flowed to Rauch. Somehow- none of them are being held responsible for the Ludlow catastrophe – nor is City manager Shelly Dickstein.
Yep- Brian Higgins is still public enemy number one.
Jailbird Joey Williams is now running a restaurant downtown, while Higgins is still fighting for his reputation. I won’t support William’s restaurant until he finishes his full sentence. I’m all for supporting x-cons, but, not those who got preferential treatment.
As for Higgins, the true restaurateur – (he gave us Sidebar and then Quincy’s Fish)- he’s still waiting for justice- and children in Chicago are still in danger.
And the feds- well, they need to come up with something better- if this is all they have to call it a “culture of corruption”- because so far- all they have is incompetence and impotence to show for their efforts.