Thursday, September 08, 2011

BUTLER COUNTY: 3 Good Apples Update

Denise G. Callahan 
and Lauren Packput together a good lengthy article for the Journal-News on the debacle in Fairfield, so read it all here.  I want to take a few excerpts and expound on a few points...
A complaint filed by Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser with the Ohio Elections Commission outlines an elaborate arrangement in which Burer had friends and family donate their money to the Moms on a Mission political action committee during the 2009 election. Then Burer would reimburse their contributions.

According to the complaint, the contributions were later given to the campaigns of Ko, Dan Murray and Mark Morris, both who are current board members.
About $26,000 was given to the PAC through Burer’s employees and relatives. The organization gave Ko, who was a principal of Moms on a Mission, approximately $15,500 in cash and in-kind contributions, according to campaign finance reports. Her running mates, incumbents Murray and Morris — they dubbed themselves the “3 Good Apples” during the campaign — each received $5,355 worth of in-kind contributions, according to their campaign reports.
That campaign bugged me.  NEVER trust a group of people who claim to be "for the children" and "good apples" because they usually are hiding something.
“Tom Burer chose a candidate in targeting Engel for defeat,” Gmoser wrote in the complaint.

Burer Garage, LLC entered into a three-year contract with the Fairfield School District in June 2009 worth $1.5 million to provide vehicle maintenance. Further, Burer’s company was also to be paid $3,421 for each additional bus and $547 for additional road vehicles added to the fleet. The contract expires on Aug. 17, 2012.
I remember this contract being an issue during the campaign, but Engel was never really able to make the issue "sexy" enough for the 527 Media in this county to care. They care now...
Rubenstein said he doesn’t know why his client did not just make campaign contributions in his own name.
It is called "Pay to Play" and your client was smart enough to realize that if he did contribute directly, ethical questions regarding the contract would become a legitimate and serious issue going forward. He got caught. Let's not pretend he had no idea what he was doing.
The complaint states that Ko told FBI agents she knew the money was coming from Burer. It does not explain Murray’s and Morris’ involvement. Both could not be reached for comment and Ko has declined to answer questions.
They will answer questions eventually when they run for re-election. Or they will become irrelevant should they decide not to run again. Either way, these two need to go too, in my opinion.
In a letter to the editor printed in the Feb. 25, 2010 edition of the Fairfield Echo, Engel wrote, “The election was bought and paid for by the Moms on a Mission”

“The top contributor to the three tax and spenders (Morris, Ko and Murray) was the Moms on a Mission. Their finance report showed seven contributions that totaled $26,338.37. Five of the seven were contributions between $2,852.60 and $8,923.78. So, here is the $64,000 question, we should all be asking. Just what was it that motivated the top five contributors to spend thousands of dollars to support the candidates who all but promised to raise our taxes?” Engel wrote in the letter.
Apparently, the Mission these Moms were on was to raise our taxes and make sure that UTS got a contract renewal. Something to remember for next time...