Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ohio News Follows Me Wherever I Go

It's not like blogging and the attendant news obsession were things I was trying to get away from in going on vacation. Which is fortunate because it hasn't happened. Forget keeping up with my RSS reader. All I have to do is turn on the TV or read the complimentary copy of USA Today to have Ohio on the mind. And going through my email? Googlymoogly.

The most obvious bit of Ohio news that has followed me here is the ongoing and sure to end badly saga of Jesse Davis. The nation's latest obsession with a missing woman is focused on North Canton, Ohio. Walking through the hotel lobby tonight, none other than True Crime Paperback Made Flesh Nancy Grace was flogging the story. BTW, if you care about the story more than I do, the Beacon's interview with a local profiler is probably the best place to go for factoids not covered everywhere else.

Up to that point, I had managed to more or less avoid direct exposure to the story. Happily, while the cable nets can't stop talking about it, the papers have other matters to deal with. Like Ohio's gay marriage ban. USA Today runs three stories on the effect that anti-gay marriage amendments are having on real people. The cover story gives a general round up of states' efforts to cut same-sex domestic partners from receiving benefits when one partner works for the state.

The other two stories include discussion of Ohio's ban. Ohio Rep. Tom Brinkman is suing Miami University to prevent it from providing benefits to same-sex domestic partners. Making life difficult for your constituents simply because you don't like them is a part of the job of state representative I was previously unaware of. And a third story highlights the ongoing court battle about whether the gay marriage amendment creates a loophole that excuses defendents accused for abusing unmarried intimate partners of whatever gender.

Last week I got email inquiries from Politico about the strange YouTube campaign against a Stark County Commissioner. I wasn't able to help much, but the story is now up. A figure as obscure as Commissioner Todd Bosley has found himself on the national radar screen partly because the volume of attacks from an anonymous critic -- over 100 videos posted by reporter Ben Smith's count. But the story is also a story because the poster(s) bait-and-switched some videos, making them look like responses to the Obama/Mac/1984 ad. One commenter to the story called "BosleySupporter" goes on a breathless rant taking three screens worth of space without a paragraph break. Once a baiter always a switcher, apparently.

Also in my inbox FreePress likes Bill Callahan's essay on the impending success of S.B. 117. So do I, for that matter. I thought that having a post selected by FreePress was quite an honor until it happened to me at which time, well it can't be that big a deal. Nonetheless, Bill's piece is a must read.

Finally, my SiteMeter tells me that Julio Pino is in play again. Sure enough Mike Adams, Pino's own personal Inspector Javert, has a new piece up on TownHall. The impetus, aside from the fact that it pulls in readers, is a letter to the editor Pino apparently wrote to an "Akron Paper." Adams doesn't actually link to the letter as he uses it to rip Pino apart, instead he embeds Pino's KSU address every time he mentions Pino's name. The title of Least Classy Guy on Townhall isn't easy to come by but Adams makes a strong case for himself.

I'm no Pino fan, but if you are going to criticize someone's writing and that writing is on the web, link to it. As it is, I can't find it anywhere and have to trust that Adams is accurately representing it. Trust a guy who has said that Pino should be taken outside U.S. Territory and tortured. And setting someone up to get spammed like that is simply dickheaded. With any cosmic justice, Pino and Adams will find themselves roomies in their Sartesian hell.

I've been spending most of my free time catching up on recreational reading and watching the changes here on the island. Lord knows what I would be hearing about Ohio if I was actually paying attention.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment. I agree, although I sent Sherrod Brown a steaming comment after the vote. I knew it was a necessary vote, but what a screwed up country that that was a necessary vote to get elected. I'm glad Brown admitted the inevitable that he actually believed in, but I am sorry that he had to vote that way originally.

Anonymous said...

Todd Bosley's the kind of guy who, with his brother Toby facing a brain tumor, goes on national TV in May 2004 to highlight his work on behalf of a cancer research fund, and then weeks later shamelessly scams the charity and pockets over $180,000 for his own personal benefit.

Indeed, over more than a decade, there's a substantial body of evidence that proves Todd Bosley's pattern of dishonesty, deception, and outright fraud in his private dealings. Such repeated questionable behavior, of course, often serves as a pretty good indicator of how one would conduct themselves as a public official
(e.g. Traficant, James; Ney, Robert).

People such as recently-elected Stark County Commissioner Todd Bosley -- and congressmen-turned-convicts Traficant and Ney -- thrive when they avoid scrutiny and are not held accountable.

For example, how could candidate Todd Bosley promise Stark County voters in 2006 that he'd bring 5,000 new 'good' manufacturing jobs to Stark County to replace those jobs lost to unfair foreign competition? Located just south of Akron, Stark County is Ohio's 10th largest county (Canton is its base), and has lost perhaps more manufacturing jobs per capita than an other area in the state.

But in making such a promise was Bosley too stupid to not realize his own hypocrisy as the owner of two large million-dollar imported goods companies, Ohio Discount Merchandise and Ohio Trading Inc., which import and distribute a wide array of Chinese-made
products such as collectibles, billiard tables, office and residential furniture, nutritional supplements, concert and sports banners, and holiday ornaments?

Did Bosley not realize that tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs in Stark County were lost to cheap Chinese imports that are the foundation of his two million-dollar companies?

Either Bosley thinks the voters of Stark County are too stupid to realize his blatant hypocrisy, or perhaps he relies far too much on a glaring lack of public scrutiny.

Indeed, Todd Bosley ran for Stark County Commissioner in 2006 on a platform of honesty and integrity -- a campaign remarkable for a lack of any scrutiny of Bosley's past from local newspapers, namely the Canton (OH) Repository, and an unwillingness of his Republican opponent, incumbent county commissioner Rich Regula, to engage
in any sort of 'negative' campaigning. Thanks to the free pass on his past and a huge statewide Democratic landslide, Bosley prevailed barely with a 50.1% majority.

But the problem Todd Bosley faces now during his four-year term as a county commissioner is that he's never before been held accountable for his deception, and perhaps as a result his standard business operating practices -- lies, scams and cons -- have been disrupted.

For when he sought office Todd Bosley probably never anticipated that his ugly past would be unearthed for all to see. Bad habits, it seems, are hard to break.

And an ugly past that otherwise is kept secret is quite convenient, at least for public officials like Todd Bosley.

For example, consider Bosley's prior role as a ringleader in the Plus Gold, Inc. pyramid scheme that bilked thousands of northeast Ohio residents out of millions in the early 1990's before then-Ohio Attorney General Lee Fisher shut it down in 1993. Perhaps now-Ohio Lt. Governor Fisher could explain Bosley's true role in this massive fraud scheme, because to date Bosley has not.

More recently, in 2002 Bosley scammed a Rootstown, OH businessman out of $100,000 in a 'bait-and switch' con job, where Bosley sold his firm and then blatantly ignored the non-compete clause. Bosley's scam was made possible since the bilked
businessman faced legal fees of far more than the amount of funds lost.

Then, in 2004, Bosley's imported goods business was caught selling bogus 'Bio-Trim' diet pills the FTC had found relied on grossly misleading and fraudulent advertising. Bosley simply kept selling his remaining inventory, apparently never one to let a little consumer fraud stand in the way of personal profit.

Also that same year eBay members caught Bosley misrepresenting his knock-off Chinese-made billiard tables he'd put up for auction as premium Aramith billiard tables made in Belgium, which they weren't. What did Bosley do? He simply closed that seller account and created a new one, to keep hawking his knock-off pool tables.

Elected in 2004 as a Nimishillen Township (OH) trustee, Bosley's history of scamming charities, defrauding consumers, and cheating business partners would seem to have been over, or at least scaled down somewhat.

Or perhaps not.

Bosley, it seems, simply took deception to a higher level.

In December 2005, Bosley seemingly ignored Ohio's conflict of interest laws when he provided the necessary majority vote to steer the township's legal contract to his two personal lawyers, Baker Dublikar's Jim Mathews and Greg Beck, to handle a 2003 flood damage lawsuit filed Bosley's business landlord, Groffre
Investments, and which also involved Bosley's business insurer, Westfield Insurance (also serving as the township's insurer). Westfield Insurance had, according to Bosley's lawyer, 'paid a ton of money' to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit seeking millions in damages filed against Bosley's import firm in 2004, a settlement which no doubt saved his company from bankruptcy.

Also, at the same time Bosley had retained his two lawyers, Mathews and Beck, in a personal business lawsuit he'd filed against Westfield Insurance to recover 'significant' legal fees not covered under his business insurance policy.

Under Ohio law, elected officials are prohibited from voting to authorize public funds to those with whom they have a financial or business relationship, and in this case Bosley's business ties to his two personal attorneys, his companies' landlord, and his personal insurer were obvious conflicts of interest. Or at least
there was an obvious need for proper guidance.

But at no point over the 18 months when the lawsuit was pending did Bosley seek legal or ethics counsel from either the Stark County prosecutor or the Ohio Ethics Commission, and Bosley went out of his way to keep these conflicts secret from township residents.

But a handful of brave township residents did learn of Bosley's conflicts in the lawsuit -- where Bosley's landlord sought as much as $618,000 in damages -- and began to question him at public trustee meetings. Bosley responded by threatening the local residents with a defamation lawsuit, a threat which he has failed to follow through on.

In November 2006, Bosley's personal attorney Jim Mathews took questions from township residents about the lawsuit. He described the township's arguments and their chances in defeating the lawsuit as solid. In his view, the lawsuit lacked any merit and the township would assuredly prevail.

Then, two months later and two weeks before the trial was to begin, without explanation Bosley's lawyer negotiated a settlement for the township that awarded $150,000 in damages paid to Bosley's business landlord, to be paid from township residents' taxpayer funds.

That's the true cost of Todd Bosley's conflicts of interest, and the residents of a struggling local community in Nimishillen Township are its victims.

NOTE: All of these claims listed here are true and easily documented, which is why Todd Bosley has been unable follow through on his repeated blustering threats to file defamation lawsuits against those who make such claims. Bosley cannot effectively
refute these claims as false since he knows that they are true!

Scott Piepho said...

And you, Anon, are the kind of guy who is spreading these "well-documented" allegations far and wide behind a veil of anonymity. If you have such a lockdown case against the guy, why don't you show yourself?