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Republican Family Values Politicians
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The second article below left out a few details.
Ravenel, a Republican, was elected state treasurer in 2006. His father, Arthur Ravenel Junior, was a powerful politician from Charleston who served eight years in the U.S. House and is a former state representative and state senator.

Thomas is also the founder of Ravenel Development Corp., a commercial real estate development company. As well, he serves as the state chairman for former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign. Late Tuesday, Giuliani's campaign announced he stepped down from that role.

Video Report
Ravenel pleads guilty to drug charge.Former state treasurer unlikely to get much prison time due to deal with prosecutors
Published: Friday, September 7, 2007
By Tim Smith

COLUMBIA -- Former State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel admitted to "reckless and immature" behavior Thursday as he pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

The 45-year-old Charleston multimillionaire told U.S. District Judge Joseph Anderson that he purchased the drug, used it and shared it with others over a two-year period.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled in several months, Anderson said, after a pre-sentence report is complete. Although Ravenel faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison, he is likely to serve little time because of sentencing guidelines and a deal he struck with prosecutors last week. According to that deal, prosecutors will say that the amount of cocaine involved with Ravenel's charge is less than 100 grams. When indicted, prosecutors said he was involved with less than 500 grams, a little more than a pound.

When asked by Anderson whether he had ever been treated for narcotics addiction, Ravenel replied, "No, sir." Ravenel, according to his lawyers, has visited two drug-treatment facilities in Arizona and New Mexico this summer following his June indictment.

Ravenel quickly amended his answer, telling Anderson he visited the rehab facilities to look at the "why" question behind his usage, including "why I was acting so recklessly," his "immature" behavior and "childhood issues." He said he was not being treated for withdrawal and did not elaborate on his motivation for using cocaine.

"I would buy it and sometimes I would share it," Ravenel told Anderson. He said he used the drug sometimes every couple of weeks or once in a month.

William Witherspoon, a federal prosecutor handling the case, told Anderson that an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division showed that Ravenel would "summon" one co-defendant in the case, Michael Miller, 25, to his home during parties and Miller would sell him cocaine, which he then provided for others at the party. Witherspoon told the judge no evidence shows that Ravenel sold any cocaine.

Witherspoon said a third co-defendant, Pasquale Pellicoro, a Mount Pleasant wine expert, also provided cocaine to Ravenel.

U.S. Attorney Reginald Lloyd told reporters after the hearing that he knew of no evidence that Ravenel used the drug in state offices or during campaign events. Ravenel was elected treasurer last November and resigned July 24, more than a month after Gov. Mark Sanford suspended him because of his indictment.

Ravenel said he purchased the drug from more than two people, raising the possibility of others being charged in the case. Prosecutors said Ravenel has been cooperative with law enforcement from the beginning.

Lloyd said an investigation into the case is continuing.

Ravenel will receive credit in the sentencing guideline determination for his guilty plea and also for his assistance to prosecutors, though Anderson reminded him that any "downward departure" sentencing recommendation can only come if prosecutors feel Ravenel has provided "substantial assistance."

Anderson told Ravenel that he is not bound by the plea agreement and the sentencing guidelines are now advisory.

The judge said he would allow Ravenel to remain free on a $100,000 unsecured bond pending his sentencing.

"I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt," he said.

Ravenel, flanked by his family members and lawyers, gave a brief statement to reporters before leaving.

"I pled guilty today because I was guilty," he said. "I am very remorseful for my behavior."

Neither he nor his two Charleston lawyers would answer questions after the hearing.

A statement from Ravenel that was released later from his attorney Gedney M. Howe III elaborated on his reference in court to "childhood issues." The statement said those issues "are the ones that arose when my parents divorced 35 years ago" and noted that "divorce is always hard on young children."

Miller, who is black, has been the only one of the three defendants in the case to await hearings behind bars because he also faced state charges of cocaine trafficking. Those charges were dropped Wednesday and he was freed on a $25,000 secured bond. He also faces eight counts of cocaine distribution alleged two weeks ago by a federal grand jury. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. A Mount Pleasant DJ, he has pleaded not guilty.

Lloyd said other than the conspiracy charge, none of the other offenses facing Miller also involve Ravenel.

Attending Ravenel's hearing was a contingent from the state chapter of the NAACP, including its executive director and president.

"Our interest is in making sure justice is served," Dwight James, executive director, told The Greenville News. "We're here to witness."

Asked about the NAACP's presence, Lloyd, who is black, said what is important in the case is not that all three defendants are treated the same but that they are treated fairly.

"I am confident at this point that both our office and the courts have treated them fairly," he said.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Condi's "Closest Female Friend"
Friday, September 14, 2007

Yesterday on the show I had an interesting conversation with Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler, whose new book is The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy.

There have long been questions about Rice's sexual orientation and her personal life in general. As Kessler notes, "She has built a wall of privacy around her that is never breached." But Kessler had access to Rice's closest friends and to Rice herself, and he reveals some eyebrow-raising information that hasn't been out there before.

In the book and on the show, Kessler described how Rice's "closest male friend" is openly gay, a man by the name of Coit D. Blacker, a Stanford professor (Rice was provost at Stanford in the late 1990s for six years) and a Democrat who served in the Clinton administration. Blacker, whose partner is also mentioned, advised Al Gore's campaign in 2000, while his close friend Rice became a chief confidante to a president who has tried to make gays into second class citizens in the U.S. Constitution. But wait, it gets better.

Rice's "closest female friend" is a woman named Randy Bean (pictured here), who is unmarried and whose sexual orientation is not stated. She is described as a "liberal progressive;" she's a documentary filmmaker who works at Standford University and once worked for Bill Moyers. She and Rice and Blacker (again, who has a partner) are discussed as a "second family," a term Bean uses, also saying that, "on friends, [Rice] goes narrow and deep."

According to newly revealed information in the book (which Kessler found through real estate records), the two women, Rice and Bean (yes, hilarious), own a home together and have a line of credit together. Bean explains this to Kessler by saying that she had some medical bills that drained her financially years ago, and Rice and Blacker helped her out by buying the house with Bean. But over time Blacker sold his share of the house to Rice and Bean, and then Rice would later get the line of credit with Bean to do some renovations on the home. Kessler, when pressed, said he did not know if this meant there was something more to the relationship between the women beyond a friendship.

Where to begin?

For the record, in the book Kessler goes into the long-discussed rumors about Rice and the few times her sexual orientation has been gossiped about or discussed in the media, but he also talks about how single, older (heterosexual) women often "unfairly" have their sexual orientation questioned, and says in the book that Rice has been the target of "nasty attacks" in this regard. He mentions that she was linked to a man once -- back in college. Even if Rice is heterosexual, however, it is fascinating and mind-boggling that this woman whose best male friend is an openly gay liberal and whose best female "friend" is a "liberal progressive," would work for a president who has opposed every gay rights initiative and tried to enshrine religious hatred in the Constitution. What does it say about them as well?

Kessler, who is even-handed (and the bulk of whose book is about foreign policy, where he offers many interesting new insights, which we also discussed at length), reminded me that Rice doesn't work on the domestic side and only works on foreign policy, so she can't be held responsible for Bush's positions on those issues. But to me, that's like someone who worked for Mussolini saying, "I only helped to get the trains to run on time." (Though Rice hasn't even been that effective.)

Oh, and I thought you'd get a kick out of this passage:

After she became secretary of state, she came to a party at Blacker's house, kicked off her shoes, and began dancing through the night to rock and and roll. Blacker, who is gay, wanted to show his partner how tight her behind is; he postulated that if he aimed a quarter at her butt, it would bounce off like a rocket. He was right. Rice, who was dancing, didn't realize what he had done until everyone began laughing hysterically. She was flattered -- and proud.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This entire article fails to mention that Joey DiFatta is a former member of the Republican State Central Committee, the governing arm of the Louisiana state GOP. In his campaign web site he pledges to "defend our conservative values from extreme liberal groups."
DiFatta twice detained for lewd conduct in mall restrooms.
Posted by The Times Picayune October 04, 2007
Joey DiFatta
By Christine Harvey St. Tammany bureau

St. Bernard Parish Councilman Joey DiFatta, who on Thursday withdrew from the 1st Senate District campaign, has been stopped twice since 1996 for suspicion of engaging in lewd behavior in public restrooms in Jefferson Parish, records obtained by The Times-Picayune show.

DiFatta, 53, acknowledged that reports he had been stopped are true, but he denied any wrongdoing in both cases. He said he was not prosecuted in either case and has no arrest record.

"If I had done something wrong, I would have been arrested," DiFatta said Thursday afternoon. "I was not. I will deny that I was involved in any activity of that nature."

Earlier Thursday, DiFatta called reporters to announce that he planned to withdraw from the Senate race. He said he has been having chest pains for a few weeks, and elevated enzyme levels indicate he might have had a minor heart attack in the past few days. As a result, his doctor advised him to slow down and make some changes in his life.

DiFatta, who has served on the St. Bernard Parish Council since January 1996 and is currently its chairman, denied he is stepping down from the Senate race for fear that the reports would become public. In fact, he said he did not know the reports had surfaced when he made his decision.
View police reports of mall incidents

Kenner police issued a misdemeanor summons to DiFatta in September 1996 in connection with a peeping Tom incident in a men's bathroom at the former Mervyn's department store at The Esplanade mall, according to a Kenner Police Department incident report obtained by The Times-Picayune.

The report states that DiFatta watched a man use the bathroom while peering through a hole in a bathroom stall. The man held DiFatta until police arrived, at which time he was issued the misdemeanor summons and ordered to appear in court.

DiFatta said the man eventually withdrew his complaint, and the case was dismissed. A spokeswoman for the Kenner Police Department said the record was expunged.

Tapping foot in stall

In the second incident, Jefferson Parish deputies working an undercover detail in a men's bathroom at Dillard's at Lakeside Shopping Center in March 2000 stopped DiFatta after he indicated a desire to engage in sex with an undercover deputy in an adjoining bathroom stall, according to an interoffice memorandum written by Sgt. Keith Conley, one of the deputies involved in the investigation.

The report said DiFatta slid his foot into the deputy's stall and tapped the deputy's foot. In the report, Conley noted that such activity is common among men to indicate a willingness to participate in sex.

The deputy inside the stall, Detective Wayne Couvillion, responded by tapping his foot, and DiFatta reached under the partition and began to rub the deputy's leg, the report states.

The detective asked DiFatta, "What do you want?" according to the report, and he replied, "I want to play with you."

DiFatta also used a hand signal to indicate that he wanted to engage in sex and used language that indicated the same, according to the report. Conley, who is now the Kenner city attorney, confirmed the report's authenticity Thursday.

The incident did not culminate in an arrest because the deputy in the bathroom with DiFatta terminated the investigation after several children entered the bathroom, the report states. Conley noted in the report that DiFatta appeared well-versed and comfortable with the routine.

Conley wrote that had the investigation been allowed to continue, it likely would have concluded in DiFatta's arrest on obscenity charges, including a possible attempted crime against nature.

Conley confronted DiFatta outside the bathroom, and DiFatta apologized and said he would not return, according to the report. DiFatta also said he has a problem with such behavior and had sought counseling for the addiction in the past, the report states.

In both instances, DiFatta produced his commission from the St. Bernard Sheriff's Office identifying him as a captain. DiFatta said Thursday he did not show his commission either time until officers asked him for identification, all of which he keeps in his wallet.

Struggling after Katrina

When he chose to run for state Senate, DiFatta relinquished the opportunity to run for re-election to the St. Bernard Parish Council. His term ends in January.

DiFatta said he has enjoyed serving the parish and its people and thanked his supporters.

A jeweler who had received several political endorsements in the Senate race, DiFatta also noted that the stress from enduring Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath might have gotten the best of him. He lost his Chalmette home to Katrina, and it took him almost 14 months to rebuild.

In the interim, he has been a strong voice for his constituents, traveling often to Washington, D.C., to fight for recovery help.

DiFatta has notified the Louisiana secretary of state's office that he intends to withdraw from the race, but his withdrawal won't be official until he files the paperwork, said Jacques Berry, the office's spokesman. Regardless, DiFatta's name will remain on the ballot for the Oct. 20 primary, as the state already has printed the ballots, he said.

Any votes to be invalid

Poll workers will place signs in the precincts where DiFatta's name is on the ballot letting the voters know he is no longer in the race and that a vote for him will not be valid, Berry said.

DiFatta's latest campaign finance report shows that he has almost $69,000 in the bank. DiFatta said he will use the money to pay some outstanding bills, though he noted he can hold onto the money to use later.

DiFatta's abrupt departure from the race leaves two candidates -- Reps. A.G. Crowe and Ken Odinet -- fighting for the 1st District seat, which includes St. Bernard Parish and parts of St. Tammany, Plaquemines and Orleans parishes.

Odinet, who lives in Arabi, said Thursday that he was saddened to hear DiFatta has been ill. Crowe, a Pearl River resident, said he wishes DiFatta a speedy recovery.

Christine Harvey can be reached at charvey@timespicayune.com or (985)¤645-2853.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:17 pm    Post subject: Brown County Republican Party chairman Donald Fleischman. Reply with quote

Brown County Republican Party chairman faces sex charges. Fleischman's attorney denies allegations.
Posted October 13, 2007
By Andy Nelesen

The chairman of the Republican Party in Brown County faces criminal charges for allegedly fondling a 16-year-old Ethan House runaway and providing the boy with beer and marijuana late last year.

Donald Fleischman, 37, of Allouez, was charged last month with two counts of child enticement, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child and a single charge of exposing himself to a child.

He was summoned to Brown County court for his initial appearance on Sept. 28. He is free having posted a signature bond as his promise to return to court.

Fleischman's lawyer, Jeff Jazgar, said he plans to confront the charges at the preliminary hearing set for Oct. 29. He declined to discuss specifics of the allegations.

"My client is innocent of the charges," Jazgar said Friday. "Our plan is to get some witnesses to testify and present enough information to dismiss the case.

Efforts to reach Fleischman were unsuccessful Friday.

Green Bay police went to Fleischman's Goodell Street home Nov. 19, 2006, looking for two runaways from Ethan House, a juvenile facility on nearby Emilie Street, according to the criminal complaint filed Sept. 7.

Fleischman opened the door and allowed officers inside where they found a 16-year-old boy hiding on the floor of a walk-in closet wearing only underwear and a T-shirt, the complaint said.

Officers found a black, purple and blue-swirled glass pipe in the living room, which tested positive for marijuana residue, the complaint said.

Police returned to Fleischman's home on Dec. 8, 2006, and found the boy there again. He had been a runaway from Ethan House for eight days.

The teen, now 17, told authorities Fleischman took him to a hotel in Appleton during that time and then to a cabin near Florence for several days before returning to Fleischman's Allouez home. The boy said Fleischman provided him with beer and marijuana, the complaint said.

The boy told police that when he would go to bed, Fleischman would fondle him and that on one occasion he awoke to find Fleischman at the foot of his bed masturbating.

Detectives obtained the boy's drug tests from the days around the time he spent with Fleischman, and three samples from late November and early December tested positive for marijuana.

Fleischman has resigned his post with the Brown County Republicans, said Kirsten Kukowski, communications director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Efforts to confirm Fleischman's resignation with local leadership were unsuccessful Friday.

If convicted on both felonies and all three misdemeanors, Fleischman faces 52 years in prison.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:35 am    Post subject: Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Reply with quote

Prostitutes Testify in Ca. Bribery Trial

SAN DIEGO -A prostitute whom prosecutors say a defense contractor provided to former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham testified Wednesday that the congressman fed her grapes as she sat naked in a hot tub before they headed to a bedroom at a Hawaiian resort.

The woman spoke at the trial of Brent Wilkes, who is accused bribing Cunningham with $700,000 in cash and perks in exchange for help securing about $90 million in government contracts. Wilkes has denied the charges.

Donna Rosetta said she was chauffeured to a private villa at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Kamelua, Hawaii, in August 2003 by an escort service she worked for. Cunningham and Wilkes invited her and a second woman to undress and slide into a hot tub before Cunningham invited her upstairs, Rosetta said.

"They were smoking cigars and talking about some meeting they had earlier," Rosetta said.

She and Cunningham went to a bedroom, and he tipped her $50 to $80, she said.

The other woman, Tammy McFadden, testified that Wilkes and Cunningham appeared to be arguing about who would go upstairs with which woman.

"The one I ended up with was the one who was running the show," said McFadden, referring to Wilkes. She described Cunningham as "the boisterous one" and said he was overbearing.

Earlier in the day, Wilkes' nephew and employee Joel Combs testified that he found the escort service in the phone book on a $20,000 trip to Hawaii that also included catered meals and a diving trip captured on a video that was played for jurors.

Combs told jurors his uncle paid thousands of dollars for golf trips, private jet flights, Super Bowl box seats and boat navigation systems for Cunningham. In return, Combs testified, Wilkes had virtually unlimited access to the lawmaker.

"He could get Duke on the phone anywhere, any time," Combs told Phillip Halpern, an assistant U.S. attorney. "He treated him really well."
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The article is a little too graphic so I supplied the link to the original article.
EXCLUSIVE: "I Had Sex with Larry Craig!"

We’ve been having loads of fun with gay restroom goblin Larry Craig over the past couple of months, haven’t we? What we’ve been missing, though, is an on-the-record account from a source willing to come forward and tell what it’s like to have an actual romantic liaison with the Idaho Republican. Meet David Phillips, a local IT geek and bear-about-town.

Phillips was recently in a bar minding his own business when he heard Craig’s voice on the television. “I went pale and nearly vomited,” Phillips says. It was the man he remembered from one of his creepiest sexual encounters twenty years earlier. “After a truncated meal I went back to my hotel room and began unwinding and jotting down the memories that the voice had opened. I recalled The Follies, the furtive groping and pawing there, the odd following of this man in my car….. Crap!”

Phillips’ embarrassing, Santorum-laced tale follows after the jump.

It was late in the Spring of 1987, and Phillips was a graduate student at George Mason University. “One of my favorite hangouts was The Follies,” Phillips explains, referring to the notorious and now-closed go-go boy bar La Cage aux Follies on Capitol Hill. “There were so many closeted neocons who trolled [...see original link for graphic details...] younger men: Terry Dolan, Jon Hinson, and a bunch of other men who seemed to run in a close and secretive group. I had sex with some of them at The Follies, and I even went home with a couple of them — at different times, at least — based on smooth talk and their attraction to a 20-something geek. One of them I would later recognize as Larry Craig.”

One night, Phillips continues, “I followed [Craig] from The Follies to a Capitol Hill neighborhood, parking on the street no telling how far from his house. We walked up the alley and through the back door of a house, with him repeating several times, ‘You were never here. You don’t know me. Right?’ and me responding, ‘Right!’ in boyish submission. As we tiptoed from the back door to the stairs to the upper floor, as if somebody else was home, he turned to grope my crotch and brush my face with his hand.” The house’s decor led Phillips to believe that this was a married man: “The bric-a-brac with family pictures didn’t scream ‘old queen’ to me; it announced a woman’s influence. Still, we made our way upstairs.

“When we got to what reminded me of a rarely used guest room, he stripped me down, and the man’s hands and mouth were all over me. He kept his pants on, though, while [...see original link for graphic details...] Then, he stripped naked [...see original link for graphic details...] He hurried me to the back door, again ranting, ‘You were never here. You don’t know me. Right?’”

Mr. Phillips’ next claim is startling, indeed: “On the way back through with [...see original link for graphic details...] and feeling totally humiliated I let my eyes wander and saw on a table a small envelope, like one from a gift or a floral arrangement, with ‘Suzanne Craig’ neatly written on it. This memory,” Phillips insists, “I noted about three hours after hearing Craig’s voice again, the night before I saw a current picture of him and a good day before I heard of his wife in the news. ‘That’s who’s going to ... me up if she finds out,’ I thought. As he reached for the door, he took a $20 bill from his wallet, shoved in my front pocket, adding ‘Remember, I can buy and sell your ass ten thousand times over. You were never here. Don’t try to come back here. You don’t know me.

“When I next heard that voice two months ago,” David concludes, “my mind went right back to that encounter, leaving me feeling cold and used all over again. I wish I hadn’t been a screwed-up kid at the time and had had the presence of mind to tell him to keep the money he shoved at me like I was part of the trade common to The Follies.”

And why has Mr. Phillips decided to share this story with us? Mostly because I badgered him to after he related the story to me two weeks ago at the DC Eagle (I’ve known David for several years). “I’m just glad to purge some mental baggage over it. I wouldn’t ratchet my current feelings about it to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder levels,” he explains, “but it’s close. Changing jobs, celebrating two years off meds, and dealing with carpal tunnel release surgery have actually helped me keep sane during the last few weeks. I keep thinking, ‘What next?’ There were a bunch of Houston oil execs and financiers I tricked with during college, almost all of whom were married… so I’ve been on-edge during both Bush presidencies, waiting for one of them to rise to Cabinet level.”

—Princess Sparkle Pony
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Detectives investigating attempted blackmail against state lawmaker.
Jeff Humphrey / KXLY4 Reporter
October 30th, 2007

SPOKANE -- A state lawmaker from southwest Washington in Spokane for a legislative retreat last week may have done some socializing here that now has the attention of local detectives.

State Representative Richard Curtis (R-La Center) was in Spokane last week and reportedly had consensual sex with another man at a downtown hotel that later led to blackmail. However Curtis says there was no sex and he isn't gay. Now Spokane police are trying to determine if Rep. Curtis did in fact have a sexual encounter here that made him a target for extortion.

While most of the legislators attending the Spokane retreat stayed at the Red Lion Hotel it appears Richard Curtis ended up in a room at the Davenport Tower. The new hotel has the latest in video surveillance equipment in its lobby and major crimes detectives executed two search warrants there hoping to review Curtis' activities in public areas of the building.

Investigators are also looking for a still unnamed man who was with the representative. The pair reportedly had consensual sex inside the hotel and later Curtis was threatened that the liaison would not remain a secret unless he submitted to the extortion.

The alleged late night encounter is in sharp contrast to Curtis' political persona. While in Olympia, Curtis has voted against domestic partnerships for gay couples and opposed a bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Air Force veteran was also the co-sponsor of state legislation that would have barred protests within 500 feet of funerals.

It's still not clear who reported the attempted shakedown to Spokane police or if the two-term state representative is cooperating with investigators.

Late Monday The Columbian newspaper got a hold of Representative Curtis, who said that he did not solicit anyone for sex, that he is not gay and that he got into this mess just trying to help someone out.


UPDATE 3 : Oh. My. God. Just when you thought things couldn’t get weirder or worse for Richard Curtis, yet more details emerge.

Cross-dressing state lawmaker blackmailed following late night tryst.

State Representative Richard Curtis says he’s not gay, but police reports and court records indicate the Republican lawmaker from southwestern Washington dressed up in women’s lingerie and met a Medical Lake man in a local erotic video store which led to consensual sex at a downtown hotel and a threat to expose Curtis’ activities publicly….

Curtis, according to a search warrant unsealed Tuesday, went to the Hollywood Erotic Boutique on East Sprague on October 26th at approximately 12:45 a.m. The store clerk, who had talked with Curtis, referred to him as “The Cross-Dresser” and said that during their conversations he confirmed he was gay and was married with children at home.

During his visit to the video store Curtis was observed wearing women’s lingerie while receiving oral sex from an unidentified man in one of the movie viewing booths inside the store.

Ack! Ack! Ack! I don’t even know how to respond to this anymore! My head is EXPLODING. And there’s MORE:

Afterward he met Cody Castagna, and they talked about getting together at Curtis’ hotel room to have sex. Curtis left Castagna his cellphone number and went to Northern Quest Casino and receiving a call from him around 3 a.m., and planned to get together at the hotel a short while later.

The two met at the Davenport Tower around 3:34 a.m. and police reports confirm Curtis and Castagna had anal intercourse after which Curtis fell asleep. Castagna, according to court records, then allegedly took Curtis’ wallet out of his jacket pocket and left the room. Around 7 a.m. he called Curtis and told him he knew he was a member of the Washington State House of Representatives and was married, that he had taken pictures of Curtis with a camera on his cellphone and he offered to return the wallet in exchange for $1,000. In police reports it is claimed that Curtis offered Castagna that sum of money in exchange for having unprotected anal intercourse.

Curtis, during an interview with a Spokane detective, claimed that he gave Castagna $100 for “gas money” and insisted that the money was not payment for sex. During that phone conversation he claimed he only had $200 and left the money in an envelope at the front desk at the Davenport Tower for Castagna in exchange for the return of his wallet.

The attempt to get his wallet back proved unsuccessful as Castagna called Curtis back later on the 26th and demanded the remaining $800 from him. Unbeknownst to Castagna at the time Curtis had already contacted Spokane police and a detective was present with Curtis when Castagna called again.

When he contacted police, Curtis told detectives he wanted to keep the incident quiet and didn’t want to press charges against Castagna and that all he wanted was his wallet back.

During the call Castagna not only demanded $800 for the return of Curtis’ wallet but also said the money would buy his silence, implying that without the money he would expose Curtis’ gay lifestyle to his wife. Curtis admitted to police that if details of the incident became public he would have to tell his wife and would need to hire a divorce attorney.

Goldy at HorsesAss nails the heart of this tragedy in a response to a commenter on his site:

People like Curtis are forced to live in the closet because of people like Curtis.

Well said, Goldy.

And to all the headline writers out there describing this as a “gay sex” scandal… uh… I’ve had a lot of gay sex over the years, guys, but never anything like this. I mean, if that was gay sex I’d never be able to get up.

UPDATE 4: But wait—there’s more. Yes, MORE!

As if the details about anti-gay Washington State Rep. Richard (R-La Center) and his tryst with a male escort in Spokane, Washington, weren’t already sordid enough, I spent the last hour wading through the 15 page police report. Holy crap! Curtis, hoping to keep this whole thing quiet, called the police himself. And when the police asked him what happened, Curtis told them everything.

Curtis stated both he and the male walked into the lobby together. He told the male gain that he would give the male $100 to help him out but he was not paying him to have sex. Curtis and the male went up to Curtis’ room, which was 968. Once in the room Curtis gave the male $100…. Curtis and the male ultimately had anal intercourse on the bed in Curtis’ hotel room. The male performed intercourse on Curtis and the male’s semen and/or DNA would be on the inside of the condom while Curtis’ DNA would be on the exterior. Curtis said he was the person who received the anal sex.

Then, according to Curtis, he and Castagna fell asleep. And when Curtis wakes up Castagna is gone—and so is Curtis’ wallet. Castagna soon calls and tells Curtis that he knows who he is and wants $1,000. He also informs Curtis that he took “explicit photos” of Curtis while he was asleep.

While talking to the police Curtis expresses, again and again, a burning desire to keep all of this out of the press. (Ahem.) The police tell Curtis that, even if he doesn’t want to press charges, they have to collect evidence—but before they can set about doing that Castagna calls again. Suddenly it’s all very cloak and dagger: Castagna demands that Curtis drop off the money “in the last flower pot on the west side of Washington St. Bridge.” The police tell Curtis to stall Castagna long enough for them to set up a sting operation on the bridge. Curtis makes the drop. A suspect is seized. The police take Curtis back to the hotel—to room 968 at the Davenport (which should have a plaque on the door!)—and set about gathering evidence.

And what evidence!

I asked Curtis what physical evidence would be in the hotel room which would link the suspect to the hotel room. Curtis pointed out a Propel fitness water bottle in the garbage, a condom wrapper in the garbage, and a used condom in the garbage. I photographed the room and items prior to their collection. I also colleted the sheets and pillow cases from the bed.

While I was collecting evidence I saw a plastic sack which contained a light grey length of nylon rope, a plastic doctor’s stethoscope, and other items I could not immediately identify. Curtis told me they had nothing to do with the sex act and that the suspect had not handled them. Curtis said he did not want to show me those items in the sack.

Lingerie, condoms, rope, stethoscopes—Rep. Curtis is a very kinky girl!

Meanwhile back at the station house the police are grilling their suspect—but it isn’t Castagna. It’s Castagna’s bag man—but the accomplice cracks under the pressure, stating that “he did not want to go down for [Castagna].” Soon the police pick up Joey “Cody” Castagna. And Castagna’s version of what went down in that hotel room differs from Curtis’ version:

[Castagna] state [Curtis] was a “freak.” [Castagna] said that [Curtis] dressed in women’s lingerie during sex. [Castagna] said he used a condom and performed anal intercourse on [Curtis]…. After the sex act was completed [Curtis] told [Castagna] he wanted to perform “bareback sex” on [Castagna because Curtis] did not like the feel of condoms. [Castagna] told [Curtis] that he did not do that, that he didn’t know [Curtis], and that “bareback sex” was unsafe sex and was dangerous. [Curtis] asked [Castagna] “what would it take for you to do it.”

Castagna agrees to let Curtis **** him bareback for $1000. Curtis refuses to pay up, falls asleep, Castagna take a few pictures, leaves with Curtis’ wallet, and the rest is history.

[Castagna] continually cried and said that he believed [Curtis] tricked him and never intended to pay him the thousand dollars for unprotected sex.

One final detail: After telling the police absolutely everything, Curtis decides to stop cooperating. Curtis suddenly claims that Castagna must have drugged him and states that he “was so out of it he really didn’t know what happened.” (Yes, that old excuse.) Curtis then tells investigators that, on the advice of his attorney, he can’t tell them what he was doing in Spokane. “I asked Curtis who his attorney was and he stated he could not find the business card and he could not recall his attorney’s name.”

Holy crap. My God. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What. A. Mess.

Says Pam at PamsHouseBlend:

I’m living a relatively plain jane lesbian existence simply asking for my civil rights while closet cases like Curtis get all sorts of kinks on while railing against openly LGBT citizens. It makes me sick.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An unsettling portrait of 'America's Sheriff'
The indictment alleges years of corruption, which Carona denies.
By Christine Hanley, H.G. Reza and Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
October 31, 2007

Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona began breaking the law even before he got elected, according to a federal indictment released Tuesday, engaging in a broad conspiracy to enrich himself and his former mistress by trading access to his department for a steady stream of cash and gifts.

The indictment outlines a scheme that took root in March 1998 and stretched until August, when Carona allegedly tried to keep one of his chief accusers -- a former assistant sheriff -- from testifying truthfully to a grand jury. Federal prosecutors also charged Carona's wife and Debra V. Hoffman, whom they identified in court papers as the sheriff's "longtime mistress."

'America's sheriff' caught Bush administration's eye, met with Karl Rove

Court documents describe a furious pursuit of money, perquisites and expensive baubles, including more than $200,000 in payments and loans, a boat, a Lake Tahoe vacation, luxury box seats to the World Series, Mont Blanc pens and Ladies' Cartier watches. Carona, 52, is also accused of helping co-conspirators get a piece of a wrongful-death settlement that the family of a dead deputy won in a lawsuit.

Carona said in an interview with The Times that he was innocent and would not resign as head of the state's second-largest sheriff's department. He declined to discussed the specific allegations in the indictment.

"I'm staying because I love the job and I do a good job," he said. "Most importantly, I have committed no criminal acts."

Deborah Carona said in a prepared statement: "There is no merit to this indictment, and the government's strategy of using me as leverage against my husband will not succeed."

Hoffman could not be reached for comment.

Until he became the target of several state and federal investigations, Carona seemed to be on a path toward political power and prominence. He was dubbed "America's Sheriff" by television personality Larry King, courted by former White House political guru Karl Rove and groomed as a prospective Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. He gained nationwide recognition for his tough, on-camera performance during the 2002 hunt for the kidnapper of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion, who was murdered.

The 10-count indictment paints a very different picture, alleging that Carona and close associates began their criminal activities by illegal fundraising to win election in 1998, then, once he was in office, using the powers of the sheriff to enrich themselves.

In all, Carona faces one count of conspiracy, four counts of mail fraud and two counts of tampering with a grand jury witness. His wife is charged with a single conspiracy count. Hoffman is charged with one count of conspiracy, four counts of mail fraud and three of bankruptcy fraud.

A central figure in the alleged conspiracy is Donald Haidl, an Orange County businessman who formerly owned a business that generated $100 million a year selling surplus police cars and assets seized by law enforcement agencies.

Prosecutors charge that Haidl lined Carona's pockets with paycheck-like regularity. In return, they allege that Carona made Haidl an assistant sheriff, helped his son get preferential treatment in a drug case, and gave badges and guns to relatives and friends.

Haidl, in effect, bought a "Get out of jail free card" from Carona, prosecutors allege.

The sheriff also allegedly exerted influence in an unsuccessful effort to have Haidl's son tried as a juvenile when he was accused of rape in 2002.

Haidl, who pleaded guilty in a related case, has now turned against Carona and is expected to be a witness against the sheriff. He went undercover and taped conversations with Carona after striking a deal that spared him serious charges.

According to the indictment, the payments Haidl made to Carona and Hoffman ranged from a $110,000 "loan" to Hoffman's law firm to $1,000 in monthly stipends that Carona received for doing no work as a board director for company tied to Haidl.

Another alleged co-conspirator was George Jaramillo, who was also one of Carona's assistant sheriffs. He, too, has pleaded guilty in the case and has been cooperating with prosecutors.

Lawyers for Haidl and Jaramillo declined to comment on the case.

The indictment provides the following account of the alleged conspiracy:

The scheme began during Carona's 1998 run for office when Haidl funneled several $1,000 checks to the campaign, each from a different "contributor." Haidl illegally reimbursed those unnamed donors.

The day before the June 1998 election, Haidl gave a $110,000 cashier's check to the law firm, which was founded by Hoffman and Jaramillo. After Carona won, Haidl paid for a trip to Lake Tahoe for Carona, Jaramillo and their wives and gave the new sheriff $6,000 in cash.

Shortly after the election, in December 1998, Carona lobbied the county Board of Supervisors to change the law so he could appoint Haidl to the job of assistant sheriff, even though the businessman lacked the required experience.

The next year, Carona quietly arranged for several of Haidl's relatives, friends and business associates -- many of them campaign contributors to the sheriff -- to be named reserve deputies, empowering them to carry badges and concealed weapons. That plan was later revealed by The Times.

That fall, Carona, Haidl and Jaramillo conspired to refer legal cases involving sheriff's employees to Orange County attorney Joseph G. Cavallo, a third co-conspirator, in exchange for money. Cavallo is not named in the indictment and has not been charged.

Haidl gave Carona $12,000 in cash for his personal use that year. The businessman give the same amount to the sheriff in 2000 and 2001, and then $6,000 in 2002.

Far more money was going to Hoffman at Carona's request. Altogether, she received more than $170,000, often in amounts of $5,000 and $10,000, at fairly regular intervals.

In early 2000, Hoffman set up an investment firm with the strikingly unusual name of Bersagliere of Pacoima. Around the same time, Carona asked then-Gov. Gray Davis' aides to appoint Hoffman to a state board or commission, and she was placed on the California Council on Criminal Justice.

Because of her state post, Hoffman was required to file financial disclosure forms. But she failed to report her holdings in Bersagliere (the moniker comes from the name of an Italian army corps).

Meanwhile, Carona conspired with Jaramillo and Cavallo to help two Orange County businessmen acquire land to build a paint-ball range. In April 2000, the businessmen paid Cavallo $25,000 in cash.

The conspiracy widened that year to include Deborah Carona, who received a $1,500 St. John Knits suit from Haidl.

In May 2001, Carona pulled strings to have his wife appointed to the Orange County Fair Board. That same month, he steered the widow of a sheriff's deputy to Cavallo, who represented her in a wrongful-death lawsuit against a hospital. Unnamed co-conspirators of Carona later got a portion of the $340,000 settlement Cavallo obtained for the deputy's estate.

Also around May 2001, Haidl gave Carona a Sea Ray boat and trailer. The sheriff wrote Haidl a check for $5,150 to make it appear he was buying the boat, but Haidl reimbursed him about the same amount in cash. Deborah Carona put part of that money in her personal checking account.

Over the next couple of months, Carona returned favors to Haidl and another Orange County businessman, Ed Grech, who was identified in the indictment only by his initials.

He granted Grech a concealed-weapon permit even though the businessman had been convicted of a concealed-weapon offense. In September 2001, Carona used his connections to have Haidl's sister, Peggy, appointed to the county fair board.

Carona's coverup efforts did not end until Aug. 13, when he urged Haidl not to testify. The indictment says that conversation was tape-recorded.

The allegations against Hoffman extended into her bankruptcy, for which she filed in 2001. The indictment accuses her of making false statements that concealed $65,000 in payments from Haidl; her holdings in a number of checking, savings and brokerage accounts; the stake in the Bersagliere company; her receipt of the $110,000 loan; and her role at Bersagliere and the law firm.

Carona, Deborah Carona and Hoffman are scheduled to surrender to federal authorities Wednesday. Carona faces as much as 105 years in prison if convicted on all charges.




Times staff writers Joe Mozingo and Scott Glover contributed to this report.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They Got the Sheriff
OC Sheriff Michael S. Carona’s reign has been equal parts tragedy and comedy. With his indictment, it enters its final act.
November 1, 2007

Besides the $700 million-per-year budget and the right to boss around 4,000 underlings, the sheriff of Orange County enjoys an undeniable perk: Everybody wants to be his friend. A weak individual with deep, unresolved emotional issues would have a hard time resisting the temptations of this weighty job. Members of the opposite sex go wide-eyed over the gold stars on his shirt collar, the badge over his chest and the pistol in his holster. Businessmen with massive yachts and private planes seek an association to enhance their reputations, or to gain secret use of departmental spy equipment. In the hope of obstructing justice, crooks are willing to pay for dinners, drinks, luxury vehicles and vacations, or simply offer old-fashioned cash bribes.

Sadly, Michael S. Carona is a deeply flawed individual. This week, the U.S. Attorney’s office, in conjunction with the FBI and a federal grand jury, threw a 10-count corruption indictment at Carona, two of his former assistant sheriffs, his wife and one of his numerous mistresses. Except for a few of us who never bought Carona’s glad-handing, cheap smiles and constant lies, the indictment is a tsunami for Orange County government, politics and law enforcement.

In a world of constant scandal, this still qualifies as major national news. Carona is chummy with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who once openly considered the sheriff as a possible lieutenant-governor running mate. President George W. Bush appointed him to an elite national-security advisory board—though he has no anti-terrorist training, associates with organized-crime figures and has never made an arrest in his life. Way before anyone was willing to listen to OC Weekly’s lone drumbeat, CNN’s Larry King anointed Carona “America’s sheriff,” and the local media abandoned watchdog roles to treat his word as gospel.

Carona is nothing if not an opportunist. Before the wind could change direction after the national TV exposure, Carona ignited rumors of a planned challenge to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. National publications wondered if he was the future of the California Republican Party. The sheriff even sought Hollywood studios willing to feature him in a weekly crime-fighting reality show. He began traveling—at taxpayer expense—with an army of bodyguards that would rival the head of state of a small European nation. Department helicopters became aerial limousines for dates with women. He reneged on more than a dozen campaign promises. During his first election in 1998, Carona guaranteed he would serve no more than two four-year terms because it wasn’t healthy for one person to hold such a powerful job any longer.

* * *

Our sheriff is, of course, an extraordinary skillful liar. If one-tenth of the allegations contained in the 29-page indictment are true, a devious chameleon has been running our county’s criminal-justice system. We already knew, for example, the self-styled Christian-conservative sheriff prowled for extramarital sex with government secretaries, ladies in cities a plane ride away, or—how’s this for class?—the wives of criminal defendants arrested by his deputies. Who can forget the photo of the young, scantily clad Russian woman in the sheriff’s Moscow hotel-suite bedroom wearing little more than the official uniform jacket the public loaned him?

It wasn’t just sex on the sheriff’s mind. The FBI now tells us that Carona positioned himself for bribes like a bouncer at an exclusive Hollywood nightclub. His game? Pay to play.

According to federal prosecutors, the sheriff used his public office to accept cash and other forms of bribes for years; lied to the IRS about the money; and recently attempted to get a co-conspirator, ex-Assistant Sheriff Donald Haidl, to lie to a federal grand jury.

“The defendants schemed to get Carona elected and to corruptly use the office of sheriff to enrich themselves,” according to federal prosecutors Brett A. Sagel and Kenneth B. Julian, who allege that the crime plot began in 1998. Other allegations are that Haidl, a wealthy used-car salesman, gave Carona “regular monthly payments of $1,000,” fraudulent campaign contributions, a yacht, loans, gifts, private jet trips and a luxury vacation to Lake Tahoe. FBI agents say bribes totaled more than $350,000. In exchange, they say Haidl got appointed assistant sheriff and obtained special treatment in the Orange County Jail for his gang-rapist son, Gregory Scott Haidl.

“The indictment of Mike Carona on conspiracy, witness-tampering and public-corruption charges serves to assure the public that their officials are, and will be, held accountable for their actions,” said Debra D. King, special agent in charge of the IRS criminal-investigation division based in Los Angeles.

If convicted—and we’re possibly a long way from that day—Carona faces a maximum prison term of more than 20 years.

Federal agents also revealed that both Haidl and George Jaramillo, another of Carona’s assistant sheriffs, have pleaded guilty to committing federal crimes. Jaramillo, the man Carona once called his “brother for life,” was convicted earlier this year in a separate state bribery investigation. He’s currently serving a jail sentence in LA.

* * *

Flash back to 1999: Carona had been in office just five months. He and Jaramillo came to visit me and colleague Nick Schou at Weekly headquarters, then in Costa Mesa by John Wayne Airport. I’d been digging into payments businessmen were making to a secret Carona account in exchange for actual sheriff’s badges and who knows whatever else. The arrangement stunk, and I told him so. The sheriff assured me that neither he nor his department would ever be for sale to the highest bidder. He talked about the importance of open, honest government. He asked us if we wanted helicopter rides. He asked us to work closely with him if we pursued corruption stories involving himself or his department.

I didn’t care about helicopter rides or his sweet-sounding words and very real charm. I wanted him to prove to me he was clean by revealing the identities of the people who’d contributed to his secret account. No, he repeatedly stated.

Why not? I asked.

Don’t worry, he said.

“No one is ever going to get close enough to me to compromise me,” Carona said. “It just won’t happen.”

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

House GOP member punished for remark to woman aide

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Minority House Republicans, already reeling from a sex scandal that prompted one member to quit, have severely disciplined a Vancouver lawmaker for inappropriate remarks to a female staffer.

Rep. Jim Dunn was stripped of all committee assignments on Monday, and will be required to attend sensitivity training, said House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis. Dunn had been the ranking Republican on the Housing Committee, and sat on the powerful House spending committee.

The House's chief clerk also has decided to restrict Dunn's reimbursements for travel and expenses, a decision that DeBolt said he supported.

"We know that society has moved beyond off-color remarks between men and women," DeBolt said Monday evening. "We're big kids, so we need to act like that."

The strength of the discipline raised the possibility that Dunn could resign. DeBolt noted that leadership can't kick a member out of the Legislature, "so we had to look at what we could do as a caucus. And this was what we needed to do."

He added: "Jim has the ability to make his decisions on how he deals with this from here on out."

Dunn, reached at home Monday evening, said he had not read DeBolt's letter of reprimand. Dunn said he had no plans to resign.

Dunn said he already has apologized to the woman who was the target of his remark, which came at a gathering after a House Appropriations subcommittee meeting in the Tri-Cities last week.

Dunn also said he could not exactly recall what he said to the woman, but said he was "sure it was very inappropriate, because I do that kind of thing." He also acknowledged it could have been interpreted as sexual harassment.

"I was a little bit upset about something that had happened a little earlier in the day. I was a little sharp with this young lady, and I shouldn't have been," Dunn said.

Dunn also told The Columbian of Vancouver that he couldn't recall exactly what he said to the woman, but that it was along the lines of "I bought you a drink because I want to take you home," the newspaper reported.

The discipline comes less than a week after former Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center, resigned amid a sex scandal that erupted following a Republican legislative retreat in Spokane.

Curtis, who is married and has voted against gay-rights legislation, complained to police that he was being blackmailed by a man he had sex with in his hotel room.

Dunn represented the 17th District from 1996 through 2002, then was elected again in 2004 and 2006. The district covers east Vancouver and other parts of Clark County.

Last edited by antifascist on Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Judge won't disqualify D.A. office. Miller backer facing groping charges is rebuffed by a judge
By Stephen Hunt
The Salt Lake Tribune

A 3rd District judge this week scuttled Republican leader Ozwald Balfour's efforts to disqualify the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office from prosecuting him for allegedly groping, or attempting to grope, four women.
Four sex assault cases filed against Balfour in 2005 were still unresolved last fall when he threw his support - and the free services of his two media consulting companies - to Republican district attorney candidate Lohra Miller.
Months later, defense attorney Benjamin Hamilton arranged a meeting with the new D.A. to discuss the potential dismissal of the charges, arguing there was insufficient evidence.
During the April meeting, Miller recognized Balfour's name, ended the discussion and delegated the cases to deputy prosecutor Alicia Cook, according to court documents.
Hamilton asked a judge to disqualify the entire D.A.'s office and move the cases to another county.
He pointed to Miller's January dismissal of an assault charge against a police officer - criticized as repayment for political support from police - and argued that experience would make her reluctant to resolve or dismiss his cases.
But 3rd District Judge Judith Atherton rejected that argument earlier this week, and also refused to set separate trials on each charge.
Balfour, 53, of South Jordan, is the founder of the Utah Republican Black Assembly. Miller has said that during her campaign, she was unaware of the counts against him, according to court documents.
He is charged with three second-degree felony counts of forcible sexual abuse and one count of attempted forcible sexual abuse, a third-degree felony.
A Feb. 4 status hearing is set for the cases, but Hamilton said during a Monday hearing he will appeal Atherton's rulings.
During a 2006 preliminary hearing, the alleged victims characterized Balfour as a bait-and-switch artist. One woman testified Balfour came to her home in 2003 after she answered an ad about learning Web design. She said Balfour dropped his pants, began rubbing against her and tried to put his hands up her skirt.
Three other alleged victims claimed they were assaulted on Jan. 21, 2005, at Balfour's studio, International Media Services, at 340 W. Whitney Ave. (1410 South), during purported interviews for acting jobs.
One woman testified Balfour tried to get his hands under her shirt after taking her to a dark room adjoining his office. Another woman said Balfour told her, "Show me how a love scene goes," then kissed her neck and grabbed her breast. A third alleged victim said he unzipped her jacket and tried to lift her shirt.

Studio owner charged with sex abuse of applicants
Deseret News (Salt Lake City), Feb 13, 2005 by Joseph M. Dougherty Deseret Morning News

It seemed like a good opportunity for Michelle Lawrence to have a guaranteed job as she settled in Salt Lake City after moving from Vernal.

It sounded simple enough: If she paid E. Ozwald Balfour, owner of Media and Entertainment Studio, $6,000 for a six-month movie- production course, he would hire her once she completed the course. Balfour is also the chairman of the Utah Republican Black Assembly and host of "Talk of the Town," a weekly current affairs radio show that aired on Salt Lake radio station KTKK.

"He seemed really nice," she said.

Balfour's office was decorated with certificates and what appeared to be business licenses.

She passed the Jan. 21 interview with flying colors and was in the studio's waiting room while friend Rachel Olson went in for an interview, she said.

After a few minutes, Olson left Balfour's office looking white as a ghost, Lawrence said. Olson walked right past her and out the building's door. That's when Lawrence was called into the office.

She says Balfour shut the office door and began groping her.

"Take me. You know you want me," she says Balfour told her. "You have two minutes to take me."

She said she told him no and pounded on the door until Balfour released her. She and Olson met up in the car in the parking lot.

Olson asked what happened, and the two of them decided to contact police, who arrested Balfour at the 340 Whitney Ave. studio last week.

Balfour, 50, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on $50,000 bail, charged in 3rd District Court Tuesday with two counts of forcible sex abuse, which are second-degree felonies. They could land him one to 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The studio seemed legit to Lawrence, she said. Salt Lake City police detective Dwayne Baird concurs. He said the studio sports cameras, sound equipment, lights and other elements that appear to be used in movie production.

"Justice needs to take care of him," Lawrence said.

Baird said about a dozen women have come forward with complaints about Balfour. Some of the complaints go back years.

But one complaint from a woman who met Balfour the same day as Lawrence and Olson is included in court documents.

The woman said she was shopping at Wal-Mart near the studio, when Balfour approached her and asked if she wanted to be in a children's movie he was producing. He invited her to the studio, and once inside, he grabbed her hips and tried to lift up her shirt, documents state. She was able to leave the studio.

Balfour is charged in that incident with third-degree-felony attempted forcible sexual abuse. Police were still sorting out details from complaints they received over past days.

Baird said some of the complaints involve Balfour's claims to teach classes on photography, media relations and movie production and his failure to deliver the classes after taking prospective students' money. He may have gone on vacation with that money, Baird said.

Those cases have been turned over to the Division of Occupation and Professional Licensing for investigation.

Balfour's radio show has been pulled off the air, said Jim Sumpter, the station's general manager.

Balfour helped found the Utah Republican Black Assembly in 2003. Though the group was not officially recognized by the party for much of that year, it gained status after another prominent Republican, Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard, voiced his support.

Copyright C 2005 Deseret News Publishing Co.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cops: Sweeney way over limit
Police say former congressman had blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal threshold when pulled over.
By SCOTT WALDMAN, Staff writer
November 12, 2007

CLIFTON PARK -- Former U.S. Rep. John Sweeney's blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit, State Police said, when troopers charged him with drunken driving after he swerved on the Northway early Sunday.

Sweeney was heading northbound in his 2004 BMW sedan when at 1:19 a.m. he abruptly swerved out of the center lane just south of Exit 9, police said.

Lt. Scott Coburn said officers noticed a smell of alcohol on Sweeney's breath. Sweeney allegedly failed a standard field sobriety test. A subsequent test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.18 percent -- more than twice the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent, police said.

The 52-year-old Republican faces misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and aggravated DWI. The second charge -- tied to the allegation the one-time STOP-DWI coordinator for Rensselaer County was twice the legal limit -- carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.

"I regret the occurrence," Sweeney said in a statement given to the New York Daily News. "I deeply apologize to my family and friends. I take full responsibility and I am hoping to work for a fair resolution."

Conviction for aggravated DWI can require a driver to have an ignition interlock on a vehicle. The convicted driver would be required to blow into an alcohol sensor that would prevent the car from starting if the driver is intoxicated.

The arrest, first reported at 2:03 p.m. Sunday on timesunion.com, was the latest embarrassment for a one-time congressional rising star -- President Bush dubbed him "Congressman Kick-Ass" for his aggressive style -- whose re-election campaign was derailed last year by allegations of domestic violence. A police report published by the Times Union six days before the election described Sweeney and his then-wife, Gayle, as intoxicated.

During the campaign, Sweeney denied he was intoxicated at a Union College fraternity party after photographs surfaced of him at the event.

Sweeney's attorney, E. Stewart Jones, said his client does not have a drinking problem and said Sweeney, who was defeated by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand last year, would try to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

"He is a private citizen," Jones said. "This is a private matter."

Sweeney is scheduled to appear Wednesday night in Clifton Park Town Court. Jones said Sweeney would follow whatever demands the court put on him.

A person with knowledge of the incident said there was a 23-year-old woman in Sweeney's car, though police refused to say who he was traveling with.

Before being elected to Congress in 1998, Sweeney held top positions in Gov. George Pataki's administration and in the state GOP. He is widely credited with helping Rudolph Giuliani win the 1993 New York City mayoral race and Pataki win the governor's race the following year.

But his final congressional campaign was pocked by controversies that allowed Gillibrand to overcome an 80,000 Republican enrollment advantage in the 20th Congressional District and win the seat.

When the domestic violence allegation surfaced just before the election, the Sweeneys rebutted reports in the Times Union and New York Daily News by claiming the police documents had been fabricated. But as the couple headed to divorce court in July, both Sweeney and his wife traded allegations of physical abuse.

Sweeney claimed he lied about a December 2005 police call at his home to protect his wife because, he said, she was intoxicated and had assaulted him.

Earlier this year, Gayle Sweeney told the Times Union that her earlier denial had been "coerced" and that Sweeney had been verbally and physically abusive during their marriage. A divorce was granted in September.

In 2001, Sweeney slammed a Jeep into a utility pole on his way home from the Willard Mountain ski area, cutting power to a portion of Washington County. At the time, State Police said Sweeney took his eye off the road to adjust the radio and lost control on the gravel on the right shoulder. No charges were filed.

Staff writer James M. Odato contributed to this article. Scott Waldman can be reached at 454-5080 or by e-mail at swaldman@timesunion.com.

Source: Sweeney passenger a shock.
Arresting State Police officers in DWI case surprised to find a woman on ex-congressman's lap
ROBERT GAVIN, Staff writer
November 14, 2007

Clarification: An earlier version of this story reported a different age for the woman who was in the car with Sweeney. Our investigation has now confirmed that she is 24 years old..

State Police received an unexpected surprise when they stopped former Rep. John Sweeney on the Northway early Sunday -- a female passenger on his lap, a law enforcement source said Tuesday.

When troopers began following the ex-lawmaker north on I-87, just south of Exit 9, they assumed the Clifton Park Republican was driving alone in his 2004 BMW, said the individual, whose identity is being withheld by the Times Union.

The 24-year-old woman, who has not been identified, was on Sweeney's lap, the source said....
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

8 men claim Sen. Craig had sex with or hit on them.
December 2, 2007

BOISE, Idaho -- Eight men say they either had sex with Sen. Larry Craig or were targets of sexual advances by the Idaho Republican at various times during his political career, a newspaper reported Sunday.

One of the men is the former escort whose allegations disgraced the Rev. Ted Haggard, former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Idaho Statesman reported.

The newspaper identified four men and reported details of the encounters they say involved Craig. It also reported the accounts of four other men who did not agree to be identified but who described sexual advances or encounters involving the conservative Republican.

Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after being accused by an undercover officer of soliciting sex at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport and later called a news conference to deny that he is gay.

The newspaper acknowledged that its report was not based on definitive evidence. However, it said its investigation, including a review of travel and property records and background checks, found no evidence to disprove the accounts of the four identified men.

Craig and members of his staff declined to comment to the newspaper.

But in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press on Sunday, the senator said the newspaper's report was "completely false" and he accused the paper of careless journalism.

"It is unfortunate that the Idaho Statesman has chosen to continue to lower itself to the standards of what can best be described as tabloid journalism," Craig said in the statement.

"Despite the fact the Idaho Statesman has decided to pursue its own agenda and print these falsehoods without any facts to back them up, I won't let this paper's attempt to malign my name stop me from continuing my work to serve the people of Idaho."

The report is the Statesman's latest on allegations about Craig's sexual background since his June arrest in an airport men's room sex sting operation was reported in late August.

Statesman Editor Vicki Gowler said the newspaper spent several months checking the backgrounds and details of the men's stories.

"We believe it's important for you to know what we've learned and to hear the men's own words," Gowler said.

Two of the identified men and one of the unidentified men told the newspaper they had sex with Craig.

One of the men identified in the report, Mike Jones, 50, described as a former male escort, was the focus of the sex scandal involving Haggard, the disgraced leader of Colorado's New Life Church.

Jones said Craig paid him $200 for sex in late 2004 or early 2005. The encounter took place at a studio apartment in downtown Denver, Jones said.

Jones told the Statesman that he did not recognize Craig until his arrest made the news. The newspaper reported that Jones went on the record after Craig appeared in a television news report in August to address the arrest and his future in politics.

Amid pressure from top GOP leaders in Washington, Craig announced his intent to resign from the Senate. He later changed his mind, deciding to finish out his term, which expires in January 2009. He is also appealing in Minnesota courts to have his guilty plea overturned.

The undercover police officer who arrested Craig said the senator moved his foot next to the officer's foot and tapped it in a way that indicated he wanted sex. He also alleged the senator sent a signal by swiping his hand under the divider between men's room stalls.

Craig has said the officer misconstrued those motions.
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Mr. Mickey's Mom

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:16 am    Post subject: I'm glad I caught up with this, you've got it, antifascist Reply with quote

I mean, damn... this is a laundry list, isn't it? I'm glad you put it all together. We have some serious thinking and planning to do ahead of convincing some young people that they can make a difference by registering to vote these criminal abusers out, It's time for statesmen/women to enter the arena of public service.

Every day it comes out a little more, but every day more and more voters are turned off. All the rotten people have to be thrown out, but we need to recruit some voters again. I will refer to the laundry list of loosers when making some points locally.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mean, damn... this is a laundry list, isn't it? I'm glad you put it all together.

About 184 articles (updated count) so far documenting Republican family values. I am surprised also at the length of this list. And all this doesn't even include the 170 Republicans on the Abramoff investigation list.

Last edited by antifascist on Tue Dec 25, 2007 1:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Da luv shack ...
By Josh Marshall
Talking Points Memo

In 2004 George W. Bush nominated Kerik as Secretary of Homeland Security shown here shortly after his arrest in 2006.

A couple days ago we noted the odd story, reported by Newsweek, of how glamorous celebrity book publisher Judith Regan had to hire a bodyguard to protect her from Kerik after their relationship "soured."

Now, Newsweek said that the two were "occasional workout partners." But clearly I'm way behind the times on the latest euphemisms. Because these weren't the sort of workouts you do at the gym, or, I should say, at least not in the public areas. The Daily News reports today that not only was Kerik carrying on an affair with Regan but also, at the same time, with city Correction Officer Jeanette Pinero. Pinero, you'll remember from yesterday evening's post, is the woman at the center of the civil suit in which Kerik had to testify just a couple days ago. The plaintiff in that case former deputy warden Eric DeRavin III says Kerik kept him from getting promoted because he had reprimanded Pinero. (The Daily News reports that the city has already ready settled one case related to the Kerik-Pinero relationship.)

And since Kerik was married while all this was going, he had a secret love den set up down in Battery Park City where he'd meet Regan and Pinero for their workouts.

And that, it seems, was how he eventually came to grief. According to the Daily News, after one workout Regan left a "romantic note" for Kerik. But, as so often seems to happen in these cases, it was found by, you guessed it, Mrs. Pinero (yes, she's married too).

Pinero and Regan chatted on the phone; and presumably things were never quite the same.

The Battery Park love shack saga would also seem to throw a little light on one question left dangling from yesterday's story in the Daily News.

In that piece, Lawrence Ray, Kerik's financial benefactor with all the mob connections, said that "Kerik always complained about surviving on his civil servant salary." That, notwithstanding the fact that a December 1997 piece in the Times reported that Kerik's starting salary as Corrections chief was $136,990 a year.

But now the story comes into clearer focus because not only was Kerik paying for the place on E. 79th street where he and his wife lived. He was also paying through the nose for the love den down in Battery Park which the Daily News estimates cost between $3,150 to $6,200 in monthly rent.

With those sorts of expenses, no wonder he had to rely on Ray to pay off some of his bills.

Late Update: A reader notes that the owner of the apartment complex where the love den was located is Milstein Properties, a big player in New York City commercial and residential real estate. The Daily News estimates that the love den, a snazzy furnished apartment, could have cost as much as six grand a month. Even if that had been Kerik's only New York pad, that would be a stretch on his salary. So who was paying that rent? Or was it even being charged?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Family Values

The government is a bad social regulator. Morals and values aren’t things that legislation can even touch. You can’t legislate morality. It doesn’t work.
There are other ways to handle those things, better ways. One is called parenting for those who forgot.

Seriously WTF can government do for Family Values? Pass some silly azz study which has been done many times and charge the taxpayer for it, then pass some laws which do nothing but make the politician look like he/she actually cares and charge the taxpayer more money.

A politician does not care about free-kin family values! It all sounds well and rosey but thats it, it is manure to grow the rose and in this case to win an election with appealing catch words.

Hang Tough ~
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huckabee Squashed Charges Against His Son For Stoning, Hanging Dog
December 16th, 2007

Lambert over at Corrente noticed this little tidbit that Mike Huckabee definitely doesn’t want to have brought up:

Here’s the barebones story of how 18-year-old Mike Huckabee’s son, David, and 17-year-old Clayton Frady killed a dog when they were Boy Scouts, and got fired for it. From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 1998 (as quoted in DogBlog):

[David Huckabee,] the younger son of Gov. Mike Huckabee and another teen were fired last month from jobs at a Boy Scout camp after the killing of a stray dog.[..]

So, how and why did David Huckabee (and Clayton Frady) kill the dog?

The original story isn’t clear in the lead (the admissions and the details come as you read down). Still from the Democrat Gazette:

The dog was killed [passive voice] July 11 at Camp Pioneer near Hatfield.[..]

I believe the following is the faxed description of the “particular process.” It’s on a reputable site, Utopia Animal Rescue, which is run by, of all people, Kinky Freidman:

(Miller County, Arkansas) Two boy scout counselors, 17 year old Clayton Frady and 18 year old David litickabee [sic], the son of Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, have admitted to catching a stray dog during their summer session at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, AR, and hanging the dog by his neck, slitting his throat and stoning him to death.

Lambert notices that Michael Isikoff’s coverage of the story for Newsweek is particularly lacking in investigative curiosity on how David Huckabee killed the dog, which as you can see above, really does color the event.

Digby’s on top of this too. The Huckster’s son seems to be a real winner and his father tried to cover up his sick, twisted behavior — the same kind of behavior that landed former NFL star Michael Vick in prison.

David Huckabee
Childhood precursors [to Psychopathy]

Psychopathy is not normally diagnosed in children or adolescents, and some jurisdictions explicitly forbid diagnosing psychopathy and similar personality disorders in minors. Psychopathic tendencies can sometimes be recognized in childhood or early adolescence and, if recognised, are diagnosed as conduct disorder. It must be stressed that not all children diagnosed with conduct disorder grow up to be psychopaths, or even disordered at all, but these childhood signs are found in significantly higher proportions in psychopaths than in the general population. Conduct disorder, as well as its subcategory Oppositional Defiance Disorder, can sometimes develop into adult psychopathy. However, conduct disorder "fails to capture the emotional, cognitive and interpersonality traits - egocentricity, lack of remorse, empathy or guilt - that are so important in the diagnosis of psychopathy."[71]

Children showing strong psychopathic precursors often appear immune to punishment; nothing seems to modify their undesirable behavior. Consequently parents usually give up, and the behavior worsens.[72]

The following childhood indicators are to be interpreted not as to the type of behavior, but as to its relentless and unvarying occurrence. Not all must be present concurrently, but at least a number of them need to be present over a period of years:

* An extended period of bedwetting past the preschool years that is not due to any medical problem.
* Cruelty to animals beyond an angry outburst.
* Firesetting and other vandalism. Not to be confused with playing with matches, which is not uncommon for preschoolers. This is the deliberate setting of destructive fires with utter disregard for the property and lives of others.
* Lying, often without discernible objectives, extending beyond a child's normal impulse not to be punished. Lies that are so extensive that it is often impossible to know lies from truth.
* Theft and truancy.
* Aggression to peers, not necessarily physical, which can include getting others into trouble or a campaign of psychological torment.

The three indicators—bedwetting, cruelty to animals and firestarting, known as the MacDonald triad —were first described by J.M. MacDonald as indicators of psychopathy.[73] Though the relevance of these indicators to serial murder etiology has since been called into question, they are considered relevant to psychopathy.

The question of whether young children with early indicators of psychopathy respond poorly to intervention compared to conduct disordered children without these traits has only recently been examined in controlled clinical research. The findings from this research are consistent with broader evidence - pointing to poor treatment outcomes.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mitt Romney's secret life as a pornographer
The rumor has been gaining momentum as local press and Christian groups continue to circulate the tale of Romney's complicity in the offering of pornographic programming while on the board of the Marriott hotel chain.
By David Rosen
December 21, 2007

The summer scandal about Mitt Romney's role as a closet pornographer appears to be resurfacing as the Iowa Republican caucuses near. While never raised during the Republican debates, the rumor has been gaining momentum as local press and Christian groups continue to circulate the tale of Romney's complicity in the offering of pornographic programming while on the board of the Marriott hotel chain. It seems to be contributing to the steady erosion of Romney's electoral standing among evangelical Christian Republican voters.

"Mitt Romney regularly denounces the 'cesspool' of pornography on the campaign trail," wrote Ben Weyl in the "Iowa Independent." "But recently, those would be supporters have been grumbling that Romney did not do enough to shut down hardcore movie options in Marriott hotels while he was on the company's board for nearly a decade."

The story of Romney's link to porn programming broke in July by AP reporter Glen Johnson. Romney served on the Marriott board from 1992 to 2001 and was chairman of its audit committee. During Romney's tenure, Marriott contracted with On Command to provide in-room television services; in 2006, On Command was acquired by LodgeNet. When questioned by AP, Romney claimed that the issue of pornography never came up at board meetings and insisted that he did not know how much money porn generated for the hotel. Ignorance is bliss.

Romney received an annual fee of $25,000 and stock options while serving on the Marriott board. He also received a campaign contribution of $80,000 arranged by J.W. Marriot.

When the story first broke, the Christian right was up in arms. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, denounced the Marriott board and, indirectly Romney: "They have to assume some responsibility. It's their hotels, it's their television sets."

Kim Lehman, president of the Iowa Right to Life Committee, warned: "If he [Romney] had the opportunity to protect families and didn't take the opportunity, he's going to be viewed as a hypocrite." She added, "[i]f it's true if he could have, but chose not to and to say you're for families and for children, when you have a tremendous opportunity to take, these are all issues he's going to be faced with."

Daniel Weiss, media analyst for James Dobson's "Focus on the Family," added to the rancor: "If [Romney] made money off pornography in the past, is he going to turn a blind eye to it if he's president? Because as chief executive of the nation, it's his responsibility to make sure our nation's obscenity laws are efficiently and vigorously enforced."

"Marriott is a major pornographer," intoned Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values (CCV), an Ohio-based anti-pornography group. "And even though he may have fought it, everyone on that board is a hypocrite for presenting themselves as family values when their hotels offer 70 different types of hardcore pornography."

Burress started challenging Marriott about offering porn in 2002. In 2006, he pulled together a coalition of Christian conservatives that included Focus on the Family, the American Family Association of Michigan and CCV, and took out a full-page ad in USA Today demanding the Department of Justice crack down on hotel porn, specifically targeting the Marriott and Hilton chains. No action was taken.

Ironically, Mitt Romney is named after the founder of the Marriott chain, J. Willard Marriott; Romney's given name is Willard. Marriott was a close friend of Romney's father, former Michigan governor George Romney, and also a Mormon.

In 2000, the Marriott chain was attacked by the Michigan-based American Decency Association over the distribution of in-room porn. J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr., the son of Marriott's founder, defended porn distribution, claiming that it was offered as a separable TV offering. "The in-room entertainment operators who provide our systems rely upon a certain volume of movie types in order to be economically viable." He argued that "[i]f we were to eliminate the 'R' and non-rated offerings, the systems would not be economic."

It should be noted that a number of hotel chains do not offer porn services. The Omni Hotels and the Ritz-Carlton does not offer in-room porn even though it is owned by Marriott. Nevertheless, a buck is a buck and many leading media corporations are intimately involved in the hotel porn business, including Hilton, AT&T, Time Warner, General Motors, EchoStar, Liberty Media and Murdoch's News Corporation.

Nearly half of Iowa Republican caucus voters are evangelical Christians and seem to be looking for any issue to reject the once front-runner Romney. Few seem willing to admit to anti-Mormon prejudice in their rejection. Romney's refusal to take a stand against (and at best passive complicity in) Marriott's offering of porn programming upset many when first revealed. However, his refusal to seriously address the issue as the campaign comes down to the wire only antagonizes these moralistic voters. The issue will affect the outcome of the caucus vote, likely helping Mike Huckabee win in Iowa. The question remains whether the story will have sufficient resonance to shadow him to South Carolina and other strong evangelical states.
David Rosen can be reached at drosen (AT) ix.netcom.com
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ex-Michigan congressman Siljander indicted
by The Associated Press
Wednesday January 16, 2008, 5:32 PM

West Michigan Congressman Mark Deli Siljander, 1986

WASHINGTON -- A former Michigan congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

Mark Deli Siljander, a Republican from Three Rivers when he was in the House, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.

A 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander $50,000 for the lobbying -- money that turned out to be stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Siljander, who served in the House from 1981-1987, was appointed by President Reagan to serve as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations for one year in 1987.

He could not immediately be reached for comment today. His attorney in Kansas City, J.R. Hobbs, had no immediate comment.
Mark Siljander, 1986.

The charges are part of a long-running case against the charity, which had been based in Columbia, Mo., and was designated by the Treasury Department in 2004 as a suspected fundraiser for terrorists.

In the indictment, the government alleges that IARA employed a man who had served as a fundraising aide to Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader and mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The indictment charges IARA with sending approximately $130,000 to help Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the United States has designated as a global terrorist. The money, sent to bank accounts in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 2003 and 2004, was masked as donations to an orphanage located in buildings that Hekmatyar owned.

Authorities described Hekmatyar as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who has participated in and supported terrorist acts by al-Qaida and the Taliban. The Justice Department said Hekmatyar "has vowed to engage in a holy war against the United States and international troops in Afghanistan."

The charges paint "a troubling picture of an American charity organization that engaged in transactions for the benefit of terrorists and conspired with a former United States congressman to convert stolen federal funds into payments for his advocacy," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein said.

Siljander founded the Washington-area consulting group Global Strategies Inc. after leaving the government.

The indictment says Siljander was hired by IARA in March 2004 to lobby the Senate Finance Committee in an effort to remove the charity from the panel's list of suspected terror fundraisers.

For his work, IARA paid Siljander with money that was part of U.S. government funding awarded to the charity years earlier for relief work it promised to perform in Africa, the indictment says. Under the grant agreement, IARA was supposed to return any unused funds after the relief project was wrapped up in 1999.

Instead, Siljander and three IARA officers agreed to cover up the money's origins and use it on the lobbying effort, the indictment charges.

In interviews with the FBI in December 2005 and April 2007, Siljander denied doing any lobbying work for IARA. The money, he told investigators, was merely a donation from IARA to help him write a book about Islam and Christianity, the indictment says.

In 2004, the FBI raided the Islamic American Relief Agency-USA group's headquarters and the homes of people affiliated with the group nationwide. Since then, the 20-year-old charity has been unable to raise money and its assets have been frozen.

The charity has denied the allegations that it has financed terrorism. IARA in Columbia has argued that it is a separate organization from the Islamic African Relief Agency, a Sudanese group suspected of financing al-Qaida. A federal appeals court in Washington ruled in February that there was a link between the two groups.

In an indictment handed down in March, the charity and four of its officers were charged with illegally transferring $1.4 million to Iraq from March 1991 to May 2003 -- when Iraq was under various U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

The indictment also alleges that on 11 separate occasions the defendants transferred funds from the United States to Iraq through Amman, Jordan, in order to promote unlawful activity that violated Iraq sanctions.

In all, Siljander, IARA and five of its officers were charged with various counts of theft, money laundering, aiding terrorists and conspiracy.

"By bringing this case in the middle of America, we seek to make it harder for terrorists to do business halfway around the globe," said John Wood, U.S. attorney in Kansas City.
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