Dave Hobson, part time Congressman…..
…..full time real estate tycoon
(Part 7) For the past several weeks OCGJ has focused on Dave Hobson’s “under the radar” excursions into real estate transactions related to earmarks and special favors he delivered not only to his closest political allies, but also to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s longtime cronies, campaign contributors and political operatives. This week we’ll investigate Barbara Schenck (Mills), former spouse of Bill Schenck who is a former law partner at (Mike) DeWine, Schenck and Rose. Ms. Schenck (Mills) serves as poster girl for those in the political class who willy-nilly make round trip passes through the revolving door between the public and private sectors. Ms. Schenck is connected to the scandal by her relationship with Qbase, one of the first tenants at Nextedge Development Corporation, the bankrupt office park that received millions of dollars in earmarks from Dave Hobson and state grants sponsored by State Senator Steve Austria.
From her 2004 Financial Disclosure Statement (FSD) required by her employment as Senator Mike DeWine’s State Director, OCGJ traced Ms. Schenck’s roots in government back to Greene County and the State of Ohio. Those documents reveal that as of 2004 Schenck amassed a retirement stash of $350,000 to $700,000 from the Ohio Public Employees deferred compensation fund, the Public Employees Retirement Fund and her employment with the Greene County Commissioners Association. This does not include Ms. Schenck’s retirement benefits from Social Security, credits from the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or the Thrift Savings Plan that has a 5% match paid for by the taxpayer. The FERS benefit and 5% match accumulation ended abruptly when Mike DeWine suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Sherrod Brown in 2006. Schenck’s last pay check as Mike DeWine’s District Director came in the form of a $20,000 bonus in February 2007, the same month she was hired by Qbase as lead State and Federal Sales Director. Here’s the timeline on Ms. Schenck’s two-way trips through the revolving door:
- February 27, 2007: Receives a $20,000 check as final payment from her job as State Director for U.S. Senator Mike DeWine when he loses by double digits to Sherrod Brown in the November 2006 election. Schenck files termination report with the U.S. Senate.
- February 7, 2007: Hired by Qbase as Business Development Director. Outside the political class, who gets hired three weeks before they receive their last $20,000 government paycheck? Despite noncompetitively awarded government contracts and $13 million in financing, much of it from Hobson earmarks, tax credits and other public financing, Qbase sold out less than three years later for $5 million to avoid bankruptcy.
- November 30, 2007: Between February 2007 and November 2007 left Qbase and on November 30th reported a contribution for $1000 to Steve Austria’s campaign for U.S. Congress, listing her occupation as Dave Hobson’s District Director, the same position held by Mrs. Steve Austria until December 31, 2007. OCGJ could not find Ms. Schenck’s Financial Disclosure Statement (FDS) required when she returned to federal service, nor could we find Mrs. Austria’s termination FDS required when she was forced by law to resign as Hobson’s District Director when her husband announced he would run for Hobson’s seat.
- The Center for Responsive Politics reported Ms. Schenck left as Hobson’s District Director in 2008. She reportedly signed on as Steve Austria’s District Director later in 2008, but never filed Financial Disclosure Statements when she rejoined and then terminated federal service a second time. She registered as a lobbyist and foreign agent for Space Exploration Technologies in 2011, and then in 2012 with Dave Hobson’s lobbying firm, CBD Advisors, where she is CEO as of this writing.
There’s something to be said about loyalty to friends, family and former business partners, but the political class takes it over the top when they exploit power and position to transfer citizen wealth to their insider network, and worse yet, when they use their influence to erect a firewall between their crony network and due process and the rule of law. Barbara Schenck’s (Mill’s) track record as a political class insider serves as the defining example where local, state and federal governments have chosen patronage and self-dealing over their responsibilities to the citizen class.