Dave Hobson, part-time Congressman…..
….. full-time real estate tycoon
Today we begin a six-part series that examines Dave Hobson’s real estate interests.
(Part 1) Midland Properties / TPI Composites
Soon after Dave Hobson retired from Congress in 2009, he joined Vorys Advisors, an affiliate of Columbus law firm, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. In paragraph 5 of this link to Hobson’s resume (which may not survive the week), the attorneys at Vorys report, “Before elected to public office, Hobson was involved in both real estate development and the restaurant industry.” Although this is a true statement, it also implies that when Mr. Hobson passed through the revolving doors from real estate mogul to State Senator to U.S. Congressman, he shed his real estate interests. Don’t believe it. This is a typical social engineering tactic to deceptively convince the citizen class that our elected representatives put themselves at arms-length from special interests once they are elected to public office. It also announces to the real estate special interests that Dave Hobson’s influence is for sale at Vorys just as it was in congress.
In our first case, we can identify at least three levels of misconduct.
First, there’s the sweetheart deal with lobbyist Juliet Pacquing, who when Dave Hobson engineered a $4.5 million earmark to TPI Composites, was married to Kevin Cook, Dave Hobson’s chief staffer on the House Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water. The lobbyist spouse of Mr. Hobson’s chief staffer received $60,000 in lobbying fees from TPI Composites. She also gave $5000 to Hobson’s campaign. TPI executives kicked in another $11,500 to Hobson and Steve Austria, Dave Hobson’s hand-picked successor to Congress.
Second, when he started campaigning for congress, Steve Austria claimed he was responsible for up to 100 jobs at the TPI Composites plant in Springfield. The plant closed in March 2009, yet Mr. Austria continued to take credit for those jobs until October when we made the plant closing public. If those jobs ever existed at all, they were in TPI’s facilities in China, Mexico, Iowa or Rhode Island.
Finally, there’s Dave Hobson’s stealthy relationship with Midland Properties, the real estate company that appears to have brokered the deal for the former TPI Composites plant at 2145 Airpark Drive in Springfield. After Hobson was elected to congress, he continued to be listed as a broker with Midland Properties, but OCGJ could find no evidence it was included in his Financial Disclosure Statement filed with the U.S. House Ethics Committee.
Sadly, the Federal Election Commission and House Ethics Committee both knew since 2009 that Hobson broke the law. Worse yet, Congressman Jim Jordon knew in November, 2010 and my Congressman, Mike Turner knew it in August, 2012. Both sat on their hands, and both are members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
To summarize: Dave Hobson’s Chief staffer’s lobbyist wife receives $60,000 from TPI Composites who received a $4.5 million earmark from Dave Hobson. At least $16,950 of that earmark is kicked back to Hobson’s and Austria’s congressional campaigns from Pacquing and TPI Composites executives. The outrage is that all Dave Hobson had to do to make this legal was disclose his financial relationship with Midland Properties, which he didn’t. If this makes your blood boil, buckle up for next week’s post. OCGJ will reveal a $4.7 million dollar sweet heart deal involving Dave Hobson and his political class cronies at the Turner Foundation in Springfield, Ohio.