BRAC Initiative Agreement basics
The political class characterizes arrangements like the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Initiative Agreement as “public-private partnerships,” however when OCGJ brought the BRAC Initiative Agreement out from the shadows into the bright sunshine, we learned that the 2003 contract between Greene County politicians and the not-for-profit Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) was nothing more that the political class spreading the wealth around to their good-old-boy network. The advertised purpose of the Agreement was to protect and create jobs at Wright Patterson AFB, but there is not a stitch of evidence that even one job was saved or created by the $1.9 million dollar sweetheart deal planned and executed in complete secrecy. This would have been the perfect crime had not OCGJ stepped in on behalf of the citizens.
For a year or so I had questioned the legality of the Agreement, but our investigation did not begin in earnest until I received a call from Greene County Commissioner Marilyn Reid one evening in 2005, the day before a Greene County Republican Central Committee meeting. Marilyn’s objective for that call was to convince me to vote for her son, who she wanted the Central Committee to vote in as one of two Republican appointees to the Greene County Board of Elections. Salary and benefits for that position were about $1000 a month with healthcare for the entire family and a retirement program. Not a bad deal for someone lucky enough to land the job considering your services may be required only once a year at election time. In any case, I was offended that Ms. Reid dodged my question asking who else was running. I didn’t feel right making a commitment in advance not knowing if there were other candidates, but I mentioned I would consider voting for her son. I also took the opportunity to ask her about the BRAC Initiative Agreement. She responded that Congressman Dave Hobson asked the Commissioners to make it happen. Later, for good reason, Ms. Reid could not recall making that observation as it clearly implicated Hobson in a pay-to-play scheme that financially benefitted his campaign contributors, specifically the senior staff at the Coalition, The Greentree Group and The PMA Group, a Washington lobbying firm. Federal Election Commission records indicate that cash contributions from Greentree and PMA employees or their families have more often than not appeared first and second on Dave Hobson’s contributor list. Contributions from stakeholders in the Dayton Development Coalition were not far behind.
For starters, according to IRS public records, Coalition CEO J.P. Nauseef was paid over $285,000 in 2005, the last full year of the BRAC Initiative Agreement. That was about twice what the Ohio governor made in 2005, and fifty percent more than the U.S. Vice-president. Mr. Nauseef’s span of control at the Coalition was about 25 employees and a few interns. Over the years Nauseef contributed at least $8000 to Congressman Hobson and more to Steve Austria, Hobson’s hand-picked replacement. Just before Mr. Hobson retired, Mrs. Austria earned a six-figure, taxpayer funded salary as Hobson’s District Director. Steve Austria and Mrs. Austria both served on the Dayton Development Coalition’s Wright-Patt 2010 Advisory Committee.
Greentree was non-competitively awarded the $1.9 million BRAC Initiative Agreement despite that Ohio Revised Code Section 307 disqualified them from doing the work. To explain, Ohio statutes do allow counties to appropriate funds to conduct “economic development,” however Greentree has never done that. They advertise themselves as an information technology service provider. There are dozens of organizations, including The Ohio State University, that are infinitely more qualified than Greentree to consult on economic development. Greentree’s pricing proposal for the BRAC agreement, the only one considered by Greene County and the Coalition, included more than three man-years of labor at labor rates between $70 and $303 an hour. OCGJ will get into this later, but if a government program manager or contracting officer bought off on this noncompetitive proposal that awarded work to an unqualified source, he would be well advised to have a get-out-of-jail-free card to fall back on. Sam Greenwood, Chairman of the Board at Greentree, passed through the revolving door from the Senior Executive Service to the private sector and also sat on the Coalition’s Wright Patt 2010 Committee and Advisory Council. As we stated earlier, FEC records indicate that at least two generations of Greenwoods contributed more than $50,000 to Dave Hobson’s and Steve Austria’s political campaigns.
Besides the insiders at the Dayton Development Coalition and Greentree, the biggest benefactor of the Agreement was Paul Magliocchetti & Associates (The PMA Group), a Washington lobbying firm that shut down in 2008 after the FBI linked illegal campaign contributions to Mr. Magliocchetti, his family and employees. From 2003 to 2006, the duration of the BRAC Initiative Agreement, the Dayton Development Coalition paid PMA over $550,000. Briggs Shade, a PMA lobbyist, also sat on the Coalition’s Wright Patt 2010 Committee.
OCGJ’s objective today is to introduce the BRAC Initiative Agreement basics. We still have a big job ahead in filling in the blanks, but in the least we have established a money trail that ties Dave Hobson’s and Steve Austria’s campaign contributors to key positions on the Coalition’s Wright Patt 2010 Committee and Advisory Council. We have established two of the four elements of a perfect crime; motive and opportunity. However, two remain; the criminal act or acts themselves and the cover-up, which we will begin to address in later posts. In the meantime, If you are so inclined, OCGJ encourages you to poke around the website and weigh in with your comments. Next week OCGJ will take a closer look at The PMA Group and its involvement in the BRAC Initiative Agreement.