Political class freedom redistribution (Part 1)
The Anuszewski-Zinn Paradox
For the past ten weeks OCGJ has focused on those sectors of the political economy that benefit most from redistributed citizen wealth. Lobbyists, lawyers, non-profit executives compensated by tax dollars and pay-to-play kickbacks to elected officials characterize a system of governance that, except for the lip service, has failed the citizen class. It’s bad enough that the political class from both major parties steals middle class tax dollars and sends it along to friends, family and political allies, but it’s beyond absurd that the Republican political class in Ohio use their power and influence to decide who is held accountable to the rule of law and who isn’t. We’ll begin our multi-part series by revisiting our inaugural blogpost, The Anuszewski-Zinn Paradox. Actually our timing couldn’t be better as there have been some interesting developments in the case. In February 2013, more than 15 years after Monte Zinn got his “get-out-of-jail-free” card from U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice; The Dayton Daily News reported that Monte Zinn’s office and home were raided by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification. After the raid, Clark County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Capper sealed the search warrant and other records indefinitely.* For all we know, those records have been sealed for nearly 21 months, which begs the question, “What are they hiding?” Are they still protecting Monte Zinn, or are they covering up a botched plea bargain that may have sent a convicted felon and alleged sex offender back on the street?
* Tiffany Latta, Staff Writer, Dayton Daily News, “Judge seals Zinn records for 30 days”, February 13, 2013.
In any case, here is OCGJ’s January 1, 2014 post re-published for your consideration and comment.
The Anuszewski-Zinn Paradox: Prosecutorial and Judicial misconduct from “A to Z”
The felony convictions of Dennis Anuszewski and Monte Zinn more than a decade apart may not provide a better example of contrasting outcomes determined by who you know rather than the nature of your crime. The Dayton U.S. District Court sentenced Anuszewski to 10 years imprisonment for receipt of child pornography, arguably a victimless crime. According to an April 9, 2010 Department of Justice press release, Anuszewski “over a period of ten years knowingly possessed and received visual depictions of actual children under the age of 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct.” The DOJ makes no mention of human trafficking, recruiting minors to produce sexually explicit images or profiting from trafficking in pornographic material.
On the other hand, in January 1996, Monte Zinn pled guilty to violating Section 1546, Title 18, U.S. Code, a federal felony involving fraud, and Section 371, Title 18, U.S. Code, a felony involving conspiracy to commit fraud by illegally enabling the immigration of teenage boys from the island of Fiji. Although Zinn denied the allegations, that investigation began in 1991 with a complaint from a Fijian exchange student who said Zinn made unwanted sexual advances toward him. (Source: Latta, Tiffany Y., Investigation prompts youth group to move, Springfield News Sun, April 4, 2013).
In any case, Zinn was sentenced to two years’ probation and ordered to pay a $1500 fine. Zinn could have received five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the immigration violations alone, human trafficking allegations aside. As a result of the felony conviction Zinn also lost several auto franchises (GM, Toyota and Chrysler) to the Cincinnati-based Jeff Wyler Auto Group in 2000, but not until after the Tenth District Court of Appeals upheld a Franklin County Common Pleas Court ruling that overturned the Ohio Motor Vehicle Dealers Board ruling that Zinn could keep his dealerships. After the County Prosecutor, U.S. Attorney and U.S. District Court Judge gave Zinn his life back, he had the audacity to call in his Ohio Motor Vehicle Dealers Board cronies to overturn certain aspects of his plea bargain agreement, and as insider cronies often do, they obliged. Of course GM, Chrysler and Toyota would have nothing to do with a convicted felon and alleged sex offender selling their vehicles so they brought in their high octane attorneys and snuffed out Zinn’s appeal in the Tenth District Court. This not only looks very bad for the unelected bureaucrats at the Ohio Motor Vehicle Dealers Board, it raises the notion that somewhere along the way the inner circle politicos in Springfield and Columbus stepped in on Zinn’s behalf.
Despite the vastly different outcomes, there are striking similarities in the cases. Both cases were under the jurisdiction of the Clark County Prosecutor, Clark County Common Pleas Court, the same U.S. District Court and the U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Ohio. Even more enlightening is that Clark County Prosecutor Stephen A. Schumaker, who is now the Ohio Assistant Attorney General to Mike DeWine initially led the prosecution in both cases. We should ask, “How can the same U.S. Attorney’s office, the same U.S. District Court, the same County Prosecutor and the same Clark County Common Pleas Court come up with such profoundly different outcomes?” You may not be surprised that “influence in high places” may be the only explanation for Zinn’s slap-on-the-wrist plea bargain versus Dennis Anuszewski’s 120 month imprisonment.
In the coming weeks and months OCGJ will present compelling evidence that former Congressman Dave Hobson and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine may be positioned at the very top of the food chain that perpetrated the Anuszewski-Zinn scandal and many other pay-to-play schemes that sent taxpayer dollars and special favors along to GOP insiders in Greene, Clark and Montgomery counties. The one event that best reveals DeWine’s and Hobson’s involvement in brokering public money to their special interest cronies is their role in the Dayton Development Coalition’s secretive 2003 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Initiative Agreement that sent $1.9 million in taxpayer funds to finance what you may come agree is a scandal worse than Watergate. OCGJ will dig deeper into the BRAC Initiative Agreement in later posts, but between now and then we will examine the cases of James Schmidt and Bill Schenck, two of Mike DeWine’s and Dave Hobson’s inner circle who because of their elite status in the Greene County Republican party appear to have been given a “get out of jail free” card that conveniently kept them at arm’s length from due process and the rule of law.