Diana Frey Pleads Not Guilty: The crooks of public service

Surprise, Diana Frey did show up in court today, after hiding out for the last couple of weeks to plead not guilty and was released on bond.  Frey who is accused of stealing over $750,000 from the union she helped start back in 2003 and plans to fight the accusation with the same voracity that she used a public sector labor union as her personal check book, after all, what does she have to lose?  But Frey isn’t the first and she certainly won’t be the last.  The joke is ultimately on all of us who support these people with our trust, because the crimes they commit against us show incredible disrespect for the people who employee them. 

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Source article from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110728/NEWS01/110728040/Frey-pleads-not-guilty?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Written by

Jane Prendergast

jprendergast@enquirer.com

Former city union leader Diana Frey pled not guilty to a charge of wire fraud and is out on bond after her arraignment in federal court this afternoon.

Frey, 51, was indicted last week on one count of wire fraud. She is accused of embezzling more than $757,000 from the Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees, the union she helped create in 2003. She was its only president.

Roughly one of every two dollars that City Hall deposited in CODE’s account is alleged to have ended up in her pocket. The money came from union dues – each of the approximately 800 members pays $9 biweekly.

Frey, 51, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine, or twice the amount allegedly stolen.

The wire fraud count alleges that she fraudulently wrote checks and made wire transfers, ATM withdrawals and credit card purchases to funnel members’ money into her own accounts or use them for her own benefit. Investigators said Frey deposited checks written to the union directly into her own account and wrote checks to herself out of union accounts.

CODE’s treasurer, Mark Brown, tipped off the U.S. Department of Labor after he and other union leaders became frustrated that they could not get clear answers from Frey about the union’s finances.

The union elected a new president Tuesday – Donald Stiens, a city engineer who asked the State Employee Relations Board in April to look into the union’s finances. He fills the job at least until a special officers election in October.

The Frey incident is not an unique case, where an official given the task of being responsible for large sums of money failed to be trustworthy?  No.  As the Diana Frey case has been transpiring, another breach of trust has been occurring.  Meet Tippi Slaughter, the treasurer at the Butler County Board of Elections who was caught stealing $1,700. 

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See that article from Channel 12 here:    

http://www.local12.com/mostpopular/story/Former-Butler-County-Official-Withdraws-Rehab/iF6JjkKbAU6KW_2yRP_wlg.cspx

The former director of the Butler County Board of Elections has withdrawn an unusual request of a judge and may end up striking a plea deal in her theft in office case.

Tippi Slaughter was set to go before a judge today to ask that she be allowed to go to rehab for a substance abuse problem, delaying criminal prosecution.  But today, her attorney withdrew the request and now prosecutors say the case could be resolved at her next court appearance-on August 10th-possibly with a plea deal.

Slaughter was fired by the Board of Elections after she was indicted on two counts of theft in office. She is accused of stealing $1700 from the Butler County Democratic Party where she served as treasurer.

The investigation into the missing money began after a break-in at the board offices. Slaughter’s former boyfriend, James Schmidt was charged with that crime.

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These are two women with different levels of authority, and at different levels of crime committed.  One crime is a rather small amount of money stolen; the other is a substantial amount.  But both cases confirm in all of us what we all innately understand, that if the money we spend in taxes, or dues, is not carefully regulated by the public with some vigilant oversight, then there will be greedy hands who will attempt to take that money for their own personal interests.  Then they will claim they are in need of more money from the tax payer when the accounting says that more is needed.  The trouble is that even with these respected positions; the personnel in these positions cannot be trusted at face value. 

The peril of these cases should be a sign to all, that public officials, every one of them are potential thieves who might steal our money for their own consumption and it matters very little to them if the behavior is legal or not.  Some theft is after all legal and much of that occurs under the current tax code.  But the illegal kind, the kind displayed between these two unassuming women should be an awakening of unparalleled caution.  The ultimate villain is our own social complacency, which has emboldened these thieves to steal from us in such audacious ways, and respect was not even a consideration.  For that aspect, every reader of these words should feel insulted. 

Rich Hoffman

http://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/

http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior

www.overmanwarrior.com

Road to Dystopia: The Canton Cops

My editor is in the process of cutting the massive manuscript of my Tail of the Dragon down to under 100,000 words, which will be a difficult rewrite process, but the topic of that novel was on my mind as Doc Thompson spoke with State Rep. Danny Bubp about gun control.  The case of the Canton Police officer who openly abused a man because he had a concealed carry permit was the primary topic.  Tail of the Dragon is all about how politicians use police to impose policy that is not good for the general society, but purely for the good of the politicians who write the law.  Even though abusive cases such as theCantoncop are not the usual situation, it does happen more often than it should, and points to the danger of giving police officers too much control over the general population.  You can hear that discussion here:

To see the officer in question and exactly what was said you can see the entire video below.  This occurrence happened in June of 2011 and is deeply disconcerting for a number of reasons.   

I believe many of the police officers across the country are very much like the other guy in this video, the partner of the primary officer.  That officer seems to be pretty level headed, and is certainly the recessive officer in this search and arrest.  I can understand the initial suspicion of the officers pulling over a questionable vehicle with a known prostitute, her pimp and a guy carrying a gun.  Everything about that situation spelled out trouble. 

However, such a situation requires a coolness that comes from a battle tested individual that can handle the stress of any situation.  Not a panic prone officer who has obvious problems psychologically.  And before I launch into what those problems are I must report that I’ve been shot at, threatened, and I’ve walked into dangerous situations willingly time and time again.  Danger is not something that bothers me, and when I hire someone to work a dangerous job, I expect that person to handle it with cool collectiveness.  I do not expect over-reaction of any kind.  The officer in that video is a dangerous man for many reasons, but the primary reason is that he’s a “pussy.”  Sorry ladies, but that’s the only term for a man like that. 

There are two reasons for the officer’s behavior; first he may be psychologically damaged and ready for the rubber gun squad.  If that’s the case, he should not be on the streets.  If he is such a shell shocked person, if he’s been shot at, or threatened one too many times that he can no longer function in that position, he should not be carrying a gun, driving around in a car, and have the ability to pull people over.  The second and most probable explanation is that the officer is simply a bully, the type I write about in Tail of the Dragon. 

The officer obviously works out a lot, so he has an obsession with his looks.  There isn’t any problem with this, but such people often have a tendency toward narcissism and to satisfy that narcissism they pursue positions of authority to satisfy their hunger for self-admiration.  These types of people are naturally insecure, because real life cannot fill the image of themselves that they’ve built, so they seek a collective consensus of like minded “brothers,” which he referenced twice in this recording to the other officer.  This is a tendency toward insecurity that is unmistakable, which he seeks to cover up visually with body building.  This officer uses the law to beat people into his own self-gratification.  Any level headed individual would approach the driver who did reveal that he had a gun with caution but not be so easily threatened.  The officer obviously used the situation and timing of the gun revelation to satisfy his hunger to abuse someone. 

I propose that the officer had full intention as he pulled up to the car to abuse somebody.  He had set his target on the prostitute, knowing that she was a repeat offender.  This was his clear intention.  But when he came to the driver, who was not the original target, and the driver revealed that he had a gun permit and was carrying, the officer realized that he had a better target to satisfy his narcissism, so he let the girl and her pimp go.  

At this point the narcissistic officer proceeded to harass the driver profusely threatening to “execute him.”  Obviously the officer had crossed the line several times in this exchange.  The driver showed no inclination toward violence and any officer with any experience with violence would know that.  Instead, it is obvious that under the guise of a proposed danger, the officer used this entire situation to satisfy his need for a power trip. 

Every police department in the country has a percentage of their officers who exhibit similar narcissistic behavior.  In fact every class in school, every office, every business, has a few of these abusive types.  Narcissists are a natural by-product of the human race, so we must contend with them.  But we must also use caution on how much power we allow them to have, because such personality types are prone to seek authority positions.  They will fill jobs with police departments, TSA agents, and mall security guards and like positions because those are the most obvious places where they can live out their distorted self-images.  This is why it is a very dangerous tendency of Homeland Security to give more and more police powers to these departments under the guise of protection.  A society who changes itself ideologically out of panic is no different than this foolish police officer who used his cleverly disguised fear of being shot, as a self-fulfillment of his desire to harass another human being with fear.

When terrorists attacked the United States, they sought to create a situation where the narcissists of our culture could be used against the population in general.  By creating a situation that justified panic, we handed more power to the least trustworthy of our citizens in a flimsy trade for national security.  And that situation isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse.  The Fourth Amendment, like the Second Amendment has been distorted and revised for years to gradually wear away the effectiveness through case law of these Constitutional provisions.  The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. It was adopted as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, which is a type of general search warrant, in the American Revolution. Search and arrest should be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuing court, usually by a law enforcement officer, who has sworn by it.

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

The real tragedy of this entire event is that our society has forgotten the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to such an extent that it has actually fed the kind of tyranny present in this video.  All three of the occupants in the car completely submitted to the officers without even questioning their rights, and this only accelerated the narcissistic officer in his search for a weakness to exploit.  The person being harassed should have been upset, not where he put the officer in any danger, but he actually fed the fire by saying, “yes sir.”  That officer didn’t deserve any such recognition for he did not earn it.  A uniform is not enough to give up everything a person is in their life, or to have the threat of that life extinguished to fulfill the fantasy of a mini tyrant under the guise of security.  When a society accepts this behavior as normal, and acceptable, the steps toward a complete loss of personal freedom are not far behind. 

If I had been in the same situation, which I have been on several occasions, there wouldn’t be anything close to the submission shown in that video.  But unfortunately, people who question these policies are fewer than they ever had been and those willing to put their whole life on the line by saying “yes sir,” hoping to appease a tyrant are a growing segment of our population. 

Rich Hoffman

http://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com