Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Salt Lake Weekly: State Investigating Ogden Campaign Finance Scandal - 2d UPDATE

Perhaps the perpetrators of the Envision Ogden campaign donation money laundering scheme may finally be brought to justice after all
Justice delayed, is justice denied.

William Gladstone
The Quotations Page

The game isn't over until it's over.

Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra Quotes


Eye-opening Jesse Fruhwirth story in Salt Lake City Weekly this morning, reporting that the 2007 Envision Ogden money laundering story, a story which we've been mulling over here on Weber County Forum for the past three years, remains far from dead:

Envision Ogden: State Investigating Campaign Finance Scandal
Perhaps, with a little luck, and some genuine due diligence on the part of state investigators and prosecutors, the perpetrators of the Envision Ogden campaign donation money laundering scheme may finally be brought to justice after all.

Update 11/9/10 11:25 a.m.: Thanks to the sharp eyes of alert WCF reader been waiting for this, we now learn that SLWeekly reporter Jesse Fruhwirth has just published a followup article to this morning's above-linked story on the SLCW news blog, which includes, among other highly-revealing things, some late-submitted responses from Ogden's Blessed Little Lord Godfrey hisself, in which Boss Godfrey candidly admits (possibly to his own legal detriment) that he not only "solicited most of the contributions to Envision Ogden," but also "had input into which candidates received their political contributions":
Envision Ogden: more revelations
Read up, folks... and a belated Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to intrepid SLCW reporter (and "escaped" Std-Ex reporter alum) Fruhwirth for breathing new life into this important Utah political corruption story, which every other member of the Utah print media has so far blindly ignored.

Whew! We swear Utah investigative journalism doesn't get any better than what City Weekly and especially Jesse Fruwirth are putting up on the net these days...

Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Weber County Forum Readers.

Update 11/10/10 6:00 a.m.: Due to yesterday's "nudge" from City Weekly, the Standard-Examiner is now back to covering this story too:
Godfrey elections complaint dragging?
Curiously, it appears that Godfrey et al. are adopting the absurd legal position that hoodwinked Envision Ogden donors such as Ogden Regional Medical Center failed to exercise due diligence by neglecting to inquire inquire whether Envision Ogden was actually a legitimate pro Ogden recreation non-profit organization... or a stealth political action committee. Blaming the victim... Yesiree, that's Boss Godfrey's standard dilatory tactic, alright!

44 comments:

Jennifer said...

That is quite the artickle! Wow, a lot of information disseminated and good concise reporting -- straight and to the point, no hem-hawing around. Can't wait for the Nov. 16th report ...

TLJ

althepal said...

"Godfrey’s staff initially said the mayor would be willing to discuss Envision Ogden but later declined to respond to emailed questions. Shreve did not return messages requesting his comment. Johnson could not be reached by deadline."

Looks like the main characters in this story are already "lawyered up."

Curmudgeon said...

Al:

Hmmmm. Have to wonder, can the Mayor's sheltering behind the fifth amendment be far off now?

Curmudgeon said...

And while we once again have to read what we should be reading in the Standard Examiner someplace else first --- sometimes WCF, this time the Salt Lake City Weekly --- we ought to at least give a nod to the SE since one of its stories on Envision Ogden/FNURE played a role in triggering the state's investigation... such as it was so far.

The SE, sadly, did not continue to follow the story, did not continue to dig, and so its readers have to find the latest on what's happening on this Ogden story someplace else.

So many chances. So many missed opportunities.

Stephen M. Cook said...

I thought it was American Nutrition with all the buzzing and grinding noise; it turns out to be the sound of paper shredding I can hear late into the night?

But seriously, one can simply superficially look at the various "creative financing" schemes, the plots and false starts, the money pulled out of nowhere, and the quick and thoughtless infrastructure development, insider-dealing, Gadi Leshams involvement: and see that something is amiss and requires investigating.

Seriously, it took this long for someone to notice the cooked books and lucre sluice? Perhaps the bright-eyed and gullible daughter of someone "higher-up" got burned in the condo deposit scam?

natas said...

What report is Schroeder putting out on the 16th (final line of story)? Also, how hard would it have been to spell Schroeder's name correct? Mistakes are acceptable on a post on a blog, but not in a print publication like the City Weekly. All in all, a good story, though - maybe the Standard could learn a thing or two here in terms of investigative journalism or just putting out an important story.

Slim Finger said...

You spell Satan, "natas"? I am going to start calling Godfrey "yerf dog".

It's his new FNURE gang name.

Bee in my Bonnet said...

LMFAO!! --> slim

Danny said...

What about tax fraud?

Envision Ogden was listed as a non profit, not as a political group. Did its "donors" take a tax deduction? If so, I suggest they back out of that fast, and re-file their taxes.

Envision Ogden was clearly a money laundering and tax fraud operation, nothing more.

Next, is this great line.

McKay-Dee and SelectHealth—the insurance arm of Intermountain—donated $500 each “in hopes of gaining a stronger position with Mayor Godfrey and his consideration as an insurance option to Ogden City employees,”

You mean, "pay to play"? You mean, "bribery"? Gee, could it be that the "naysayers" were right all along?

been waiting for this said...

Holy crap! Fruhwirth has posted a follow-up blog with Godfrey's answers to his questions. Godfrey doesn't take the 5th, he admits that he solicited most of the contributions to Envision Ogden and also had input into which candidates received their political contributions.

http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/blog-4562-envision-ogden-more-revelations.html

Targ the Inscrutable said...

If you are going to be a crook, at least be a competent crook; and do not sell out your city in the processes.
By the responses to the e-mails, it looks like Godfrey is throwing Shreve and others under the bus.

It is also telling to note that our Mayor does not have a memory for uncomfortable details.
When asked a question he could not answer without perjuring himself, or incriminating himself, he goes straight to the old greasy politician standby: variations of: "I do not recall".

Now, at least we are going to find out exactly who the principles are in FNURE.
And perhaps, finally, Godfrey will receive his long-overdue day in court.

Hats off to the Professor.

Curmudgeon said...

Been Waiting:

Thanks for the pointer to the extra material on line.

Curmudgeon said...

And just for fun, the poll the SE is running today [low down right hand column of its web home page] asks this question: "Which Utah leader would make the best US President?"

You may vote for your favorite from among these seven: Rob Bishop, Orrin Hatch, Jim Matheson, Gary Herbert, Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz and... bringing up the rear so to speak... Matthew Godfrey.

Somebody over there in the SE newsroom... ooops, sorry, I meant Content Center... has a puckish sense of humor.

Inexplicably, the SE did not include a "none of the above" option. Pity. Meant I couldn't vote.

BAT_girl said...

St. Stephen............

I am always glad to see you pop back into this discussion. I hope I also have you to thank for the UP DATES on the otherwise myopic OGDEN VALLEY UTAH FORUM, in the run up opportunity for ALL UTAHNS to VOTE CORROON. Based on the outcome, my innate stat / finder posts that WC & OV residents..........did not.

For those of us outsiders who have chosen the gentle, gentile north = Weber County, in which to reside, Jesse Fruhwirth's reporting that Envision OGDEN puts O-TOWN in the spotlight, even in an insider town like SLC, is welcome relief. I know I can speak for many intrepid WCF investigative reporters/ contributors, that WCF has been leading the charge to investigate and report on Envision OGDEN, ever since the JUNCTION opened 6.15.2007.

NB. When you punch ENVISION OGDEN on the WCF right-hand side bar LABEL, you get 26 different articles that have appeared in WCF, from fall of 2007 on. NOTE also that in these articles & comments are links to articles in the SE, whose comments sections link back to WCF:

ENVISION OGDEN
http://wcforum.blogspot.com/search/label/Envision%20Ogden

We can all thank intrepid perpetrators of REASON, the Rudi and Dan S. Show, for doggedly shaking the bone of EO PAC, regularly, with greater detail in the backstory emerging, over time.

For those of us cryptic enough to think that KEITH OLBERMANN's short vacation was just an MSNBC RATINGS stunt, I applaud Mr. Fruhwirth's 2 part CW investigation. For those of you who enjoyed part #1, now read:

ENVISION OGDEN: more revelations
http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/blog-4562-envision-ogden-more-revelations.html

(BTW........thanks RUDI for posting that link while I wrote)

BAT_girl said...

ST. Stephen........I continue,

.......I appreciate the fact that Mr. Fruhwirth divided his reporting into 2 insertions, and went on CW today, in blog, to include Mayor Godfrey's late-arriving email response.

NOTE also that Mr. Fruhwirth, who now lives in greater SLC, hails, at least last, from Madison. Yes Wisconsin, that Madison. Which is just one more reason why I am glad DAN S. chose Mr. Fruhwirth to work with. We have all had enough of Mr. Schwebke's reporting on EO & EO.org. Mr. Schewebke's background in FLA. journalism & his religions affiliation, as well as whatever affiliations the SE perceives itself to have, does not give Mr. Schewebke the cutting edge mind that Mr. Fruhwirth possesses. THANK GOD (she) the state of liberal journalism is carried on in UTAH by Mr. Fruhwirth in the platforms of SL CW. 30 Years +/- of intrepid counter-dominant-culture journalism and NO SURPRISE they published Mr. Fruhwirth's ENVISION OGDEN's OP ED pieces, ongoing, just as Mr. Fruhwirth envisioned his own opinion.

I doubt CW will have any backward-thinking thoughts, and make Mr. Fruhwirth recind his opinions on EO PAC, money laundering & campaign finance fraud in 0-TOWN, etc., etc.

As for the rest of us out-of-towners who have somehow landed along the Wasatch, reading Mr. Fruhwirth's Op Eds on Wasatch Front / politics as usual........from Envision OGDEN PAC to UTAH-based Prison Management Companies who supported the Arizona Immigration Reform "Law"..............is satisfying investigative journalism, right up there with K Olbermann, R Maddow, A Cooper.

Living in Utah and reading Mr. Fruhwirth's journalism is more satisfying that signing, one more time, a petition for UTAHNS FOR AN ETHICAL GOVERNMENT. Even more satisfying is knowing that SL CW will back him, all the way.

Godfrey is on the path of evil said...

"And perhaps, finally, Godfrey will receive his long-overdue day in court."

From my point of view, I'm hoping that Godfrey will ultimately receive an all expenses paid, taxpayer-funded ten-year "vacation" in scenic Draper, Utah, where over the time of a possible ten-year stretch, he can learn about the virtues of "honesty" and "humility."

Curmudgeon said...

BG:

I like Mr. F's reporting too, and I have thought for a long time now that the CW does the best investigative reporting in the state. And I've been a frequent critic of the SE's less than vigorous pursuit of home town stories like today's in the SE.

Nevertheless, the grounds you offer for dismissing the SE's reporting on such matters seem in some instances... well, irrelevant.

E.g., you wrote suggest " Mr. Schewebke's background in FLA. journalism" is one reason the SE has not pursued the story as it should have. Seems to me experience in Florida would be excellent preparation for covering political scandals. Not as good as working in New Jersey, Mississippi, Louisiana or Ohio, of course, but still pretty good if political scandal or government corruption is your beat.

The SE editors get the kind of reporting they want, I think, and if reporting on a particular story is too pitty-pat and tip-toey [as it sometimes has been], the main problem lies I think with the news editors.

Biker Babe said...

just in case you're interested in the details (cuz that's where the devil is)

click here

js,
BB

BAT_girl said...

Curm,

While celebrating that UTAH'S best investigative Journalist to date, I have no intention of lowering myself into name calling, re Journalists of other (than CW) Utah dailies/ weeklies. GOD(she) bless the speed of online updates. WCF, CW and all.

My point about Schwebke being from Florida and Mormon is to say that I think his investigative journalism would be, as you say........."too pitty-pat and tip-toey (sic)........" even if he wrote for CW. I would say the same for and of DOUG FABRIZIO of UTAH NPR. Even if he just wrote and I did not have to hear Doug's.........."too pitty-pat and tip-toey (sic)........".........voice. AS we know, RADIO WEST is broadcast out of the studios of U of U, ie. the BEST & BRIGHTEST of Utah.

I would also like to thank Mr. Fruhwirth for wrapping his brain around so much O-TOWN politics, going back to Jan 2007, and coming up with a clearly-stated investigative time line with no side-wacking trills. So much of CW pieces, written by WASATCH FRONT locals, panders to Utah State Culture. FABRIZIO is a Utah Local too. I turn Doug off, until I can get national programing on NPR, like CAR TALK.

Enough already. Mr. Fruhwirth's reporting, even on local O-TOWN campaign finance abuse, etc., is refreshingly NATIONAL in mind set, taking into account that the US of A has the best "democracy" currently available, globally. Utah will never VOTE IN campaign finance reform, from the STATE level. Rather than wait, we can at least / today.......... get a review, from a well-established, news-reporting, Wasatch Front weekly, of issues that some UTAHNS care about: ethics in government.

googleboy said...

FNURE... rhymes with manure

Womb Broom said...

Smitty's tire and service?
So, they have an official Envision vehicle.

And, the Ben Lomond was in for nearly ten grand?
Pretty sweet from a hotel that has not in decades, on the books, made a profit.

Godfrey is going to hang.

Danny said...

It's important to remember that Godfrey, at this stage, can still decline to run for reelection. He can still portray himself as a "successful" mayor who "rejuvenated" Ogden.

While we know both would be a blatant lie, he could still pull it off. But not after he's been indicted, he couldn't.

Now would be a good time for Godfrey to take the inevitable "Assistant City Manager" job with Cleveland or Detroit, or the "City Manager" job in Missoula.

Or some such thing. You get the idea. He could even get a raise.

And it would be good for him to be living in another state within the next six months. It could save a lot of trouble - like being fitted for one of those orange suits.

Listen to me, Matt.

Oh and Abe, isn't it about time for another "What's happenin' in Ogden" You Tubes, you corrupt little mouse? We miss those. Don't let us down.

BAT_girl said...

If anyone has gotten bored, here is a link to the weirdest NEWSWEEK article on employment in METRO SLC. Reading it makes me wonder if THIS journalist moonlights for BEHIND THE ZION CURTAIN:

Promised Land: How Utah became the new economic ZION

Dan S. said...

Stay tuned, everyone. Sounds like the daily papers may pick up this story next!

Danny said...

If anyone is even more bored, and wants to get back on subject as well as getting a chance to see an Abe Shreeve video, here's one.

Video Here

I find it interesting for these reasons.

Abe and his buddy head off into the cold, unprepared. Their unpreparedness is something they almost seem proud of. Remind you of anybody? Yeah, Godfrey.

They are supposed to go to work the next day, they say. Ha ha. Responsibility?? That comes LAST. Yeah, Godfrey.

There are also videos of his trip to Nepal on YouTube. Always, we see Abe Shreeve in his videos only in the company of other men. I'm not saying anything per se, I'm just sayin'.

Example Video

What is a Shreve? said...

Well, sure, men. Manly men. Men who enjoy the company of other men.

Personally, I like going camping with women, but that is just me.

AWM said...

Danny..Godfrey city manager of Missoula?..as in Montana?? There's women walking around that town with chunks of guys in their stool thougher than Godfrey and he knows it...that's why he's here in gentile Ogden.

BAT_girl said...

DAN S. said: "Stay tuned, everyone. Sounds like the daily papers may pick up this story next!"

I sure hope its SL TRIBUNE, not the SE. As per above, SE via Schwebke will not shed any new news on ENVISION OGDEN/ PAC. Schwebke has had his chance.

SO......WCF Politicos, if Mayor Godfrey, like BLAGOJYAVITCH, is asked to step down as Mayor, who take over? OC CEO John Paterson?

If John Patterson ran for OC Mayor in NOV 2011, would he win?

Biker Babe said...

Bat-girl
... I'm gettin' the soap ...

js.
BB

Danny said...

Another on-topic comment, of the sort Dan S. and Curm would like, perhaps even made themselves.

So we know that these donors, McKay Dee Hospital, Ogden Regional, and all those banks and others that gave all that money, all thought they were giving to an outdoor promotion non profit, certainly NOT a political committee.

But Godfrey says he always thought of Envision Ogden as a political entity. And it was Godfrey who solicited the money from these people.

So how then, did they get the idea it was something other than what it was, and from whom did they get that FALSE idea, hmmmmm?

And note that Envision Ogden has taken in a remarkable $87,342, but only shows having spent $79,676.

So what happened to the other $7666?

Trip to Nepal, perhaps?

Think about that, the next time you look at your hospital bill.

Money to political campaigns, trip to Nepal perhaps. Yes, that aspirin they gave you really costs $100.

Wazoo said...

Yeah, can't wait for the Standard Examiner spin - major PR control for Godfrey and friends.

BlameJohnssonNotMe said...

Blain Johnson, former councilman and currently an attorney in Ogden being investigated in this article has definitely "lawyered up". Let's hope the Mayor does right and throws Blain under the bus with his other cronies. It will be interesting to see how this effects Johnson Law Firm.

Dorrene Jeske said...

After four years of dealing with Godfrey, BWFT, TtI, and Curm, I can assure you that Little Matt has no fear of moving to Draper. My guess is that he is hanging Abe Shreve out to take the rap. He wouldn’t admit to anything that could possibly land him in prison. (Abe should break down and dump a load on the investigators and save his own skin -- Godfrey isn't worth it -- he's already owned by the Devil.) But if by chance he did end up there, he would have a great time reuniting with some of his old buddies like Val Southwick. Another quote for you: “Birds of a feather flock together.”
Curm stated, “The SE editors get the kind of reporting they want, I think, and if reporting on a particular story is too pitty-pat and tip-toey [as it sometimes has been], the main problem lies I think with the news editors.” That often is the case, but Schwebke is a perfect “brown-noser.” I have seen him more than once taking the elevator to the 9th floor after a council work meeting, and head-to-head with Little Matt after a Council meeting. I know for a fact that he was NOT at the Council meeting Jan. 10, 2006, when the council members asked questions of the rep from Ernsts. The story that made headlines and editorial fodder were straight from an angry Godfrey who was out to teach the new council members to bow down and do what they were told. I know! I received a phone call at 8:35 the next morning from his secretary who said that the Mayor wanted to see me in his office that morning. I told her that I had a meeting at 11:00 AM and could make it after that. A Council staff member offered to go with me, but my reply was that I wanted Godfrey to know that I wasn’t afraid of him. True to form, he started yelling at me before I even made it through the door to his conference room.
I asked for a copy of the contract between Ogden City and Envision Ogden when Envision Ogden had the “Sneak Preview of the Solomon Center Fundraiser” while I was on the Council. I was told that there had been no contract because the contractor had not turned the Solomon Center over to the City yet as they were wrapping up the last details. (But dates prove otherwise.) While Envision Ogden is being investigated, maybe a contract should be requested or subpoenaed from Envision Ogden. Seems to me that someone was taking a big risk because of liability and legality issues.
There are many facets to this incident. I hope they are all researched and no stone is left unturned. Only then is there half a chance that Godfrey will get what he has coming to him.

Curmudgeon said...

Many many moons ago, and far away, I got to know the managing editor of a Louisiana daily in the state capital. He'd been in the business a long time and occasionally, as part of the perks that came with some minor work I was doing for the paper, he'd stand me to lunch at the City Club where the town's movers, shakers and state legislators congregated daily in packs to cut deals. He'd point out over a lunch and a scotch or two who was likely to go to jail next, etc.[This was Louisiana after all.] Crusty old codger, but scrupulously fair and very demanding of [and protective of] what he called "my people." [First thing he gave to J-school grads who applied for jobs at his paper was a spelling test.]

But the thing that set him off most was having an out of town paper break a Baton Rouge story that his paper didn't have. If he had to run an important Baton Rouge story that started "The Alexandria Town Talk, in a copyrighted story, reported yesterday that...." it was wise for everyone on the city desk to slink quietly in and out of the office hoping not to be noticed.

If he was editing the SE today at BDO and saw an out of town alternative press weekly break significant home town news, you'd have heard the desk pounding and demand for answers clear out to Zucca's and beyond.

Bet there's a red face or two at the SE today. And if there isn't, there should be.

BAT_girl said...

Curm,

The SE has had more than enough time to look into all the details of Envision OGDEN/ PAC. Dan S. and others posting here, on all 26+ stories re: EO/ PAC, have given Schwebke and all more that enough to go on.

It's fantastic that SL CW decided to bother with a story in OGDEN. Since O-TOWN politics is not their beat.

Personally, I hope the SL TRIB takes up this story, since a state investigation is ongoing. If Campaign Finance Reform in UTAH has to start with this example of Campaign Finance Fraud in OGDEN, at least is is starting SOMEWHERE in Utah.

Who really cares what the SE does,.........or doesn't.

Dorrene Jeske said...

I was telling my husband last night that it would be really great if this Envision Ogden/Godfreygate caused people in Utah to demand a thorogh and honest investigation of the corruption in Utah politics (believe me, keeping Godfrey out of jail goes clear to the top in Utah politics!) Even the Grand Jury has swept things under the rug when colmplaints were filed and proof given that should have put Godfrey in jail!

It's a sad day when the people have no place to turn for justice because everyone in the justice system has caved into pressure from the top to save one skinny corrupt mayor!

Utah's and Ogden's pol.itics are just as dirty as any place in the nation!

OW Holmes said...

“Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends”

H.L. Mencken

Dan S. said...

My reaction to the Standard-Examiner article:

This article is so funny in so many ways.

On May 28, 2009, I told Executive Editor Andy Howell that the mayor had solicited contributions on behalf of Envision Ogden. He told me that wasn’t news, because “everybody knows” it already.

But now that the City Weekly has reported it, it’s suddenly news--and the Standard-Examiner is scrambling to catch up.

I suppose they would claim that the real news is the existence of an investigation. But they could have learned that a year and a half ago as well, if they had been curious enough to ask.

Instead, they dropped the story last year as soon as they saw that the trail was leading to Godfrey.

As for Mr. Thomas of the Lt. Governor’s office, since when is he an expert on criminal law? Yeah, there were a few minor violations of state election laws, but those are never enforced anyway. The real crimes, in this case, are far outside his area of expertise.

blackrulon said...

Matthew godfrey has no worries about being arrested for any alleged crimes. He has been assured by the city attorney Williams that a cure or healing is arriving soon.

Curmudgeon said...

BG:

You ask: Who really cares what the SE does,.........or doesn't.

I do. It's my home town paper. The only one I've got.

Curmudgeon said...

This is all great fun, having Hizzonah's questionable ethics and odd approach to fund raising ["It's the donor's job to ask me if I'm being honest about what I say I want the money for."], and some are beginning to chortle that Hizzonah should just bow out now to avoid losing at the polls if he runs again.

If I were Hizzonah and was thinking of running for another term, I wouldn't be too worried about not winning. [His crony won the Senate seat for Weber/Davis; Hansen lost re-election of a candidate of the realtors lobby; etc.]

And Godfrey has the five characteristics that all but guarantee him re-election:

1. He's a Republican.
2. He's LDS
3. He's backed by the Utah Association of Realtors.
4. He has a pulse. [Optional.]
5. He's not been caught in a hot tub with a naked minor not his spouse.

Barring an actual indictment for alleged criminal conduct, which is unlikely, I think he's in good shape for a 4th term if he wants one.

BlameJohnssonNotMe said...

In addition, support from these people and entities is forthcoming:

1. FNURE endorsement (now pronounced Utah Assoc. of Realtors)
2. Envision campaign funds (whatever spare change is left)
3. Blain Johnson's 100% support (to keep the bus from running over him)
4. Standard Examiner (this entertainment is priceless, comical and sells papers)
5. Abe Shreve (commissions are commissions)
6. Keith Olbermann (you can count on a $2500 donation)
7. Gary Williams (lest he be replaced by Blain Johnson)

Debtors Prison said...

Keith Olbermann?

No way he would support Godfrey.
Olbermann would ask to see bonafides.
Godfrey's claim to fame is he built non-essential infrastructure using schemes and debt, as that very same scheming and debt-encouraging financial scam collapsed around him.
All the while screaming: Screw the Naysayers! Full speed ahead!

insider now said...

Curmudgeon sums all of this stuff up nicely, "It's all great fun."

And that's all it's going to turn out to be, fun on the blog. Matt, Abe, Blaine, Royal--none of them--are going to have their hands held to the fire, so quit pretending they are and settle down.

But you might see a gondola tower or two on the rise.

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