Saturday, December 7, 2019

Meahwhile In Bevinstan...

The big scandal this weekend in the NKY is Kenton County Family Court Judge Dawn Gentry, who is apparently a refugee from a Scott Turow legal thriller in real life.

The judge is accused of seeking to or having sex with people she employed and appointed to a panel designed to help abused children. There are three people connected to those claims.

Katherine Schulz reportedly quit a panel the judge appointed her to after the judge flirted with her via Snapchat, pressured her to seduce the judge’s husband and asked her to join the judge and a former church pastor in a threesome.

That former pastor is Stephen Penrose, who the judge hired as her case specialist after she reportedly asked the former specialist, Meredith Smith, to resign. Then, Gentry gave Penrose a salary $10,000 more than Smith’s, according to payroll records The Enquirer obtained through a Kentucky Open Records Act Request.

"You hired Stephen Penrose because you were engaged in a personal relationship with him, not on the basis of merit," investigators wrote.

Penrose and Gentry were in a band together, too, called South of Cincy. Penrose played guitar and Gentry was the bassist. The band's Facebook page was taken down Wednesday evening after reports of the investigation surfaced.

State investigators claimed Gentry and Penrose had a personal sexual relationship. Gentry also "improperly delegated judicial functions," to Penrose, according to the charges.

The investigation also claimed that the two engaged in sexual activities in a courthouse office during work hours with Gentry's secretary, Laura Aubrey. Gentry also approved inaccurate time sheets for Penrose and Aubrey, according to the charges.

But it gets worse.

The state alleged the judge appointed attorney Delana Sanders to the panel in exchange for her husband Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders' support. The Sanders donated quadruple the amount Mike Hummel donated to Gentry’s campaign. Hummel was removed from the panel shortly after the election, he told The Enquirer.
The Sanders donated a combined total of $3,450. Hummel donated $750, according to public campaign finance records.

The state claimed Gentry coerced attorneys on the panel designed to help abused children to donate the maximum amount to her 2018 reelection campaign.

Gentry, a Republican, became judge in 2016 when outgoing Gov. Matt Bevin picked her to fill a vacancy. She was re-elected to a four-year-term in 2018.

The judge, according to the charges, also required panel members to serve on her campaign's finance committee and asked an attorney to put up a campaign sign while they were in court.

Ahh, but she's a Republican after all, and the whole point of Republican-appointed judges is to be reprehensibly cruel.

When people didn't do what the judge wanted, she retaliated, state investigators claim.

She retaliated against:
  • Former case specialist Meredith Smith for not sufficiently supporting the judge's campaign.
  • Attorney Mike Hummel for failing to make the maximum donation to her campaign and declining to campaign on your behalf by removing him from the panel.
  • Attorneys who did not support her campaign by delaying hearing dates for their cases.
  • School liaison officer Kelly Blevins for supporting her opponent in the 2018 election.

It seems Gentry wasn't honest with the commission about some of their inquiries.

"You failed to be candid and honest with the Commission in a previous inquiry regarding the appointment of Ms. Sanders and the firing of Ms. Smith and Mr. Hummel, as well as about the quality of Mr. Hummel’s work on the GAL panel," the documents read.

So had an affair on company time, took campaign money from her lovers, extorted her staff and attorneys who appeared before her, abused the power of her office to harm people who didn't do her bidding, and of course she was appointed by outgoing asshole Gov. Matt Bevin.

A real piece of work, this one.

Par for the course for the GOP though.

A Win In Her Corner

There are times when I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is obnoxious, but she absolutely scored a win over one of the biggest companies on Earth this week.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed Amazon's announcement that it's building a headquarters in New York City, but touted the fact that it will not receive any financial incentives from the local or state government.

“Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway - *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways,” she tweeted.

“Maybe the Trump admin should focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families.”

The comments come after The Wall Street Journal reported that the tech giant has agreed to take new office space in Manhattan, a reversal from February when it announced it would not open a second headquarters in New York City.

Amazon said it had signed a new lease for a 335,000 square-foot space on Manhattan’s West Side, where it will take on more than 1,500 employees; yet in a silver lining for progressives, the move will not be accompanied by any special tax credits or other financial incentives.

Ocasio-Cortez was one of the leading opponents to Amazon’s move to the city, arguing that the city would shell out billions in incentives to attract the company and that the move would raise real estate prices beyond the means of local residents, forcing many to move.

The New York progressive claimed victory Friday, citing criticism she got for pushing against the move, which Amazon supporters said would attract thousands of jobs.

Indeed, the Trump regime lit into her saying she was personally responsible for destroying thousands of that Amazon was going to create anyway 10 months later, and without the $3 billion extortion fee from a company that paid zero taxes yet again this year on $11 billion in profits.

Say what you will about AOC, but her victory was near total on this issue, and more Democrats need to stand up to massive corporations and say "no more" when it comes to taxpayer incentives on companies that don't pay taxes.

It's About Suppression, Con't

Republicans continue to whine about the "Do-Nothing Democrats" who "are fixated on impeachment" and "won't pass legislation" while House Democrats are perfectly capable of passing legislation and are doing so.

In fact, House Democrats are passing legislation that House Republicans refused to pass when they were in power, like the now long-overdue fix to the Voting Rights Act, gutted by the Supreme Court six years ago because John Roberts decided that racism in voting didn't exist anymore, and that Congress needed to take care of updating it for the 21st century.

That's exactly what House Democrats did on Friday, with the help of precisely one Republican (and Justin Amash and everyone else voted against it.)

Six years after the Supreme Court stripped key parts of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, America’s signature legislation protecting voters of color, the House of Representatives passed a bill meant to restore those safeguards.

In a mostly party-line vote, the legislation was approved 228-187. The Voting Rights Advancement Act, introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), is a key part of Democrats’ agenda to expand voting rights. It would make it more difficult for states to discriminate against voters of color, and give the federal government a stronger ability to take action against states with a history of discrimination.
In a 2018 interview, Sewell bluntly described strict voter ID laws as “modern-day forms of voter suppression.”

“While we no longer have to count how many jelly beans are in a jar or recite all of the 67 counties of Alabama in order to be able to vote, we are seeing greater efforts putting restrictions on voting in the name of fraud,” she told Vox, referencing Jim Crow-era tactics used to keep black Alabamians from voting. She represents Selma, Alabama, a city that was at the forefront of the 1960s civil rights movement.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act is designed to restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act that were invalidated by the US Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision. Way back at the beginning of the legislative session, it was initially tucked into HR 1, the sweeping anti-corruption bill that was Democrats’ first priority of the year. Lawmakers ultimately decided to break it out because Sewell and Democratic leaders anticipated the possibility of a long, drawn-out legal battle over the voting rights bill — potentially all the way up to the US Supreme Court.

The main argument of the Roberts Court decision in 2013 was that the formula for determining which states were subject to pre-clearance of state voter laws was outdated.  The new formula in the VRAA would be dependent on the number of voting rights violations in a state in a ten-year period instead of specific states with a previous history, and it would define what a violation was, giving substantial oversight power to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

Amazingly enough, the pre-clearance formula would affect nearly all the states in the original VRA.

If Sewell’s bill were passed today, she would like the federal government to take a closer look at 13 states with a history of voter discrimination: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Arizona, California, New York, and Virginia.

“We can’t unring the bell,” Sewell added. “What we’ve seen is that since Shelby, more than 30 states have imposed greater requirements for voting, and in a lot of those states, we’ve seen elections take place that have later been found to have had intentional discrimination.”

Naturally, this will never get a vote in the Senate, and Mitch McConnell will continue to say that the Democrats haven't passed anything in the last year.

I wish Democrats would do more to point this out.
Related Posts with Thumbnails