Thursday, August 16, 2007

More on the City Hall — County Commission Cover-Up

I’m continuing to go through the County Commission records obtained through my Open Records Act request related to the Abukar Arman cover-up and pseudo-investigation. In my previous post, “Anatomy of a cover-up on Abukar Arman”, we saw through a series of email exchanges that Mayor Coleman’s office was giving direction to Democratic Party public officials and political staff to bury this matter as deeply as possible. We saw that in response to the Abukar Arman story, the Franklin County Commission’s Public Information Director Hanna Greer admitted to instituting an Orwellian “proactive strategy of not responding” — a betrayal of her responsibilities to the public she is paid to serve. Why exactly is she still employed with such an admission?

Another interesting email I have discovered in the ~250 pages of documentation is the following email from Mike Brown, Mayor Coleman’s spokesman, and Greer, where she had forwarded a note from Abukar Arman to everyone at the County Commission and the Planning Board. What it clearly shows is that Brown interjected himself right into the middle of the Arman matter, giving direction to law enforcement, even though it had absolutely nothing to do with City Hall:

From: Brown, Michael S.
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2007 11:55 AM
To: Greer, Hanna M.
Subject: RE: SPAM-An Important Issue That I Would Like To Share With the Board

I’ve sent a message of concern over this issue to Police and the DOJ to look into. Please keep that under your hat.
Exactly who is Mike Brown that he believes as spokesman for the Mayor he can direct the Columbus Police and the Department of Justice/FBI on a matter entirely unrelated to Columbus City government? Why was it necessary for anyone to keep it under their hat? What exactly was this “message of concern”? That there was a terror apologist on the Planning Board and that it needed looking into, or that someone had exposed a vulnerability to local Democrats that needed a whitewash post haste? This raises a troubling issue: who was running the show, and were they primarily interested in political fallout or public safety?

In that previous post, I speculated on what exactly this exchange might mean:

7) Later this week I will be posting another separate email from Michael Brown to Hanna Greer informing her that he had contacted Columbus Police and the DOJ on the Abukar Arman matter. Why did he do this, when all I had accused him of was publicly voicing support for terrorist organizations while serving on the Criminal Justice Planning Board? He initiated these law enforcement investigations so that Arman could be “cleared” of my supposed charges, when in fact they had nothing to do with my original FrontPage report. Again, this email between Brown and Greer had already been provided to the Columbus Dispatch, who was apparently not interested in the public corruption angle of this story; but instead, chose to be a part of it.
Could there be another explanation for this? Perhaps, but Mike Brown’s actions at City Hall as expressed in his email exchange with County Commission Public Information Director Hanna Greer and fellow Democratic political operatives and staff in town was about giving direction to cover the exposed rears of his fellow Democrats on the County Commission, and they followed his advice to the letter, eventually making the investigation they had promised vanish. This all transpired and the plan of action established amongst them all before anyone had a chance to investigate my claims regarding Abukar Arman’s public statements in support for terrorists.

Brown’s concern is understandable, seeing that Abukar Arman was just a step away from the Mayor himself though Arman’s business partner, Ahmad Al-Akhras, one of the Mayor’s closest political advisors. For anything to be confirmed about Arman’s public apology for terrorist could very well end up getting hung on Mayor Coleman as well. Brown needed something from law enforcement saying, “No, he’s not a terrorist”, as a diversion so that they could avoid having to address Arman’s repeated statements of support for terrorists. It was best not to have too many people asking about the matter and sniffing around the Mayor, which necessitated Brown’s directive to stonewall anyone but friendly “credible media” and to have predetermined answers at-hand if those calls ever came.

And when that call came from the friendly “credible media”, a warning signal was sent from Greer to Brown:

-----Original Message-----
From: Greer, Hanna M.
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 4:01 PM
To: Brown, Michael S.
Subject: FW: Information Request from Barb Carmen


I wanted to make you aware that this Public Records Request has come to my attention this afternoon.


-----Original Message-----
From: Brown, Michael S.
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 4:03 PM
To: Greer, Hanna M.
Subject: RE: Information Request from Barb Carmen

Again, the Columbus Dispatch had all of this information, but apparently had no interest in the City Hall and County Commission cover-up, but just participating in it.

The documents also indicate that the stonewall ordered by Brown wasn’t limited to just City Hall and the County Commission. A memo dated July 11th from Hanna Greer to the County Commissioners that indicates that Columbus Public Schools Director of Communications Jeffrey Warner had also adopted the stonewall strategy, and was coordinating the School Board’s response in tandem with Mike Brown at City Hall and Greer at the County Commission:


I was contacted today by Jeff Warner the Communications Director for the Columbus Public Schools (CPS) because he received a call from Patrick Poole a reporter with concerning the School Districts employment of Abukar Arrnan. Patrick has written an article (below) entitled Columbus’ Hometown Jihad in which he alleges that Mr. Arman is a prominent defender of the Al-Quaeda [sic] backed ICU terrorist organization and that CPS, Franklin County and Columbus have chosen him to serve on our boards.

In an e-mail to Jeff, Patrick asked who exactly made the decision to recommend Mr. Arman for an appointment to the Franklin County Criminal Justice Planning Board and what the considerations were involved in making the appointment. Jeff does not plan to respond to this e-mail request but he did contact Mike Brown and me so that we coordinate a response to future questions.

Patrick Poole has not contacted the county Public Affairs staff and at this point, I do not intend to contact him. I wanted to bring this electronic article to your attention and will be working to prepare a response in the event the county receives questions about Mr. Arman’s appointment and/or service to Franklin County.

Thus far we have seen three public officials holding positions responsible for communicating with the public betrayed that trust and refused to answer any further questions in a coordinated effort to stonewall the public on this matter: Hanna Greer, Franklin County Commission Public Information Director; Mike Brown, spokesman for Mayor Michael Coleman’s office; and Jeffrey Warner, Communications Director for the Columbus Public Schools.

Why do these three individuals still have jobs? Perhaps someone should ask their bosses, because it seems likely the establishment media in Columbus never will: