Author Archive for Jeff Quinton

More details on legal judgement against Lollar campaign

 

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As I noted previously (based on a newspaper report), Rocketbase LLC has filed legal paperwork to garnish funds from the campaign of Charles Lollar. A newspaper report indicated that the Lollar campaign lost a judgement in court last month after being sued by Rocketbase for breach of contract for not paying bills owed. A judge in Fairfax County, Virginia ruled that the Lollar campaign owes Rocketbase $20,425 plus 6% interest going back to November. The Lollar campaign also owes court costs (apparently $46.) The newspaper report indicated that the Lollar campaign attempted to appeal the judgement but forfeited that opportunity by failing to pay a required bond within thirty days.

The news report indicated that Lollar himself attended the trial in January and that two senior campaign staffers testified. I understand that Bob Carlstrom, the current campaign manager who has had other roles as well, was one of the witnesses who testified. The other witness from the Lollar campaign was a female staffer who may have been a volunteer coordinator at some point.

Lollar told The Washington Post that he didn’t know much about the situation other than it involved someone on his campaign who “fired” Rocketbase and the company “didn’t like that.”

Lollar also maintained ignorance about the judgement entered against his campaign by claiming he didn’t “know anything about that.”

Lollar also claimed he wasn’t sure about his campaign’s finances and wouldn’t be until May when finance reports are due. He refused to comment on whether he attended the trial and said he needed to talk to his campaign manager. Lollar comes across as clueless at best in the exchange with the reporter.

I have obtained he initial filing from December 20, 2013 and it is embedded below. It includes the Software/Service Subscription Agreement signed by both Bob Carlstrom (who was then the Finance Commitee Chair for the Lollar campaign) and Robert R.R. Marston, Chief Operating Officer for Rocketbase. Among other things, the document includes the terms of payment and a fee schedule with details of what each amount was for. Additionally, the consequences for late or missed payments are spelled out in detail.

I am working to acquire the rest of the publicly available legal documents in this case and I will post them when I have them.

Warrant in Debt: Bill of Particulars

44,000 voters registered in both Maryland and Virginia

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Watchdog.org

 A crosscheck of voter rolls in Virginia and Maryland turned up 44,000 people registered in both states, a vote-integrity group reported Wednesday.

And that’s just the beginning.

“The Virginia Voters Alliance is investigating how to identify voters who are registered and vote in Virginia butlive in the states that surround us,” Alliance President Reagan George told the State Board of Elections.

George acknowledged that the number of voters who actually cast multiple ballots is relatively small. In the case of Maryland and Virginia, he revealed that 164 people voted in both states during the 2012 election.

Vote early and vote often.

Mizeur’s (Unpaid) Campaign Fellows must provide own phone & laptop

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The campaign of Heather Mizeur is looking for Mizeur Campaign Fellows. Some of the positions are Finance Fellows. While the job description says they have both full-time and part-time positions available, there also is this note: “All positions are unpaid and you must provide your own phone and laptop. The fellowship requires a minimum of 15 hours per week as best fits your schedule.”

An online application on the Mizeur campaign’s website makes no mention of the phone or laptop requirements but does indicate there is a 16 hour requirement per week. Campaigns rely on volunteers and unpaid interns, especially Republican candidates in Maryland who, even at the statewide level, often give unpaid staffers jobs with a lot of responsibility and importance. However, the Mizeur Campaign Fellows program is a little bit different since it doesn’t bill itself as a traditional internship or volunteers. What volunteer role have you ever seen anywhere that required a minimum amount of time per week? That’s on top of the requirement you provide your own laptop. A posting on the website of the College Democrats at George Washington University links to the application on the campaign website. This job description doesn’t mention the laptop and phone requirements either.

The text below is from a job posting that was listed on a job site Tuesday April 22, 2014:

Candidates selected as Mizeur Campaign Fellows will have the opportunity to work closely with staff to achieve critical campaign goals. Both part-time and full-time positions are available. Successful candidates will receive hands-on experience and valuable training in political fundraising in a competitive Democratic primary and the NGP database. Ideal candidates will be hard working, team-oriented, and posess an interest in Democratic politics. All positions are unpaid and you must provide your own phone and laptop. The fellowship requires a minimum of 15 hours per week as best fits your schedule.

Finance Fellows will assist in the following aspects of the fundraising team:

  • Assist staff in planning and running fundraisers
  • Contact supporters for contribution commitments over the phone
  • Assist staff with candidate call-time
  • Execute donor research and call list preparation using NGP

Of course many liberals and progressives (and Mizeur embraces the latter label) have been campaigning to end unpaid internships. NBC News reported on that effort:

Frustrated, [Mikey] Franklin decided to co-found the Fair Pay Campaign, a grassroots effort that officially launches on Labor Day to “end unpaid internships in America.” The message is simple, he said: “No one should have to work for free to get ahead.”

Franklin is one of a growing number of disgruntled workers who have begun to challenge the fairness — and legality — of the unpaid internship, a fact of life for young Americans hoping to pad their resumes and gain experience. In June, a Federal District Court judge in Manhattan ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated federal and New York minimum wage laws by failing to pay two interns working on the film “Black Swan.”

When the suit was filed two years ago, it was the first of its kind. Now interns have waged more than 20 lawsuits against companies such as the Hearst Corporation, Conde Nast, Atlantic Records, and Gawker Media. [Former interns filed suit in July against NBCUniversal, earlier this year; the company began paying interns.]

These lawsuits cite the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that an employer using unpaid interns provide training and gain “no immediate advantage” from the trainee. This criteria would appear to make most internships illegal; interns often perform menial, not meaningful, tasks. (Perhaps employers realize this when they look at resumes for employee hires; unpaid interns experienced no advantage in the job market, and no higher starting salary, compared to students who had not completed internships, according to a survey of 20,000 students conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.)

Ross Perlin, author of “Intern Nation,” thinks this wave of suing and organizing signals the “beginning of the end” of unpaid gigs, at least in the private sector. “Unpaid internships may soon reach a tipping point where they’ll lose their luster,” he said. “Awareness is just spreading and spreading.”

It will be interesting to look into the campaign finance rules and then at Mizeur’s next campaign finance filing as it relates to campaign usage of laptops and phones that belong to the Fellows.

More on religious discrimination suit against CCBC

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Yesterday, I wrote about the lawsuit filed against the Community College of Baltimore County by the ACLJ on behalf of Brandon Jenkins, a prospective radiation therapy student. The suit alleges that Jenkins was discriminated against due to his expression of his religious beliefs.

The individuals named in the suit include President Sandra Kurtinitis of CCBC, Vice President of Instruction Mark McColloch, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Richard Lilley, and Adrienne Dougherty, who I mentioned yesterday is the Program Director and Coordinator of Radiation Therapy.

From the complaint:

CCBC’s admission policy to the Radiation Therapy program is based on a three-part point system with the following weighted areas: (1) Prerequisite GPA – 30%; (2) Interview & Observation Day – 40%; and (3) Writing Sample and Critical Thinking Exam – 30%.

The complaint notes that, at the time of his interview, Jenkins was Director of Harvest House, Inc., “a faith-based home for
men working to overcome life-controlling problems.”

The complaint notes that nothing was said to Jenkins at the interview about his response about God and he later learned he was rejected for admission to the program.

The complaint says that:

This came as a surprise to Mr. Jenkins because his overall GPA exceeded the standards of a “competitive candidate” for the program, as described in CCBC’s admissions catalog. In addition, Mr. Jenkins had received the maximum points allowed on the observation
portion of the interview day (which consisted of 40% of his overall score for admission)

Dougherty responded to Jenkins when he asked why he was rejected:

34. Specifically, Defendant Dougherty explained that while Mr. Jenkins’s grades were good, “there were other students who had higher GPA scores, which [accounts for] 30% of the evaluation process.” See Exhibit A.
35. Defendant Dougherty then listed the reasons why Mr. Jenkins lost points during his interview, offering the following explanation:
I understand that religion is a major part of your life and that was evident in your  recommendation letters, however, this field is not the place for religion. We have many patients who come to us for treatment from many different religions and  some who believe in nothing at all. If you interview in the future, you may want to leave your thoughts and beliefs out of the interview process.

Another reason Dougherty reportedly told Jenkins he was rejected was because he wanted to stay in Maryland.

Also from the complaint:

Defendant Dougherty’s reasoning was somewhat puzzling to Mr. Jenkins because, although Defendant Dougherty referred to aspects of Mr. Jenkins’s past that she felt might make it difficult for him to gain employment in Maryland, neither these areas of his past nor Mr. Jenkins’s willingness to work outside the State of Maryland following completion of the Radiation Therapy Program were raised in his admissions interview. Instead, during the interview, Mr. Jenkins was asked only if he preferred to stay in Maryland after school, to which he simply replied, “Yes.”

You may hear in the future that Jenkins has a criminal record and that had something to do with why he was rejected.

From the complaint:

40. Defendant Dougherty’s reasoning is also inconsistent with prior communications Mr. Jenkins had with her.

41. Early in the admission process, and prior to Mr. Jenkins’s submission of his application to the Radiation Therapy Program, Mr. Jenkins had specifically inquired of Defendant Dougherty whether a single criminal charge he received more than ten (10) years ago would interfere with his ability to obtain a job following completion of the Radiation Therapy Program.

42. Defendant Dougherty assured Mr. Jenkins that a former student of the Radiation Therapy Program had successfully obtained a job in Washington, D.C., despite his criminal record.

43. At that time, Defendant Dougherty further assured Mr. Jenkins that any uncertainty regarding his ability to obtain a job in Maryland would not be a reason not to accept him into the program.

I have not been able to find what exactly the criminal charge was. Regardless of what it might be, the facts presented in the complaint are troubling.

I talked to one attorney who had the following to say about the suit and some of the new facts above.

Apparently his grades and record, if true, did not stop him from getting an interview.

Even poor workers and students have a right not to face religious discrimination, particularly with specific intent

Specifically, the attorney I talked to said the following about the criminal record:

The college will raise that at trial, but I don’t see that going anywhere

Another thing to note: In addition to state funding, CCBC gets $46.7 million, or about 17 percent of its total funding, from Baltimore County.

Here’s the full complaint that ACLJ filed:

14 04 09 Jenkins Complaint

Oregon Energy Plant Burning Aborted Babies From Canada to Generate Electricity

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Life News has the story:

An energy plant in Oregon is reportedly burning aborted babies from Canada to generate electricity.

The British Columbia Catholic Herald newspaper reported in its edition this week that the remains of aborted and miscarried children from the Canadian province are likely being mixed with everyday trash and sent to an energy plant in Oregon. The paper contacted the British Columbia Health Ministry and received a response back saying that “biomedical waste,” including “human tissue” and “fetal tissue” are being disposed of through officially approved contractors. The provincials officials also confirmed some of that “waste” is shipped to Oregon.

The governmental officials also stressed that all provincial laws are being followed as that “waste” is being processed.

“The ministry understands that some is transferred to Oregon. There it is incinerated in a waste-to-energy plant,” the email to the Catholic newspaper indicated.

According to the paper, the Oregon plant in question is located in Brookes, Oregon.

This comes on the heels of a recent report that as many 15,000 aborted babies were burned in England to produce heat to warm a hospital.