Hey, Montgomery County

Do you want to ensure what happened to you with Montgomery County Schools and Joshua Powell never happens to you again?

Do you want to guarantee that sort of heinous, corrupt, good old boy mafioso crap ceases to exist in the Commonwealth of Kentucky?

Then please consider helping me keep that mountain of archived data online.

Click here.

$840.20 $550.21 (now remaining!) in storage fees doesn’t come easily when one is no longer pulling a salary from the website. Neither do hosting fees, registrar fees and the tens of thousands of dollars in open records request fees.

I didn’t ask any of the people who reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements – thanks primarily (you know it’s true, they know it’s true) to my time, effort and work – for anything. And some of them haven’t coughed up so much as a thank-you. So you corrupt hacks I ousted can quit with that line of ignorant gossip.

That’s why it’s important for you to consider chipping in if you or someone you know have benefitted from the work done here or recognize its importance.

You already know the state’s newspapers aren’t coming to your defense and won’t be spending 4.5 years working more than full-time to oust corruption. But I have and I will.

The Herald-Leader Repeatedly Failed Montgomery County For Years And Here’s A Perfect Reminder

***Care about the future of Kentucky? Help us cover FOIA and open records request fees relating to Matt Bevin and Jamie Comer.*** [CLICK HERE]

The best part about this story is that Valarie Honeycutt Spears didn’t bother to mention how all of these victims spent years reaching out to her for help. Only to be told that there was no story there, that Jake was mistaken, that there was nothing to see, move along. Welp, how bout them apples? More than four years of investigative journalism produced these results and the Herald-Leader couldn’t be bothered to mention that this isn’t new news. Partially out of bitterness toward someone doing their job for them and calling them lazy for missing the biggest education scandal in our lifetime… and partially out of trying to save face. [H-L]

Mitch McConnell is a lesser person than you thought. Capitol Police forcibly removed protesters gathered outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office on Thursday, with at least one photo showing drops of blood on the hallway floor. [HuffPo]

In recent days, American Airlines has been forced to cancel more than 40 flights in Phoenix. The reason: With daytime highs hovering around 120 degrees, it was simply too hot for some smaller jets to take off. Hotter air is thinner air, which makes it more difficult — and sometimes impossible — for planes to generate enough lift. As the global climate changes, disruptions like these are likely to become more frequent, researchers say, potentially making air travel costlier and less predictable with a greater risk of injury to travelers from increased turbulence. [NY Times]

Leave it to Matt Bevin to have a lesser understanding of the freedom of speech than the Kentucky Democratic Party. The Supreme Court reserves the highest scrutiny for content-based restrictions on speech. Blocking only those Twitter users with whom Bevin disagrees is a content-based restriction on speech. [C-J/AKN]

Taxpayers’ money “will not be used to let people travel to states who chose to discriminate,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told the Associated Press Thursday upon adding Texas, Alabama, South Dakota, and Kentucky to the list of places where state employee travel is restricted. [The Advocate]

The battle over Indian Head Rock, the eight-ton sandstone bolder that once sat in the Ohio River between Portsmouth and South Shore, is the focus of a new independent film airing on Kentucky Educational Television. “Between the Rock and the Commonwealth,” airing at 9 p.m. July 3 on KET and 8 p.m. July 9 on KET2, details the controversial removal of Indian Head Rock from the river in 2007, and the ensuing legal battle between Ohio and Kentucky about ownership rights. [Ashland Independent]

A Homeland Security (DHS) official told a Senate panel that election systems in 21 states were targeted in Russian cyber attacks in the 2016 presidential election. [CBS News]

Sure is fascinating to see Ann Oldfather defend this criminal junta. It’s like she wants her law firm to lose all credibility. It’s one thing for her to stand up for her well-paying client but a different thing entirely to attack the taxpayers for daring suggest these shysters get their fat asses kicked to the curb for being corrupt as hell. [Business First]

The hacking of state and local election databases in 2016 was more extensive than previously reported, including at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers, current and former officials tell TIME. [TIME]

Journalism isn’t a profession. It’s a calling. And a strange feeling rises in my stomach as I see my retirement approaching on Wednesday. [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump doesn’t have recordings of his conversations with then-FBI Director James Comey, according to a person familiar with the matter, capping weeks of speculation about whether such tapes exist. [Bloomberg]

Lawyers for Gov. Matt Bevin filed a motion in Franklin Circuit Court on Friday seeking to dismiss a suit by labor groups challenging the constitutionality of the recently passed Kentucky right-to-work law. [Ronnie Ellis]

Dumb. Donald Trump offered an explanation Wednesday for why he has one of the wealthiest Cabinets in history. “I love all people — rich or poor — but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person,” he said at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. [CNN]

Matt Bevin and the Republican Party of Kentucky (Hello, you self-hating pieces of shit!) are costing the state millions upon millions of dollars. All because they’re super-homophobic and gay-panicked. And this Woody Maglinger? You know that gurl’s on Grindr more than me. [H-L]

White House huckster Kellyanne Conway on Sunday came right out and said what so many Republicans are probably thinking ― that taking Medicaid away from able-bodied adults is no big deal, because they can go out and find jobs that provide health insurance. [HuffPo]

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Surprise! The Mt. Sterling Paper Noticed The School District’s Paid Out A Ton In Settlements

Too little, too late, really. And they only got part of the story correct.

Here’s a taste from the Mt. Sterling Advocate – May 25, 2017:

Former Montgomery County Schools’ employee Kelly Wallace has reached a $500,000 settlement in a lawsuit against former superintendent Josh Powell and the Montgomery County Board of Education.

-SNIP-

As part of the settlement the defendants in the suit “neither admit nor deny liability of any sort.” The release of all claims “is made as a compromise to avoid expenses and to terminate all controversy and/or claims for injuries or damages of whatsoever kind, nature, known or unknown,” the settlement states.

The parties agree to bear their own costs.

-SNIP-

She claimed to have suffered loss of wages and benefit, embarrassment, humiliation and mental and emotional distress.

There’s this gem at the end of the article:

The school district previously settled two other cases with former employees. Former childcare worker Jennifer Hall settled a lawsuit for $140,000 against the district, Powell and former director of childcare Kristi Carter. Former athletic director Gene Heffington received $150,000 for a “release of all claims.” He had not filed a lawsuit.

That’s how you know Tom Marshall and the paper didn’t put in much reporting effort.

Montgomery County Schools have paid out waaaay more than two settlements involving Joshua Powell.

Combined with Kelly Wallace, Montgomery County Schools has paid out a total of six monstrous settlements. Five of them I’ve reported on extensively since 2013. Another involved a mysterious school bus incident. It’s one that Alice Anderson, the board chair, once told me she didn’t believe was legitimate and was part of a cover-up. The board attorney loosely conveyed the same sentiment. As did people in Powell’s circle.

Once Jim Dusso settles (he will – he’s not ever going to be able to hold those corrupt fuckers accountable otherwise), that’ll make seven. Not to mention prior settlements in Powell’s previous school districts. Kentucky taxpayers, via insurance and other means, have been on the hook for millions upon millions of dollars.

Funny how that paper still can’t be bothered to do real reporting on the biggest and most expensive scandal to hit Montgomery County in decades. People there deserve better. It’s been gut-wrenching to watch those folks suffer – even as they went out of their way to help me report on one of the most insane scandals in the state. They’ve suffered. The local newspaper couldn’t be bothered to hold any of the powerful accountable. Just left everyone in the dark. Half-assed their way along.

Also hear a certain education reporter at the Herald-Leader has decided to do a bit on the settlements. So you can expect that to be just shy of mediocre. Can’t exactly claim credibility or generate interest in developing sources after deliberately ignoring the nightmare for nearly five years. If I could do it with no resources and for year after year? That reporter has no excuse. They, too, have failed Central Kentuckians who deserve better.

Now that I’ve had time to process the Montgomery County-Joshua Powell disaster and most of those involved have received some form of settlement? I’m ready to start sharing all the things (yes, all the things) I’ve never before published. So look for that in the coming months. Everything from recordings that the plaintiffs never released to emails from myriad characters to video of those responsible for the scandal(s).

A note to attorneys and school board members: Better get your Xanax and Klonopin refilled. Always told you I was a man of my word and would release everything when victims got justice. True to that word, the time has come.

Now for a shameless plug.

Want to see more years-long digging and reporting that results in real change in Kentucky? Here’s how:





You’ll help pay for open records requests, part of the hosting fees (let’s get real – there aren’t enough donations to cover that beast) and for postage.

When you shop via Amazon or sign up for Cricket, you help cover the expense of getting smartphones temporarily into the hands of sources who need to securely communicate without fear of retribution. That’s how I accomplished most of the work in Montgomery County. When you buy these silly magnets (they look better in real life!), you’re doing the same. You aren’t giving *me* money.

P.S. Matt Bevin finally reorganized the Education Professional Standards Board via executive order and he DESERVES PRAISE for it. Click here to access basic details – pages 7 and 8. More on that in the coming days. Note: What doesn’t deserve praise is Bevin’s decision to make EPSB actions appealable to the Kentucky Department of Education, which is a step back to pre-2000. That is a disaster waiting to happen and KDE has NO BUSINESS meddling with EPSB. Other than that, though, EPSB needed to be gutted and flushed.

Two Big Montgomery Co. Settlements

The TL;DR: massive payouts in two Joshua Powell scandals.

  • Jennifer Hall settled her case against Joshua Powell, Kristi Carter and Montgomery County Schools for the sum of $140,000.
  • Gene Heffington, who merely threatened to sue, got a sweet payout of $150,000. That’s right – Heffington, someone who played a major role in at least some of Powell’s scandals (this is not speculation, you can read all about it here in the archives), got a ton of cash.

Fun stuff, isn’t it? Jennifer Hall made something like $12 per hour, so she didn’t lose much in terms of income. Gene Heffington retired and has income. For there to be such huge payouts to both, it would appear that even an insurance company knows there’s disaster afoot.

Meanwhile, Jim Dusso is choosing to go to trial. Kelly Wallace is going to trial. And as of this week, Michelle Henry is choosing to go to trial. Even though Alice Anderson and the Montgomery County Board of Education is/are attempting to have the cases dismissed on myriad technicalities because they’re terrified to have any sort of integrity, apparently.

Can you imagine the trials?

Here’s the Hall settlement agreement:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Here’s Heffington’s:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

You can see for yourself just how bad it’s going to get for Montgomery County.

There’s way more to come. Click here to help keep things going.

Everyone’s Still Gagging Over Trump

Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show. [NY Times]

Standard good old boy behavior in Kentucky. Former University of Kentucky board chairman Billy Joe Miles of Owensboro pleaded not guilty Monday to rape, sodomy and bribing a witness at a hearing in which the prosecutor said the alleged victim has received death threats and other harassment since the charges were filed. [H-L]

Donald Trump ramped up his feud with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado on Friday, calling her “disgusting” and accusing her of having a sex tape. [HuffPo]

Kathleen Smith, former University of Louisville President James Ramsey’s chief of staff, is out at the university’s fundraising arm, the U of L Foundation. [C-J/AKN]

We live in an era of increasing automation. But as machines make more decisions for us, it is increasingly important to understand the algorithms that produce their judgments. [ProPublica]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty readily accepted responsibility for erroneously signing an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Glasgow Electric Plant Board. [Glasgow Daily Times]

At Monday night’s debate, Donald Trump was called out for stiffing the people who work for him. Trump has been accused of failing to pay hundreds of contractors. And so far, he hasn’t seemed very sorry. When asked about failing to pay someone by Hillary Clinton this week, Trump replied, “Maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work.” [WaPo]

James W. Ebert, a lieutenant and assistant night shift commander for the Frankfort Police Department, will be sworn in as Richmond police chief Oct. 17. [Richmond Register]

Donald J. Trump has a cruel streak. He willfully causes pain and distress to others. And he repeats this public behavior so frequently that it’s fair to call it a character trait. Any single example would be off-putting but forgivable. Being shown many examples across many years should make any decent person recoil in disgust. [The Atlantic]

Interim Lewis County Schools Superintendent Donald W. Pace died unexpectedly on Monday. [Ashland Independent]

Suspicion is mounting about Donald Trump’s ties to Russian officials and business interests, as well as possible links between his campaign and the Russian hacking of U.S. political organizations. [TDB]

Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia are among the states challenging the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, or CPP, in oral arguments Tuesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. [WFPL]

The U.S. Supreme Court opens its new term on Monday in uncharted territory, with an vacancy on the bench on a presidential Election Day now certain for the first time since Abraham Lincoln won re-election in 1864 at the height of the Civil War. [Reuters]

Spoiler alert! Montgomery County Schools are not and never were top ten. But you already knew that. [H-L]

On Wednesday, Congress was so determined to pass a law to sue Saudi Arabia that it overrode President Barack Obama’s veto. But possible backlash against America had top Republican leaders looking for someone else to blame Thursday. [HuffPo]

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It’s Late September Montgomery County Update Time And This One’s A Doozy

First, a couple Montgomery County Schools housekeeping tidbits:

  • Jennifer Hall settled her case for chump change, according to school board members. The district refuses to provide details despite them being a government agency.
  • Amanda Reffitt is allegedly close to doing the same. She flew to Kentucky from Alabama, where she now teaches, a few weeks ago to get the process started.
  • Michelle Henry is apparently still in negotiation. Insurance attorneys recently tried to have portions of her case thrown out and the judge refused to do so.
  • Kelly Wallace refuses to settle, wants to go to trial
  • Gene Heffington, who did not file suit, sent the board a demand letter and they’ve paid him off in a settlement. The district refuses to provide details despite them being a government agency.
  • Jim Dusso refuses to settle, wants to go to trial
  • The board’s insurance-appointed attorneys are in way over their heads

The board gives the excuse that they have no control over what their attorneys do, what actions they take, how they attempt to rip apart the people who have suffered and ultimately sued. So it’s a lot of fun watching them play games.

Since board member Donna Wilson (surprise! wonder why?) chose not to run for re-election, a former district superintendent is running in her place. Remember Dr. Freeman? He has no opponent. Both Alice Anderson and Sharon Smith-Breiner are also up for re-election without opponents.

I hear there’s been another major complained filed with the Office of Education Accountability regarding a board member. More on that to come later.

Recently, a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education attempted to not only blackmail me but bribe me. Choosing not to identify them for the time being because legal action may be necessary.

They threatened harm (IN WRITING! Creating a massive paper trail) if I complied with demands to share details in court about what I’ve learned regarding the school district. When that didn’t work, they literally sent me money that I promptly returned.

That school board member has created yet another stupid Montgomery County-related mess.

And if you want to help me finish reporting everything on that district, I ask that you chip in. If you want the book to eventually be closed and for everything to be uncovered, your help is needed.

Click here to chip in. Keep this jalopy afloat. Help me finish up the investigation and pay for gazillions of outstanding open records requests. And, now, to help with the mess one ignorant board member has created.

We’ve come too far to give up now.

Allegations Of Testing Fraud Still Plague Montgomery County Schools’ Previous Administration

Montgomery County Schools. Three words that make longtime readers of Page One cringe.

So get ready to cringe a bit because it’s time to yank another thread.

Sources within Montgomery County Schools and the Kentucky Department of Education allege that the district, while under Joshua Powell’s leadership, bused students to the Clay Community Center during regular instruction time in order to prepare for the ACT. In case you’re wondering, that’s in contradiction to Kentucky Department of Education guidelines.

Check out this note that was captured, along with a schedule for the test prep:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

KDE doesn’t permit ACT prep to take place outside of the classroom. Districts can’t just take kids out of the classroom solely to prepare for the ACT.

Check out this Powerpoint presentation from the KDE site:



Isn’t that fascinating?

Terry Holliday, while still Commissioner of Education, allegedly turned a blind eye.

The above is just a taste of what’s to come.

If anyone in Montgomery County has additional information, get in touch with me. You don’t have to use that form to send your message – but you’ll find the email address there.