The Dispatch Publishing Company, which owns the Columbus Dispatch and WBNS, has been working in overdrive to convince people that there was some massive political conspiracy to prevent the Office of Investigative Services (OIS) of the Highway Patrol from allowing a wife of an inmate working at the Governor’s Mansion throw an unknown object into the Governor’s Mansion to be picked up by an incarcerated felon.
Amazingly, the Dispatch Publishing Company finds it incredulous to believe that security concerns, and not political concerns, might have been the reason the raid was called off.? (Which, as we will see later, is not entirely accurate as well).? In order to make this case, the Dispatch Publishing Company has created a few myths that, after reviewing the very same public records the Dispatch and WBNS had, refutes the narrative the Dispatch has been pushing.
For the first time, Plunderbund is releasing a number of these public documents, all of which I have been told have been provided to others, for the public to see so that they, too, can determine whether the Dispatch Publishing Company is actually reporting the news, or trying? to make it.
Myth # 1: The OIS investigation lead them to believe that the items were drugs.
This is a whopper.? There was no OIS investigation.? What the public records actually shows was that on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010, Sgt. Miller of the OIS received a call from a Pickaway County Institution (PCI) investigator requesting a meeting to discuss a possible conveyance of contraband occurring at the Governor’s Residence.
In his report, Sgt. Miller includes the text of the inmate’s intercepted letter wherein the inmate used the term “six pack” as a codeword to describe the contraband.
Sgt. Miller then states:
“Based on my experience working in correctional institutions it is common practice for inmates to use code names when talking about drugs or conveying drugs and other contraband.? When [redacted] is referring to ‘six pack’ I believe he is talking about drugs.”
What no media outlet has reported is that Sgt. Miller’s speculation is the entirely basis for OIS to believe that this plot involved drugs and not tobacco.? Tobacco as a prison black market good has only seen its price increase relatively recently as tobacco was banned in Ohio’s prisons less than a year before the planned sting.
I could find no other basis in the public records of any actual evidence or basis other than this statement by Sgt. Miller that explains why OIS thought this item was drugs.? Nor have I sen any media reports or testimony in front of the Senate Committee that indicates any additional information beyond the mere speculation that the term “six pack” probably indicated drugs.? And yet, the Dispatch Publishing Company has reported as if the possibility of the contraband being drugs was an absolute certainty.
Regardless, that is far from actually saying that an investigation CONCLUDED it was drugs as it ignores the very caveat that Sgt. Miller’s own words say.? Which is that he honestly doesn’t know what it is.? Could be drugs, could be a bomb, could be a bag of unicorn farts.? Who knew?? Not OIC, that’s for sure.
And yet based on that, the OIG decided the prudent thing to do was to let a person lob an unknown item onto the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion so that a convicted felon could get it while the Governor and former U.S. Senator John Glenn were at the residence.? That’s it.? When OIC got the information from DRC, they decided to do the sting.? There was no investigation in the interim.
Myth # 2: “The patrol investigation never considered the possibility that the item might have been tobacco.”? Columbus Dispatch (01/28/10) & (02/03/10).
Both of these articles were written by Randy Ludlow.
Here’s what Randy Ludlow had to say in a March 26th e-mail response to Plunderbund’s allegation that his reporting on this matter was “less than totally accurate:”
“There was one e-mail — one — mentioning tobacco as a possibility prior to the cancelation.”
If you’re the Columbus Dispatch, then apparently 1 = 0.?? If that were the case, computer binary language would collapse, and you wouldn’t be able to read this.
Regardless, there is other documentation that was created before the planned “raid” which also calls into question whether the OIC was considering the possibility that no crime existed because the item might be tobacco.
(Smuggling tobacco into a prison is not a crime in Ohio, although it could lead to administrative punishment against an inmate who engages in it.)
A review of Mr. Ludlow’s reporting on this story reveals no correction or subsequent reporting about the existence of this e-mail that Ludlow had repeatedly reported did not exist.? Neither OIC or Mr. Ludlow has offered any explanation as to why OIC ignored the possibility that the item was tobacco, even after receiving word of such a possibility by DRC itself.
Myth # 3: Only recently did State officials start to conclude that the item might be tobacco, and not drugs. [Every media outlet.]
Former Major (Ret.) Robert Booker, Jr. and Capt. Michelle Henderson were OIC officials at the time of the planned “sting.”? They both testified last week in front of the Senate Committee conducting hearings on this matter.
Neither one of them was asked about this document.
Within a few days after OIC opened it’s “six pack” investigation, Maj. Booker and Capt. Henderson received this memorandum about a separate investigation based on a separate complaint from Pickaway Correctional Institution investigators about inmates working at the Governor’s Mansion hiding tobacco contraband at the Mansion.? Huh, same prison, same inmates, same drop point….. weird, huh?
What no media outlet has pointed out is that this information known by OIC BEFORE Randy Ludlow or any other media outlet began speculating that “political concerns” and not “lack of evidence of any criminal misconduct” was behind the decision.? In other words, when whomever in OIC began ringing Randy Ludlow and the rest of the Columbus media about the cancelled sting, they had ever reason in the world to believe that the plot involved tobacco because a separate investigation had already found evidence that the plot by the PCI inmates involved tobacco.? To date, no actual evidence of drugs has ever been found.? That is what the people at OCI knew before Randy Ludlow claims he knew about this cancelled sting.
Neither the contents of this memo, or its very existence, has been reported by ANY media outlet… until now.
If Randy Ludlow covered the national security beat a few years ago, I guess he wouldn’t have consider this newsworthy either:
As we’ll see in the next “myth” a DRC report issued the day Mr. Ludlow’s first story was published also detailed extensive evidence that this was a tobacco plot that did not involve drugs…
Myth # 4:? DRC prison officials concluded that the item in the “six pack” case was drugs. Columbus Dispatch (01/28/10; 02/05/10)
Again, those were stories written by Randy Ludlow.? In his most recent e-mail to Plunderbund, Mr. Ludlow again asserted that three-weeks after the planned sting, DRC concluded that it was like drugs.
To prove his point, Mr. Ludlow provided Plunderbund with a January 28, 2010 memorandum written by an PCI investigator which states:
“It was suspected that the contraband may be drugs due to the monies that would be divided.”
Again, emphasis on the words “was suspected” and “may,” caveats ignored by Ludlow yet again.? Ludlow hangs his hat on the fact that the inmate in the “six pack” plot was cited in this report for a violation of Rule 40 of the inmate Code of Conduct which prohibits:
Procuring or attempting to procure, unauthorized drugs; aiding, soliciting, or collaborating with another to procure unauthorized drugs or to introduce unauthorized drugs into a correctional facility.
Yet Mr. Ludlow himself has already discounted this very finding, Mr. Ludlow’s Jan. 28th report mentions that DRC officials had already stated that the violation will likely be revised into a tobacco violation instead.? Unlike in a criminal code, it doesn’t matter what specific rule an inmate is found in violation as the penalty is not tied to what rule was violated, so anyone familiar with inmate discipline knows that precision in charging is not required.? All that matters is finding if any rule was violated.? Regardless, Ludlow failed to ever note that the inmate was not cited for violating Rule 56 (use of telephone or mail in furtherance of any criminal activity), which you would expect if they truly believed the inmate was engaged in a criminal conspiracy to smuggle drugs in by communicating with his wife.? Mr. Ludlow seems to go out of his way to take only to pick the items in the report he can cite which justifies his predetermined narrative.
Prison disciplinary cases are thin gruel to evaluate the validity or strength of a theoretical criminal case because the rules of evidence are vastly more lenient for the State, as is the virtually utter lack of any defined burden of proof for a violation.? The person who determines whether you violated a prison rule is hardly a neutral arbiter, either.? Traffic tickets in Mayor’s courts afford you more due process.?
Simply because they cited one inmate involved with a rule violation (which DRC itself says they are likely going to have to reverse given the actual evidence) does not mean there was a definitive conclusion by DRC that the item was not tobacco, but drugs. (After all, Ludlow himself reported on Jan. 30th that DRC had on Jan. 8th indicated to OIC that item in the “six pack” case might be tobacco.)
However, the real importance of this report is that it establishes that the DRC concluded that the two separate OIC cases were, in fact, inter-related and all part of the same conspiracy. It concluded that there was strong evidence that the plot was about tobacco based on such “flimsy” evidence like:
1) One of the conspirators admitting that the plot concerned tobacco;
2) Tobacco was found in the workspace area of the inmates at the Governor’s Mansion;
3) Tobacco was found hidden in one of the shoes of one of the conspirators;
4) The other co-conspirators were punished solely over tobacco; and
5) The complete and utter lack of evidence of drugs found by either the DRC or OIC.
Regardless, both Randy Ludlow of the Dispatch and WBNS can’t seem to crack this puzzle after reading this report:
In Ludlow’s case, his initial report mentioned both that 1) DRC mentioned before the sting was scrubbed that the item could be tobacco, and 2) that the inmate’s violation would likely be revised based on the determination that the item was likely tobacco.? Ludlow’s later reporting affirmatively denied the existence of the former and ignored the significance of the later.? Granted, by ignoring those two significant facts, it is easier to allege that there was no doubt that the contraband was drugs at the time like Ludlow has consistently reported lately, but it doesn’t make that true.
Ludlow offered no explanation why this DRC report should be accepted as the gospel truth despite the fact that the same agency warned OIC before the planned sting that the item could be tobacco and also has already indicated that they are likely to revise the inmate’s punishment to reflect that the item was likely tobacco, and not drugs.? Ludlow affords this report more credibility, not only more than the agency that credited it, but he himself initially gave it.
This, unfortunately, is not the only example in which Mr. Ludlow has cherry picked the data in order to advance a salacious political narrative that is refuted by other evidence already available to him…
[TO BE CONTINUED]