Fannin’s Troubles, Who lit the candle? Pt 4

GMFTO

Part 4 of our series on Fannin County, Brenda Weavers Resignation from the JQC, and the litigation of Mark Thomason.

Author

Ads in Fannin Focus do not show up correctly in Sheriff Candidates Campaign Financial Reports

Featured, Featured Stories, News

Mark Thomason, the publisher of the Fannin Focus has been in the news a lot lately. This is an unrelated story to Thomason’s arrest, “Journalist Jailed”. It does, however go with the big picture of Thomason’s publication the Fannin Focus, “Intent on Integrity”. Read the story and you decide.

FYN has a copy of every Fannin Focus issue since primary election qualifying. We have reviewed each page for all campaign advertising. We also have a copy of the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet. We have cross referenced the ads with the rate sheet. We have all the documents to support this article. FYN files the following report on three Fannin County Sheriff Republican Party Candidates, Johnny Scearce, Jack Taylor and Larry Bennett.

Fannin Sheriff Candidates Political Ad Reporting in Fannin Focus

#FanninCartel Defined

“A coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest”. Did this happen in the Fannin County Sheriff’s race?

Larry Bennett, Republican Candidate for Sheriff placed ads in issues of the Fannin Focus on 3/31, 4/7, 4/14 and 4/28. According to the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet, the number of ads and the size of the ads Bennett placed should have totalled $1,142.78 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. According to Bennett’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report he spent $0 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. Bennett is the former police chief of McCaysville GA.

Jack Taylor Republican Candidate for Sheriff placed ads in issues of the Fannin Focus on 3/3, 3/10, 3/17, 3/24, 3/31, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5, 5/12 and 5/19. According to the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet, number of ads and size of the ads Taylor should have totaled $7,970.63 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. According to Taylor’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report he spent $600 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. This left $7,370.63 of unreported spending with the Fannin Focus. Remember all those full page ads Taylor ran in the paper?

Remember the marquee at the Swan Drive-In, “Vote Jack Taylor for Sheriff”? What did Taylor pay Steve Setser, the owner of the Drive-In, for the advertising? Taylor listed Setser on his Campaign Contribution Disclosure, but in the space where a candidate has to give the amount of the contribution, Taylor wrote “Setser“ but would not give a price or “no charge” (You can legally donate goods or services to a candidate {In-Kind} but the candidate must describe the donation and place a value on their campaign disclosure). In-Kind contribution values must comply with campaign finance laws. Setser is required to place a value on his contribution. Steve Setser also donated $463 for T-Shirts and $300 for flyers to the Taylor campaign.

Jack Taylor Swan

Now, that brings us to Johnny Scearce. Scearce is currently the Blue Ridge City Police Chief. Scearce has run for Fannin County Sheriff several times and is used to filling out a “Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report”. One would assume that Scearce would understand he has to list everyone who contributes to his campaign and show all outlets where he has spent money.  According to Scearce’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report filed on 6/30, he showed $0 left in his campaign account.

Johnny Scearce Republican Candidate for Sheriff placed ads in issues of the Fannin Focus on 3/17, 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5, 5/12 and 5/19. According to the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet, the number of ads and size of ads Scearce placed should have cost $4,946.89 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. According to Scearce’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report he spent $0 in advertising with the Fannin Focus.

johnny brenda 3johnny full page 3

Scearce hired  Kendell Goss as Campaign Marketing Manager. Scearce paid Goss $3,369.00 and listed it as advertising. Sources tell FYN, Goss handled the campaign website, prepared speeches, and campaign video along with other marketing materials.

Let’s just suppose Goss used some of the money to place ads in the Fannin Focus…it still would have to be disclosed! Scearce disclosed that he spent money directly three times with The News Observer and once with WPPI – FM so why wouldn’t he disclose any money paid to the Fannin Focus or place the ad directly himself?

There is no disclosure on who paid for the ads. We could not find one Johnny Scearce or Larry Bennett ad in the Fannin Focus that discloses “Paid for By.” One could understand if the publisher missed one ad but it seems he missed them all! Why not show who is paying for the campaign ads, it’s a campaign finance rule?

Sheriff Dane Kirby spent $0 with the Fannin Focus and placed no ads in its paper.

The publisher of the Fannin Focus is Mark Thomason. If Thomason decided to give the advertising to the candidates for free, the Fannin Focus would still have to be listed on the candidates campaign finance reports with an “In-Kind” amount. If an “In-Kind” was the desired result to benefit the above listed candidates by Thomason, the amounts have far exceeded the campaign contribution limits.

Some questions…Did Mark Thomason extend $13,460.30 of free advertising to three Fannin County Sheriff candidates? Why just the Sheriff candidates? Could they have been in cahoots (colluding or conspiring together secretly)? Wonder how the other candidates who paid for their ads must feel? Wonder what the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission will think?

Click to read campaign finance reports.

Johnny Scearce 6302016

Jack Taylor 6302016

Larry Bennett 6302016

 

[cincopa AwEAxmNB77vb]

 

Related story: Fannin Focus Mark Thomason Arrested, Journalist or Vendetta

 

 

 

Morning Monologue 6/27/16

GMFTO

Arrests and Headlines, Fraud and Conspiracy.

Author

Fannin Focus Publisher Mark Thomason Indicted along with attorney Russell Stookey, 1 Count Making False Statement, 2 counts Identity Fraud

Featured, Featured Stories, News

A Pickens County Grand Jury returned true bills on Friday, June 24th and indicted Fannin Focus Publisher, Mark Brannon Thomason for 1 count of Identity Fraud, 1 count of Attempt to Commit Identity Fraud, and 1 count of Making a False Statement.  Thomason’s Attorney, Russell Stookey of Hiawassee Georgia was also indicted for 1 count of Identity Fraud and 1 count of Attempt to Commit Identity Fraud.  FetchYourNews.com has confirmed with Authorities that Mark Brannon Thomason was arrested Friday evening, June 24th.  FYN will have a full report Monday Morning.

Below you can read the indictment – FYN is working on the complete story.  Tune in Monday Morning at 8 am to Good Morning from the Office – go to FetchYourNews.com and click on FYN TV and watch the full report from BKP.

#FanninCartal  #GMFTO  #BKP

1mr800

 

Morning Monologue 5/9/16

Opinion

Chaos in Blue Ridge?

Author

Morning Monologue 4/6/16

Opinion

Tag Scanners, Open Records, and Blue Ridge’s attorney.

Author

Citizen Questions How Fannin County Attorney Lynn Doss is Paid

Opinion

January 12, 2016

 

My name is Suzanne Kahn, and I’d like to first address the question that some citizens still have about exactly when our county contract finally expires with Advance Disposal Service. The court documents are clear cut that all permitted extensions of the contract by Advance Disposal have been used and the contract finally expires on August 25th, of this year, 2016.

 

I feel confident that our Post I and Post II Commissioners are on top of this situation and will take whatever steps are needed to negotiate and secure a contract with whatever company they deem will best serve our county with a fair, equitable, and competitive contract. And, I feel confident that they will have a contract in place well in advance of this expiration date.

 

Second, I want to address the years of concern of many citizens that Fannin County has had the same county attorney, Ms. Lynn Doss, for approximately twenty years, and, without ever having a contract of any kind in place.  This “ arrangement”, which is all it can be called, has been perpetuated endlessly by each Commission Chairman for the last three administrations of Richard Vollrath, Howie Bruce, and now  into the eighth year of the current administration  by Chairman Bill Simonds. 

 

I compared the policy of our two neighboring counties of Union and Gilmer to get a very clear picture, and I have all the documents from these counties to back up what I’m saying here.

 

Union and Gilmer Counties both have had legal contracts, or a Letter of Agreement, with their attorneys at all times, and both counties require complete accountability by mandating that their attorneys submit itemized invoices for every hour worked.  Neither county pays a retainer fee. In Union County, Attorney H. Boyd Pettit charges $100.00 per hour plus expenses. In Gilmer County, Attorneys Herman Clark and David Clark charge $110.00 and $100.00 per hour, respectively, plus expenses. 

In Fannin County, there has never been any contract or Letter of Agreement with Lynn Doss, and a significant retainer fee of $5,708.34 per month has been paid without any itemized invoices ever required or submitted for that $61,416.78 yearly check.

 

As a comparison: 

In 2014, Union County paid their attorney $23,874.00, and Gilmer paid $38,595.00.

In 2015, Union County paid their attorney only $8,811.00 and Gilmer paid $68,238.00.

 

 I also have the document showing the RESOLUTION that was passed by Gilmer County Board of Commissioners on March 12th, 2015, declaring their authority to appoint their attorney who “shall serve at the pleasure of the Board.”

 

To say that this Fannin County “arrangement” with Lynn Doss is highly questionable is a gross understatement.  The citizens of Fannin County want and deserve an explanation of why this “arrangement” has been permitted all these years.  I request, Mr. Simonds, that you explain 

how you have justified this through your entire 7 years as our Chairman, and now into your 8th year at the helm. 

 

I have spoken with many Fannin County Citizens who are equally fed up with this perceived stranglehold Attorney Lynn Doss has been afforded for so many years with absolutely no accountability. It is way beyond time for a healthy change in who is welcomed to work as our county attorney. 

 

Mr. Simonds, I sincerely had high hopes that, after last year’s events of our two Post Commissioners successfully making the first few important changes to our county government, you would finally see the wisdom of helping to ethically and morally work with them to make the many changes still necessary to make Fannin County one that is respected for it’s high standards of operation. You can still do that.

 

If you choose not to, I have complete confidence in Post Commissioners Sosebee and Johnson to be the leaders we need to guide Fannin County with integrity.

 

 

Thank you,

 

Suzanne Kahn

 

Author

FetchYourNews.com - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

News - Videos - TV - Marketing - Website Design - Commercial Production - Consultation

Search

FetchYourNews.com - Citizen Journalists - A place to share “Your” work. Send us “Your” information or tips - 706.276.NEWs (6397) 706.889.9700 chief@FetchYourNews.com

Back to Top