While the IRS is still under investigation for allegedly targeting political groups unfairly, those who were affected believe without a doubt its intentions were to target conservative groups.
Four witnesses stood before the Ohio House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee — comprised of eight Republicans and five Democrats — Thursday at the University of Cincinnati to explain their strong conviction and elaborate on how they were affected.
Timothy Savaglio, board member of the Liberty Township TEA Party, said dealing with the IRS’s demands following his request for his organization to be recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit became a “full-time job.”
“I served 23 years in the United States Air Force voluntarily giving up personal freedoms only to find my government placed barriers and obstruction when I exercised those liberties as an ordinary citizen,” Savaglio said.
He applied for the tax exempt status in May 2010, and his request still hasn’t been approved or denied by the IRS. (more…)
To let West Chester and Liberty Township residents catch up with the news that they need to know, WestChesterBuzz.com will list and link to all of last week’s top local stories every Monday. That list was posted earlier this morning on the Buzz, visit the homepage of WestChesterBuzz.com for everything that happened June 24-30.
What about the rest of the month?
With it being July 1st, I thought it was time to review some of the bigger news items from June 1-23 in West Chester and Liberty townships.
A minivan plowed into the Taco Bell store at 8126 Princeton-Glendale Road on the afternoon of June 4th. Photo provided by Gail Wunderlin.
Van crashes into Taco Bell – The driver who plowed into the Taco Bell at 8126 Princeton-Glendale Road in West Chester Township on June was charged with having an open container. However, police say they believe the accident was caused by a medical condition and not because of alcohol.
Local Tea Party protests IRS – Members of The Cincinnati Tea Party, as well as members from the Liberty Township and West Chester tea parties, held signs and waved at passing motorists outside House Speaker John Boehner’s West Chester office June 19 afternoon. The group was protesting the IRS and its alleged targeting of conservative groups.
The Nasty Boys reunited this past week. It was the first time that the trio got together for a signing. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
The Nasty Boys visit West Chester – For the first time since 2010, when Chris Sabo was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, The Nasty Boys – Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers – were together again when they took part in a special signing event at the Sports Gallery, 7967 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, in West Chester Township June 12. It was the first time that the three were together for a signing event.
Construction on debated roundabout – Construction began June 10 on a roundabout at the intersection of Kyles Station and Yankee roads in Liberty Township. Some neighbors don’t believe a roundabout at the intersection is needed and don’t want it built. County officials disagree and say the design of the roundabout forces drivers to slow down, improving safety.
SentriLock opens global HQ – Electronic lockbox systems provider SentriLock opened its new West Chester headquarters on June 21. The National Association of Realtors-owned SentriLock sought the move from Sharonville to a new 40,000-square-foot facility at 7701 Service Center Drive to house its 100 employees. The company said it sought the move as a result of its expanding operations.
Lt. Jon DeWitt. Photo provided.
West Chester Police mourn the loss of Lt. Jon DeWitt – Enquirer reporter Sheila McLaughlin recently wrote about the life of Lt. Jon DeWitt, who passed away June 1 after being diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer. DeWitt set his priorities: his wife and two teenaged children, the West Chester Township police force where he worked for more than two decades and the Marine Corps that gave him discipline and set a direction in his life.
West gets new AD – The Lakota school district recently announced that Scott Kaufman, the athletic director at Wyoming High School, will join the administrative team at Lakota East serving as an assistant principal and also as athletic director. Afterwards, school officials tweaked that announcement, saying Kaufman will serve at those positions at Lakota West instead of Lakota East.
Prosecutor to fight public records case - A case involving Butler County officials illegally withholding a 911 tape from The Enquirer in a 2012 Father’s Day slaying is headed to the Ohio Supreme Court. Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser has filed notice that he’ll appeal an Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals decision last week that he and Common Pleas Judge Michael Sage violated the public records act in withholding the 911 tape containing a confession from defendant Michael Ray.
Woman dies in Lib. Twp. wreck – A 56-year-old Middletown woman died last June 13 after suffering injuries in a three-vehicle crash in Liberty Township. The Butler County coroner’s office pronounced Mary Schaeffer died at the crash scene at Ohio 747 just north of Willow Ridge Drive, according to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones. Authorities received a call about the crash shortly after 6 a.m. wo other drivers — Michael McAninch, 41, of Mason, and Denise Wuebben, 59, of Hamilton — suffered injuries and were transported to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown.
Rawan Mubarak, 9, of Damascus, Syria, smiles as she plays with a stuffed animal inside her room at her host family’s home in West Chester. Photo taken by Amanda Davidson.
Wounded Syrian girl finds a haven in West Chester – Enquirer reporter Mark Curnutte shared a story about Rawan Mubarak, who lost her right arm during Syria’s civil war. Now the 9-year-old girl is on the verge of receiving a prosthetic right arm thanks to several individuals and organizations in Greater Cincinnati. She is also living with a host family in West Chester Township.
VOA Park sports complex seeks funds – At 435 acres, Voice of America MetroPark off Cox Road is the flagship of the Butler County system and one of the newest parks in the region. Millions are being spent on it to build a $24 million athletic complex that is counted on to draw regional and national tournaments from the eastern United States and to pump an estimated $26 million a year into the local economy by five years after the full complex is up and running.
Coney Island 1965 opens – EnterTRAINment Junction officially opened its replica of Coney Island as it was in 1965 on June 21. Overall, the project cost more than $150,000 to build and includes a 40-foot long roller coaster called the Shooting Star. The original Shooting Star was built in 1948. EnterTRAINment Junction is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Susan Hendel, mother of fiscal officer Kerry Hendel, votes at Lakota West High School on Election Day in November of 2011. This year, voters will likely, again, vote on a school levy. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
Voters could see school levy – Voters in Greater Cincinnati’s second-largest school system will likely see a tax hike on the fall ballot. The Lakota Board of Education voted unanimously last Monday evening to place a combination operating levy and a permanent improvement tax on the Nov. 5 ballot. Voters will decide on a 3.5-mill operating levy and a 2-mill permanent improvement levy combined into a single 5.5-mill school tax hike issue.
Driver whose tire struck, killed man pleads guilty – Tim Morrison, whose son Dylan was killed after a loose tire fell off a semi truck on Interstate 75 and crashed into his son’s windshield, has been waiting more than two years for justice. He and his family will have to wait another month. Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman accepted a guilty plea from Paul Lallier, 64, of Hamilton on one count of vehicular homicide and one count of obstructing justice in the death of Dylan Morrison Tuesday but put off sentencing until July 22.
While conservatives protested the IRS at the nation’s Capital in June, back in West Chester, Ohio, local tea party members held signs and waved at passing motorists outside House Speaker John Boehner’s local office – wanting their congressman to step up.
Liberty Twp. Tea Party sues IRS – The Liberty Township Tea Party became the latest conservative group to join a class action lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service stemming from the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups during their application process for nonprofit status. The Liberty Township organization is joining 40 others in a suit that has been filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, a Washington-based conservative legal advocacy/issues group.
Youth and Jr. USA Triathlon staying W.C. – Voice of America Park in West Chester will host the USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships through 2015, the Butler County Visitor’s Bureau announced this week. VOA Park hosted the event for the first time in 2012 and will host this year’s event Aug. 2-4.
Annie Mullin, 61, and a member of the A-Marika Dance Company, in Sharonville, dances with a friend during the company’s “Dancing With Our Stars” fundraiser on Sunday, June 9, at The Grove Banquet Center. Mullin is among 40 others with Down syndrome who participate in a local dance group at A-Marika Dance Company in Sharonville. Photo taken Amanda Davidson.
Special dance class – West Chester volunteer shared his thoughts on unique dance class in nearby Sharonville. The consists of more than 40 who live with Down syndrome. “When I walk in, I have had a long day. It is close to 6 o’clock and then the dancers are saying ‘hello’ to you, you are getting hugs and you sort of drift into this world that is separate from all the day-to-day problems,” said Leonard Mark of West Chester, a volunteer with the class since 2008. “For one hour, you really get a chance to focus on something that’s really important.”
Lakota adds two – The Lakota Board of Education recently approved the appointments of a new curriculum director and a elementary school principal. Marlon J. Styles Jr. of West Chester was approved to be the school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction. The Lakota school district also approved the appointment of Jodi Leichman as the new principal of Adena Elementary.
Store surveillance cameras captured the couple entering the store before making several purchases using the stolen credit card.
Looking for couple for using stolen credit card – The West Chester Police Department requested assistance last week in identifying two suspects involved in a theft from a motor vehicle. During the overnight hours July 22, an unknown person entered an unoccupied vehicle and removed a resident’s credit card. The credit card was later used at the West Chester Wal-Mart store.
AK Steel blast furnace failure – Work is continuing at AK Steel’s steelmaking facility in Middletown to repair a blast furnace that suffered a mechanical failure last week. West Chester-based AK Steel Holding Corp. said no injuries resulted from the Saturday failure at the furnace’s charging apparatus. The charging apparatus is the system used to feed coke, iron ore, limestone and other feedstock into the blast furnace, which is used to produce molten iron.
Mortgage scheme sends woman to prison – A 40-year-old West Chester Township woman was sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison for her role in a mortgage-fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio said in a news release Tuesday. Senior U.S. District Judge Herman J. Weber imposed that punishment on Sylvia Odia Thomas, and also ordered her to pay $313,021 in restitution to lenders, plus $95,422.14 to the IRS, the release said.
Craiglist predator sentenced – A car thief who used Craigslist to troll for vehicles – and drove one stolen car in a high-speed chase that ended with a crash — will spend the next seven years in prison. A Warren County judge handed down the sentence Friday to Trevon Broomfield, 21, of Dayton, who pleaded guilty to three counts of theft, failure to comply with an officer’s orders, felonious assault on a police officer and receiving stolen property. Broomfield’s spree ended Jan. 15 after he stole a 2005 Nissan Sentra from West Chester.
While conservatives protested the IRS at the nation’s Capital last week, back in West Chester, Ohio, local tea party members held signs and waved at passing motorists outside House Speaker John Boehner’s local office – wanting their congressman to step up.
James Pilcher reports:
The Liberty Township Tea Party became the latest conservative group to join a class action lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service stemming from the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups during their application process for nonprofit status.
The Liberty Township organization is joining 40 others in a suit that has been filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, a Washington-based conservative legal advocacy/issues group.
The Liberty County Tea Party filed for nonprofit status in March 2009 and has yet to receive word whether its application has been approved or denied, group president Tim Savaglio said in a statement. The organization has received lists of 35 questions and more, and was one of the few of those targeted that received questions about specific individuals – in this case local conservative activist Justin Binik-Thomas, who helped create the Cincinnati Tea Party.
The IRS has acknowledged that its downtown Cincinnati-based tax exempt determinations office improperly targeted and questioned conservative groups, and Monday, the interim IRS director said that other progressive and issues groups may have also been targeted improperly.
While conservatives protested the IRS at the nation’s Capital Wednesday, back in West Chester, Ohio, local tea party members held signs and waved at passing motorists outside House Speaker John Boehner’s local office – wanting their congressman to step up.
Local Tea Party protests IRS – Members of The Cincinnati Tea Party, as well as members from the Liberty Township and West Chester tea parties, held signs and waved at passing motorists outside House Speaker John Boehner’s West Chester office last Wednesday afternoon. The group was protesting the IRS and its alleged targeting of conservative groups.
Man to turn in guilty plea in fatal loose tire crash – Paul Lallier signed and submitted a written guilty plea to misdemeanor counts of vehicular homicide and and obstructing official business in the March 28, 2011, death of Dylan Morrison, 22, of West Chester, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced last week. Lallier was driving a truck when a tire came loose and flew onto the other side of the highway, crashing into Morrison’s windshield.
But. Co. helping with Colo. fire – Eight firefighters from Butler County are doing their part to help combat the devastating Black Forest fire in Colorado – and, at the same time, they’re learning tactics that could be put to use for any major disaster that could strike here, Monroe Fire Chief John Centers told The Enquirer last Monday. The Butler team hailed from the cities of Monroe, Middletown and Oxford, along with Ross, West Chester, Liberty and Fairfield townships.
Evan Cook with his mother Kathy Cook, Evan just graduated from the Lakota Plans Junior School in Liberty twp. over the last year Lakota has seen it’s enrollment drop. Photo taken by Tony Jones.
Shrinking enrollment causes problems – Michael D. Clark reported last week that while the school year might be finished but there is no end in sight for shrinking enrollments at some once-booming, suburban school systems. The trend adds to the nervousness of Southwest Ohio school officials and school parents who await the state budget’s unveiling later this month. Smaller enrollment often means less school funding in Ohio’s biennium budgets. And fewer state dollars mean districts often ask voters to pay higher school taxes.
Coney Island 1965 opens – EnterTRAINment Junction officially opened its replica of Coney Island as it was in 1965 on Friday. Overall, the project cost more than $150,000 to build and includes a 40-foot long roller coaster called the Shooting Star. The original Shooting Star was built in 1948. EnterTRAINment Junction is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
AK Steel expects loss in 2Q – West Chester Township-based AK Steel warned investors last week that it expects a net loss of between $0.33 and $0.38 per diluted share of common stock for the second quarter of 2013. The company also expects its average selling price per ton for the second quarter of 2013 to decrease by approximately 1 percent from its price for the first quarter of 2013, falling from $1,063 to $1,055 per ton.
SentriLock opens global HQ – Electronic lockbox systems provider SentriLock opened its new West Chester headquarters on Friday. The National Association of Realtors-owned SentriLock sought the move from Sharonville to a new 40,000-square-foot facility at 7701 Service Center Drive to house its 100 employees. The company said it sought the move as a result of its expanding operations.
Butler County’s local drive-in taking the digital plunge – Time is running out. People in the drive-in industry expect film distributors to stop producing 35mm prints of new films this year. Todd Chancey took the plunge. He and his business partner invested in digital projection equipment and began showing digital films this month at Holiday Auto Theatre. Debi Brooks did the same thing at her Starlite Drive-in in Amelia (Clermont County) in March.
Members of The Cincinnati Tea Party, as well as members from the Liberty Township and West Chester tea parties, held signs and waved at passing motorists outside House Speaker John Boehner’s West Chester office Wednesday afternoon. The group was protesting the IRS and its alleged targeting of conservative groups.
Meanwhile, on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capital, Republican lawmakers, media personalities and Tea Party members also protested in the Tea Party Patriots’ organized “Audit the IRS” rally Wednesday afternoon.
“We are standing in solidarity with the Tea Party Patriots, they are out in Washington D.C. doing a big rally on the Capital lawn trying to encourage Congress to abolish the IRS and hold the IRS accountable for their actions against Tea Party and Liberty groups throughout the country,” said Ann Becker of West Chester, who is president of both the West Chester and Cincinnati tea parties.
Among those in attendance at the Washington rally included Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck, among others, according to the Washington Times.
Becker, who also hand delivered roughly 50 letters to Boehner’s office from concerned residents of Ohio’s Eighth District, was joined at the local rally by Butler County Republican Party chairman David Kern.
“The American public, all of us both left and right, should not tolerate the abuses that the IRS has submitted,” Kern said. “It is so grossly unfair and illegal.
“If they do it to us, they will do it to anybody.”
While conservatives protested the IRS at the nation’s Capital Wednesday, back in West Chester, Ohio, local tea party members held signs and waved at passing motorists outside House Speaker John Boehner’s local office – wanting their Congressman to step up. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
Justin Binik-Thomas, a former Cincinnati Tea Party spokesman and owner of Conservative Media Group, Deer Park, Ohio, talks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013, during a break in the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the extra scrutiny the Internal Revenue Service gave Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. During the hearing, Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, asked witness, ousted IRS chief Steven Miller why the IRS wanted to know about Binik-Thomas when the Liberty Township Tea Party in Ohio applied for tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Deirdre Shesgreen reports:
Organized by the Tea Party Patriots, the “Audit the IRS rally” comes amid the unfolding scandal over the tax agency’s targeting of conservative groups.
Justin Binik-Thomas, a founding member of the Cincinnati Tea Party, and George Brunemann, leader of the SouthWest Cincinnati Tea Party, are listed as speakers for the event.
According to a news release, GOP Sens. Mike Lee, of Utah, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky, will be there, along with GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, to talk about “actions being taken to protect citizens from being attacked by their own government.”
Meanwhile, back in West Chester, The Cincinnati Tea Party will have a sign wave from noon to 1 p.m. at John Boehner’s West Chester office, 7969 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, according to Today’s Pulse.
More than 250 people chanted, marched and voiced their frustration with the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday in response to concerns the agency provided unfair scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status in recent years.
Before noon, attendees — many carrying signs decrying the IRS practices — began to gather at Fountain Square in preparation for the couple-block walk to the John Weld Peck Federal Building. The building houses IRS workers in Cincinnati, which has been at the center of the controversy.
By 12:15 p.m., people outside building led calls including “USA not KGB,” and “Hey, hey, ho ho, the IRS has got to go.”
Ted Stevenot, of Cincinnati, president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, a coalition of local tea party group members, said the protest was about protecting citizens’ rights.
“A government when it gets too big gets unwieldy and sometimes it kind of takes on a life of its own,” Stevenot said.
The rally occurred about the same time a hearing in Washington was wrapping up involving former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was grilled by lawmakers about his knowledge about the targeting.
Cincinnati Tea Party President Ann Becker said the local rally was one of about 50 locations around the United States Tuesday as a show of force against the agency’s practices. Becker, of West Chester, said she and other local Tea Party members got the idea to host an event after a text message exchange last week.
Becker said the rally also helped galvanize support among Tea Party activists and she has received numerous messages of support and requests asking how they can provide assistance.
“It has given people energy that there’s a place to go with this, that we’re here to help faciliate that energy,” Becker said. “It’s a good thing the Tea Party is here for them.”
At the federal building, representatives including Becker and Stevenot walked inside and delivered a “letter” to security to present to IRS officials asking for a halt to targeting groups. Becker said she isn’t sure if the letter will be delivered, but said the protest met expectations.
However, not everyone was impressed at the protest and rally. Many onlookers, including David Meredith of Cincinnati, questioned the motives of the Tea Party members and said they deserved the additional scrutiny.
Rep. Pat Tiberi talks to a group of Ohio tea party leaders at Friday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on IRS targeting of conservative groups. Photo by Deirdre Shesgreen.
Deirdre Shesgreen reports:
Outgoing IRS Commissioner Steve Miller defended himself and the federal tax agency under intense grilling from House lawmakers Friday, saying the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups was not politically motivated but rather “foolish mistakes” made by “people trying to be efficient.”
Miller told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that he did not mislead Congress, even though he and other top IRS officials failed to tell lawmakers that IRS workers in Cincinnati had flagged tax-exempt applications from tea party and similar organizations for special scrutiny.
“I did not mislead Congress, nor the American people,” said Miller, who resigned under pressure from the White House earlier this week. “I answered the questions as they were asked.”
The line of questioning in the cavernous House hearing room quickly divided along partisan lines. Republicans tried to wrap the White House up in the scandal and suggested it was the “tip of the iceberg,” while Democrats tried to insulate the president and cast it as a limited incident caused by a handful of rogue IRS workers.
Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., said the IRS targeting appeared to be part of a “culture of cover-ups and political intimidation in this administration,” with the truth “hidden . . . just long enough to make it through an election.”
The panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Sander Levin, of Mich., said the IRS had “completely failed” the public, but warned against turning the scandal into a political football. “If this hearing becomes essentially a bootstrap to continue the campaign of 2012 and to prepare for 2014, we will be making a very, very serious mistake.” he said.
During the highly charged session, which lasted nearly four hours, no new evidence emerged showing that top IRS officials were involved with developing or implementing the inappropriate criteria used to single out groups with “tea party,” ‘’patriot,” or “9/12” in their names.
J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which probed the IRS’ actions, said that policy was developed by a team of IRS specialists in the IRS’ Cincinnati office, which reviews applications for tax-exempt status from groups around the country. (more…)
A Butler County tea party organization is at the center of the battle involving alleged harassment by the Internal Revenue Service.
Officials from the Liberty Township Tea Party (LTTP) said they are joining the class action lawsuit against the IRS for allegedly red flagging them and making them answer a long list of questions regarding their 2010 application to be considered a charitable organization.
Tea party officials said they received another another similar set of questions this year. The organization’s website says it was established in 2009 and obtained its tax exempt status last year.
A press release emailed to The Enquirer and to WestChesterBuzz Wednesday said the organization will be represented by the American Center for Law and Justice. Board members Susan McLaughlin, Tim Savaglio and Katy Kern are traveling to Washington, D.C. Friday to participate in hearings about the IRS scandal.
“LTTP board members believe our national government used tax agency bureaucrats to investigate people and groups because of their political beliefs and gave that private information to opposing groups,” the release said.
Kern put it this way: “The IRS is just trying to be a big old backyard bully.”
Kern’s husband Dave Kern is a Liberty Township trustee and executive chairman of the Butler County Republican Party.
Documents obtained by The Enquirer and WestChesterBuzz indicate that the IRS in Cincinnati sent a letter to the tea party group on March 1, 2011. The letter asked 35 questions, asked for documentation in several areas, and gave the organization 21 days to respond.
One of the questions asked board members to “provide details regarding your relationship with Justin Bink-Thomas,” a Cincinnati tea party activist.
Liberty Township Tea Party officials called the questions “intrusive.”
“Why would the IRS ask you something about your neighbor, that’s just too big brother,” Kern said.
She said the organization also received a second set of similar questions from the IRS in 2013.