Mismanagement and advantage

Screen-Shot-2015-06-11-at-12.48.29-PMThe audit of the Omaha Housing Authority that many were looking forward to left as many questions as it “answered”.

The first is, what was the holdup in releasing the document in the first place? There didn’t seem to be any justification in the delay, and that makes it questionable on any of these type of documents.

As far as the body of it, there were a few nuggets to pull:

The report was extremely harsh on former Omaha City Councilmen Fred Conley and Frank Brown, as well as current Councilman Ben Gray.

Brown was the Executive Director of “Housing in Omaha” a non-profit organization formed to assist OHA. As E.D., Brown was paid over $77,000 per year, but, according to the report, he had…

Minor small business experience (company failed). No private or public housing experience and very limited management experience. Elected official. Took advantage of position to get job created for him at HIO. Rather than making a contribution through his job, seemed to have impeded normal functioning for personal power.

This position amounted to an unnecessary transfer of functions already being performed by OHA staff and added to HIO’s losses.

Oh, and who was the guy who lead OHA at the time Brown was installed?

Brad Ashford.

Ashford generally gets cited in the report as “keenly interested in improving the OHA governance,” though this was apparently after he propped up Brown. Ashford was generally “credited” with working on the main court settlement at issue, however…

In complying with the requirements of the settlement, OHA made a number of flawed business decisions that ultimately led to the development and occupation of properties that were not able to sustain themselves financially.

Our results show significant issues over the period from 2002 through 2011 related to the use of governmental funds, inaccurate financial reporting, ineffective governance, and poor financial management / internal control.


The kicker of the report was that OHA was directed to repay over a million dollars because of the malfeasance.

HUD told them to pay it back over 6 months.

Their counter-offer was paying it back over 40 years.

CONGRESSMAN Brad Ashford then jumped in to try to get HUD to lay off OHA by writing them a letter, as a Congressman, and trying to get Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse to sign the letter too.

The Senators did not sign.

Considering his major position and involvement at OHA, some consider his sticking his nose into the Federal procedures to be a conflict of interest, at best.

Go figure.


But the report is particularly scathing towards Conley (“no prior housing related experience“) , and current Omaha City Council President Ben Gray (“no housing or business related experience“).

Fred Conley/Ben Gray have unduly influenced several management decision i.e. reversing a staff termination through extraordinary change in personnel policy, pushing contracts to preferred vendors against management’s recommendations, raising the question as to whether they were serving the “constituents’ interests” or OHA’s best interests.

You’re not going to believe this, but Conley and Gray disagree with the findings of the report.


ICYMI, State Senator Ernie Chambers grabbed himself some official state stationery and some scissors and Elmers Glue and made a pretty letter to the Governor, making fun of the Chicago Cubs, Ricketts’ family and Ricketts’ legislative success.

Chambers’ “poem“, which would insult most 4th Graders, goes like this:


Governor Ricketts, most folks agree:
One more and then, with proverbs, I am done”

Father Ricketts’ ball team is The Cubs.
(Sometimes, they play like ragamuffin scrubs.)
The other day, Cubs fans turned bitter,
Watching “their” Cubs suffer a NO-HITTER.

By your Father, you were not outdone.
Peter Ricketts, you’re your Father’s son.
Confidently, you stepped to the plate;
On your shoulders lay a heavy weight.
As with “them Cubs,” (tho’ you be no quitter) —
Legislators pitched you a NO-HITTER.

This was in the LJS.
No word as to whether they asked Chambers why his letter and poem were printed on taxpayer-funded stationery.

Or why, according to unicameral staffers, we hear that Chambers prints his “Erniegram”…usually multiple pages, printed in color on the state copier, at least 60 copies, produced almost daily during session and once every week or two during the interim.

And we are always hearing about how brilliant Chambers is.
Maybe someone could teach him to use one of those TV-typewriter gadgets, and the electronic mail on the Information Superhighway.

And, no reason to link here…
…but it is interesting that Chambers, of all people, would mock Joe Ricketts success as a father.
Just going to leave it at that.

(And, “they play like ragamuffin scrubs“? Geez even Don Walton points out that Chicago is only 2 games out of the Wildcard…)

Boy, just think what Ernie could have come up with about Steve Bartman…


And this just in from The Twitter:

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 1.03.50 PM


Lautenbaugh has kids in school, and “hates to fly”.

But “Ever” is such a long time…


And just a note to be sure to hear the exclusive podcast with former Congressman Lee Terry on The Wheels Down Politics Show.

This is Terry’s first interview since leaving office. (We think.)

Give it a click, and tell a friend!


  1. The Exclusive says:

    Yeah the interview was Lee Terry’s first interview because nobody else cared enough about what he thought to interview him.

  2. TexasAnnie says:

    Chambers, the self-designated “defender of the downtrodden,” did not help those children with disability who were cheated of their constitutionally guaranteed public education back in the late 1990’s. I have not believed the man since then, And his poetry is just as bad now as it was then!

  3. Ogallalan says:

    What Teaxs Annie? !!! They didn’t help the downtrodden? Why have you never brought this up before? This is the first we’re hearing about it.

  4. Sparkles says:

    Ashford, exonerated.

    All the demonization, all that baseless conjecture and strawmen so resolutely and feverishly constructed.
    And when the long awaited day of reckoning arrives for our Democrat Congressmen, tried and convicted – only to be served up with:
    “responsible for the successful completion of the Hawkins settlement requirements..
    ..Keenly interested in improving the OHA governance.”

    Ashford, exonerated.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ashford is still more interesting than Terry. Terry didn’t even have the initiative to get in trouble during his 16 empty years in the House.

  6. Macdaddy says:

    You might want to re-read that report there, Sparkles, and then contact Julian Castro about all the straw men he constructed. The report was not kind to the OHA. BTW, who was it that created a job specifically for Frank Brown, someone who might want to make sure he retains legal counsel based on the recommendations of the auditors? And wasn’t Brad Ashford the CEO of the OHA from 2002-2006, a period of significant mismanagement? Now the auditors recommended prosecution for multiple people but what are the odds that Ashford would ever be targeted by the Obama Justice Dept? Unlike Senator Menendez, he hasn’t really crossed the President. And why does Ashford think his constituents want him to interfere in the federal government trying to collect from entities who have defrauded the taxpayers? I know I didn’t ask him to.

  7. Pretty Bold, Jane says:

    Letter To Editor: Response To Bold Nebraska On Bankruptcy

    Thanks Jane for twice exposing the “Real Bold.” What kind of company goes to media and brags about suing a small business or cries publicly that they are filing for bankruptcy. All this is for your ego and publicity.

    This all started from negotiations. Jane was very unprofessional and changing things, many more things that aren’t mentioned here. We sent Jane a check for $3,943.65. This was 25 percent of net profit. We gave our lawyer the remaining tickets and all of the proof – the same information we had in November that she never showed.

    Jane, show my last e-mail to you from November. “Cash the check or whatever.” “If we have to hire a lawyer, it will probably be for bankruptcy.” I couldn’t be any clearer. We hired a lawyer, showed the facts and made three separate offers – all were rejected.

    Check $3,943.65. She never tried to cash this check. It was not bad; it expired. Does anybody think we wouldn’t be in court for issuing a bad check? It is a felony.

    1. We would pay 25 percent, less beer cost – forget our other costs.

    2. Twenty-five percent of total gross. This is what they wanted from the start, only they wanted projected sales – not actual sales.

    3. The only reason for the third offer was because we had already spent $3,000. Lawyer needed another $2,500 to get through depositions. Another $2,500-$3,000 to get through court. Total $12,000 to go to court to pay $3,943.65. Even our lawyer was frustrated. He told us to check out debt relief. We filed.

    Bold’s lawyer called our bankruptcy lawyer and asked if this could be resolved. Really?! All Bold based this off, in their own words, was “They had a big truck!” She wants to be a politician. Lord help us!

    Lloyd R. Meis
    Neligh, NE
    * * *
    Letters To The Editor are not the opinion of the Antelope County News.

    Comments are closed.
    Letters To The Editor are not the opinion of the Antelope County News.
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  8. Sparkles says:


    The audit contains not a single word of criticism for Brad Ashford.

    The audits biggest finding, as explained earlier in the executive summary, is that OHA improperly used Section 8 housing and other funds to prop up the housing authority’s nonprofit development arm, Housing in Omaha Inc.
    That occurred after Ashford’s tenure as the agency’s executive director.

    Ashford, exonerated.

  9. KHDS says:

    This beer sales incident now proves that Jane Kleeb is a complete idiot and a fraud; as if there was much doubt before.

    No written memo or terms? Gross or net sales? How was net defined? She wanted projected sales?

    And you people who believe her regarding all of her predictions about future events are double fools. She has cost this state millions and the USA billions.

  10. Pete says:

    Jane Kleeb really is the worst kind of pox on this state. She’s just absolutely loony toons, and now she’s driving some poor guy out of business because she wants more money to build a clean energy barn that runs on coal.

  11. B Heard says:

    I really think the NE-2 R nom is going to be someone new who hasn’t yet been mentioned on this page. Some political novice a la Sasse to fill the vacuum. Not sure anyone can beat BA in 16 though (probably a close R loss).

  12. Hesdeadjim says:


    If Ashford does win, we can once again thank the vocal minority of the Republican “party” in douglas county.

  13. KHDS says:

    In all seriousness, that poem was Ernie’s greatest legislative achievement. Glad he devoted state resources to that magnum opus.

  14. NebraskaAndy says:

    The “Downtrodden… children with disability” of whom Texas Annie refers, is her own child, whom she deeply believes is your responsibly to pay for as a tax payer. And yet Texas Annie simultaneously bitches and moans about ever penny she has to pay in taxes herself.

    While we sympathize with her being responsible for producing a disabled child as fruit of her loins not ours, and we don’t really mind her saddling her personal family problems onto the public, as that warrants sympathy by good people, her constant hammering for “Tax Fairness” is repulsively hypocritical.

    Atheist Senator Ernie Chambers, who sued God in 2007 and then in 2009 became certified as a minister to marry people, is not one bit less hypocritical than Texas Annie.

  15. Ferd Berfel says:

    Macdaddy is edging toward it. And Sparkle Farkle here methinks protests too much with “Ashford, exonerated.” This is just the first step.

    Professional investigators who assign criminal or dollar blame in cases, will over the years develop a sense of when the bits of rock they are looking at are pumice that float or heavy basalt. This case feels weighty. And the last thing Republicans need to do now is to hammer a Brad (excuse that tack-y pun) directly. They need to long-leash this case to let it eat its way up the food chain, one peon to a pawn at a time. That way you can boil the frog with the frog’s cooperation.

    For example, to oust a president you don’t directly attack his sex life. For he can simply wait that out until a bored public sees his accusers as witch-hunting and him as a stud. Instead, you go after Liddy and McCord, then Haldeman and Ehrlichman and you get the VP indicted on an old tax evasion rap; you keep adding to it in bits until, flimsy or not, the rock seems a boulder. This roundabout way isn’t honest. But the public has a brief attention span. It works.

    Sparkle’s apparent sphincter tightening ala the repetitive “exonerated!” mantra, suggests an accurate assessment and appropriate nervousness. Because the thing about slow-boiling a frog is, it works even when the frog knows it is working. Gayness went from a felony to marriage in the blink of a historical eye but it was engineered over decades by steps always one level below the public’s fight or flight threshold, which solidifies into abhorrence under heavy pressure but yields under slight pressures. Short steps. Changing people’s deeply held opinions was ever thus.

    This doesn’t guarantee an ousted or even damaged Ashford. But the thing most sure to end any threat of it to Ashford is for Republicans to jump up and hit Ashford with it before they give this poison tea time to steep. Brad himself grew the leaves. It’s a shame to let it go to waste.

  16. Anonymous says:

    “For he can simply wait that out until a bored public sees his accusers as witch-hunting and him as a stud. Instead, you go after Liddy and McCord, then Haldeman and Ehrlichman and you get the VP indicted on an old tax evasion rap” – yeah, and Nixon was just misunderstood.

    There is one word for these men: traitors. They got fair trials, they were found guilty in a court of law by a jury of their peers. They are, all of them, felons. Most went to prison, paid their debt to the society & the country they grievously harmed by the actions they chose to commit, and some of them went on to be modestly useful.

    Traitors they remain. They, to a man, failed to preserve, protect & defend the Constitution. They deserve to be remembered with infamy lest their manifest evil be repeated. Every time I hear their names I spit on the ground.

  17. TexasAnnie says:

    NebraskaAndy at 6:50am stated nothing true, but came close to truth at one point:
    I absolutely DID BELIEVE that Nebraskans OWED a public education to my child while we lived there (and all other children residing in Nebraska, -even illegal immigrants!). It says so, right there in y’all’s Constitution. But NebraskaAndy does not believe he must obey your Constitution…

  18. Macdaddy says:

    Ferd, that’s good advice to wait on this. Ashford’s letter to HUD will make a nice little political ad as well. In actuality, there doesn’t need to be an actual prosecution. Politics will do nicely for now. Maybe Ashford can just claim he was his usual confused, befuddled self, shucks, golly gee. But there should be prosecutions and I’m sure the statute of limitations doesn’t run out on fraud and mismanagement of government funds. Prosecution will have to wait for either President Trump or President Sanders. Surely Bernie believes in squeaky clean government. Those socialists believe what they preach, right?

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