Talbot County Council needs to clean house
The stark contrast of President George H.W. Bush’s decency and graciousness and his principles for a thousand points of light illuminating the timeless values of duty, sacrifice and commitment in public service as compared to the toxic drama by Talbot County Council, Talbot Republican Central Committee and their “aka” minions could not be more different.
Why would Talbot Republicans go to such great lengths to create two fake Facebook pages: Matt Albers (aka Sears Wheeler) and Jennifer Williams (aka Toby Tyler)? Why would David Reel write a piece with Nicholas Panuzio’s name on it for Talbot Spy without Panuzio even reading it? Why get donations from the state Realtors PAC in Annapolis to Williams, Callahan and Pack on Oct. 12, then move those monies days later to the Common Sense Talbot PAC run by Williams’ husband and Callahan’s girlfriend? Why would these people lie, deflect, deny the knowledge of the fictional Sears Wheeler collectively to The Star
Democrat, have discrepancies in their required final campaign financial statements, and still believe they are suitable to lead the Talbot County Council when Williams, Callahan and Pack refused to listen to the outraged electorate on noise levels?
If neighborhoods concerned with noise tell county council members that their situation is insufferable, sane and decent leaders would never vote for increased decibels. What citizens asked for was enforcement. Not more noise.
Shame on the county council for putting Allen Bryan Jr., who is connected with the Landing MX motocross track outside Easton, on the noise task force with voting rights. Both Br yan and council members he supported financially voted for increased decibels. The track’s neighbors complained as far back as 2013 to Gov. O’Malley. Shame on Jeanne Bryan for what she is doing outside of her $20 million lawsuit against the county, claiming a fictitious Sears Wheeler lived on her property.
It is shameful 100 citizens in Rio Vista and Bentley Hay signed a noise petition, and the council voted against them. It is shameful the council voted to write a letter to a judge requesting to lift a court-ordered deed restriction as a result of a court order decades ago on Tilghman Island on what is now the Wylder property that increases noise. It is shameful that greed supersedes this county’s rural tranquility and the aka Sears Wheeler and aka Toby Tyler cabals lied to and Talbot Spy.
People of conscience must take truth-seeking steps to thwart political deception that is always a cooperative act. Citizens should not become ambivalent to covert political deception and conflicts of interest. In political journalism, we always follow the money. WILLIAMS
On Aug. 27, Greg Gannon donated $200 to Jennifer Williams’ campaign. On Oct. 1, Sigrid Hayward — otherwise known as Susie Hayward of the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors — donated $60. On Oct. 3, Matt Albers, “aka Sears Wheeler,” donated $60, Corey Pack personally donated $40, Connie Sheer of the Republican Central Committee donated $50, Al Silverstein, Chamber of Commerce president and Town of Easton Council member, donated $100, and David Reel of the Republican Central Committee donated $35. On Oct. 12, the state Realtors PAC gave a $1,500 check to the Williams campaign.
Williams, Hayward, Albers, Sheer, Silverstein and Reel were all copied on an Oct. 12 email with attachments containing a piece that Albers authored. Williams asked if a “surrogate” was needed for signature. That specific hit piece was to elevate Frank Divilio by diminishing Price.
On Nov. 1, Al Silverstein told this journalist that “five or six” meetings were held at the chamber offices and “maybe one on Tilghman Island.”
Between Oct. 22, when
investigated Sears Wheeler’s identity and Jeanne Bryan lied to about fictitious Sears Wheeler living on her property, and
Oct. 24 editorial about Sears Wheeler, until Nov. 1 when
published its “analysis” of this toxic mess, one can only imagine this cabal’s heightened palaver.
Williams’ campaign financials demonstrate wagons were circling. And it is up to Williams’ donors to ask themselves what they were told as they wrote additional checks.
On Oct. 23, Matt Albers, aka Sears Wheeler, donated $85 to Williams’ campaign. That same day, Common Sense Talbot PAC, whose chairman is Williams’ husband and treasurer is Callahan’s girlfriend, donated $989.82 to Williams’ campaign, according to Williams’ campaign finance report. On Oct. 25, the day after
Sears Wheeler editorial ran, the Williams’ campaign sent a $989.82 check back to Common Sense Talbot PAC.
But there are no entries in the final Common Sense Talbot PAC’s financials donating $989.82 to Williams’ campaign nor of Common Sense Talbot PAC receiving a
$989.82 check from the Williams’ campaign. These two check entries are listed only in Williams’ campaign filings.
However, the campaign finance report from the state Realtors PAC does show a $989.82 donation to the Williams campaign on Oct. 12. (Williams’ campaign report shows
$1,500 from the Realtors PAC on that date, while the PAC’s report shows the $1,500 as being contributed on Aug. 31.)
(The campaign committees for Chuck Callahan and Corey Pack each received $989.81 from the Realtors PAC on Oct. 12. Those three donations to the incumbent Talbot County Council members — Williams, Pack and Callahan — appear to be the only donations from the Realtors PAC that were not for an even dollar amount. Within a week or so of those donations from the Realtors PAC, Callahan and Pack’s campaigns sent an identical or nearly identical amount to the Common Sense Talbot PAC. Common Sense Talbot recorded a $989.81 check from Callahan’s campaign on Oct.
18 and a $990 check from Pack’s campaign on Oct. 20.)
During investigation from approximately Oct. 22 until Nov. 1 when
published its expose on Sears Wheeler, an additional 31 donations were sent to Williams’ campaign. After Nov. 1, only five more checks rolled into Williams’ campaign.
Three Williams’ donation entries stand out when cross-referenced with Noise Task Force members: Phillip E. Councell for $200 on Nov. 5; Glenn Higgins for $250 on Oct. 22; and John Pettit for $50. All supported decibel increases. CALLAHAN
Jeanne Bryan’s donation of $500 to Callahan’s campaign is not only poor optics, it becomes worse because Corey Pack is telling folks he believes Callahan will return it. That has not yet happened, according to the campaign finance reports. More importantly, everyone needs to note that Bryan’s attorneys filed a motion to get access to the county council’s closed-door sessions. The court denied this motion based upon legislative privilege. According to Talbot County Council records, Callahan attended every council briefing on the Bryan lawsuit since 2015, except for one.
By cross-referencing Callahan’s campaign financials with the Common Sense Talbot PAC’s financials, the PAC’s financials show Callahan’s campaign donating $989.81 to Common Sense Talbot on Oct. 18. There is no required entry of that $989.81 donation in the expenditure section of Callahan’s campaign filings.
Other donations to the Callahan campaign include $500 from DelMar-Va Paving, whose mailing address, as with the Landing MX, is the home of Allen Bryan Jr. DelMar-Va Paving also gave $2,500 to Common Sense Talbot.
On Aug. 31, Greg J. Gannon donated $200 to Pack’s campaign. On Sept. 17, the Realtors PAC donated $1,500. Pack’s campaign finance report lists the address for that donation as the address for the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors in Easton. But the Mid-Shore Board does not have a PAC, according to the Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System. The campaign finance report from the state Realtors PAC shows it donated $1,500 to Pack’s campaign on Aug. 31. On Oct. 12, the state Realtors PAC donated $989.81 to Pack. In Pack’s campaign finance report, in the media expenditure section, is an Oct. 19 entry of $990 to the Realtors PAC in Annapolis for media buys. On Oct. 26, Connie Sheer gave Pack’s campaign a
When Pack’s campaign financials are cross-referenced with Common Sense Talbot PAC’s financials, the Common Sense Talbot PAC financials show a $990 check from the Pack campaign on Oct. 20. Pack’s campaign financials do not have an entry of a check going to Common Sense Talbot PAC.
What exactly was told to the Realtors Political Action Committee in Annapolis to receive the Oct. 12 campaign donations to Pack and Callahan’s campaign, which ultimately ended up in the Common Sense Talbot PAC coffers? Why not deposit directly to Common Sense Talbot PAC, whose papers were filed with the State of Maryland on Oct. 10 by Williams’ husband and Callahan’s girlfriend and Matt Albers aka Sears Wheeler, who contracted with JaKa Media Solutions on Oct. 5?
On Aug. 31, the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors donated $500 to Divilio’s campaign, according to his campaign finance report. However, the state Realtors PAC shows it donated $500 to Divilio’s campaign on that date. On Sept. 4, Greg Gannon donated $200. On Oct. 30, Connie Sheer donated
Divilio sits on the Bryan Foundation Board. During the campaign, Divilio said he did not want to serve unless Williams was reelected, so does this mean Williams won’t go away even though the voters ousted her?
Once it was discovered that Greg Gannon attended at least one meeting at the Chamber’s offices with those involved with the Common Sense Talbot PAC, Laura Price returned Gannon’s donation. That is reflected in her campaign financials on Nov. 8.
This roadmap demonstrates who has ethics, and her name is Laura Price. Those who signed these financials should be held accountable. The Ethics Commission and Maryland Board of Elections need formal complaints.