Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami Exclusive
Last year, when she ran for Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson vigorously campaigned for opening up government and for more government integrity. Subjects that makes voters feel warm and fuzzy on the inside because it makes them safe that someone is trying to keep government accountable and it proved to be an ideal campaign strategy.
In the Spring of 2010, the leadership of the Oakland County Democratic Party attempted to place a bogus “Tea Party” Party on November ballot with bogus signature affidavits. Naturally, they got caught. Johnson, who was then Oakland County Clerk and County Registrar teamed up with Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson to hammer Democrats like the Democrats hammered Republicans after Watergate. Patterson and Johnson then started a witch hunt that painted every Democrat in the state of Michigan with a guilt by association campaign that would have made Joe McCarthy blush with envy.
During her campaign, Johnson constantly accused her Democratic opponent Jocelyn Benson of “shadowy deceit” by trying to link her to the ringleaders of the fake Tea Party and to liberal billionaire George Soros. A guy that Republicans like to use as a Boogey Man to motivate their base of Glenn Beck followers and Tea Party Conspiracy Theorists. The Michigan Republican Party even went so far as to run this ad against Jocelyn Benson accusing her of being behind the “fake signatures” from the OCDP’s Tea Party fiasco:
When Johnson wasn’t painting Benson as a leftist militant who wanted to undermine state government, she constantly pounded her chest preaching about government integrity. However, what Johnson wasn’t telling people is that the law firm owned by one of her major political contributors, Linda and Alison Orlans of Orlans Associates, a multi-state foreclosure mill, was filing thousands of bogus foreclosure affidavits and mortgage assignments in Oakland County during her tenure as Clerk. Orlans attorneys have also filed thousands of other bogus documents in counties across Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. All of which are notarized in Oakland County.
According to Johnson’s campaign finance reports, Both Linda and Alison Orlans gave Johnson, who was still Clerk during her Secretary of State campaign, a total of $7200 for her campaign. Linda Orlans gave $3400 on 7/30/2010 and Alison Orlans gave $3400 on 10/29/2010. From the files I’ve reviewed from the Oakland County Register of Deeds, it appears Orlans Associates had been filing bogus documents during Johnson’s entire tenure as Oakland County Clerk.
As clerk, Johnson was elected to oversee what people were recording as public record in Oakland County. This includes mortgages, mortgage assignments, transfer affidavits, Sheriff’s Deeds and post-foreclosure purchase affidavits filed by title companies and foreclosure law firms.
Linda Orlans and Alison Orlans were not the only ones who gave Ruth Johnson money. Phillip Seaver, the owner of Seaver Title, a major title agency in metro Detroit, gave Johnson’s re-election campaign for Clerk a total of $1235 in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, Johnson received an $1100 contribution from the Michigan Land Title Association PAC on 6/25/2008 and $200 from Linda Orlans on 6/12/2008.
Johnson will argue that there is no way she could have known about Orlans filing documents with fraudulent signatures and notary stamps. This argument would have merit except for one key issue, the volume of documents that Orlans filed was in the thousands during her tenure as Clerk. Someone should have noticed and sounded the alarm bells.
However, even if we give her a pass and say, “It’s okay Ruthie, we forgive you for not doing your job.” There is still the question of ethics. Any politician and especially one of Johnson’s experience and reputation should know better than to take money from people who you have to oversee and police. A career politician like Johnson knows business owners don’t give money to politicians because they like them, they give it them so they can have influence.
If I was to invoke Ruth Johnson logic from her campaign for Secretary of State, then she is single handedly responsible for thousands of Oakland County residents losing their homes to illegal foreclosures and therefore she should be prosecuted right along with Linda Orlans, Marshall Isaacs and any other Robo-Signers when their day of reckoning arrives.
When Ruth Johnson reads this article, either one of two thing will happen, she will hold a press conference and cry this is some type of Glenn Beck style leftist conspiracy or she’ll beg and plead for forgiveness. My bet is she will make the leftist conspiracy claim and will attempt to claim I’m some type of Democratic operative secretly working for George Soros or some other crazy theory like she did with Benson. For the record, I’ve never met George Soros, Mark Brewer despises me, I gave up my Michigan Democratic Party membership in 1999 and I haven’t done anything political since 2002 when I hosted a political fundraiser for Andy Meisner when I lived in Oak Park. However, I am registered to vote as a Democrat in Florida where I am now a resident.
Regardless of what Ruth Johnson tries to claim, the fact is, she took money from people she was supposed to be watching. It’s documented, it’s public record, it’s unethical and her actions during her campaign make her look like a hypocrite.