Saturday, May 13, 2006

(4) THE MARK JAMES AFFAIR

Mark James is in fact a prime example of the corruption going on behind the scenes. In 1993 he partnered in founding the Law Firm ofJames, Driggs, Walch, Santoro & Thompson. Driggs became the primary lawyer in a television station (TV39) purchased by a consortium including Oram and notably the Beckers of Arizona Charlies (this Becker/Oram connection will become important later). Among the clients of the James, Driggs, et. al. law firm are also Rhodes Homes (later accused of bribing Erin Kenny), and Republic Silver State Disposal (who James oversaw as a State Senator on the Natural Resources Committee, and received donations from –) a clear conflict of interest.


Here's where the Machiavellian machinations of Kent Oram become apparent. Five weeks before the District F filing date ends in 2002, Mark Jamesmoves to a Spanish Hills rental while a house is built for his family in the commission district. [likely a Rhodes home, but not confirmed]. The home is in Erin Kenny's district. Kenny was supposedly running for re-election to the commission, but 30 minutes before the May 20 5 p.m. filing deadline, she announces she is instead running for lieutenant governor. Coincidentally at the ready, James steps in that last half-hour to fill Kenny's spot on the ballot. Sen. Mark James immediately resigns from the Legislature and sends a certified letter to Gov. Kenny Guinn on Monday, May 20, 2002 making his resignation official. Rumor long had it that Kenny had been hired by Rhodes to facilitate the Blue Diamond Hill purchase. Of course, James was also involved with Rhodes as a legal representative, so what appears to have happened is that Rhodes needed a patsy on the commission and since Kenny was trying to move up to lieutenant governor, they needed a quick replacement.


Of course, who was James' campaign manager and Erin Kenny's former campaign manager/great friend but Kent Oram. Earlier, in October 2001 in an interview, Kenny said about her potential run for the governorship that the fact Kenny Guinn had Oram working for him played a role in her decision. "Kent is more than just a consultant, he's a close friend, so obviously it plays a significant role." So, what this establishes is an incredible growing tumor of incestuous relationships between Oram, James, Kenny, Rhodes, Republic Silver State, and a list of others who saw elected office as a piggy bank.


Even more interesting is what Oram had to do next to anoint James to the payola commissioner seat. Unexpected competition in the Republicanprimary came from well respected lawyer Tim Cory, who with a clean campaign and Mormon support looked ready to bump Mark James out of the position. Four hundred Democrats in the Culinary Union suddenly switched to Republican before the Aug. 3 registration deadline and voted for former state senator James, sending bankruptcy attorney Tim Cory to defeat by 227 votes in the GOP primary. Of course, why would the Culinary Union care one whit about a Republican primary? Obviously there was a substantial payoff involved somewhere to move that many votes. Sadly, while the FBI can go after gullible amateur Galardi, they seem unable to connect the dots on the much larger pink elephant of across the board corruption involving Oram, his other political cronies, and fat cats like the land developers and Republic Silver State who together make the Galardi deals look like chump change.

Yet, even here we haven't done justice to the possible levels of corruption, because the one person who seems to have been orchestrating the musical chairs of Dario Herrera to Congress, Rory Reid to commissioner, Erin Kenny to Lt. Governor, and Mark James to commissioner, could have been none other than Senator Harry Reid. So, Reid must have implicitly been involved in talks with Oram about these moves, which we know were calculated because James had to physically change residence months before. Now, Herrera and Kenny have either been convicted or admitted to bribery, and James history is completely tainted, so the fact none of this mud has stuck to Oram or Reid is just damningly suspicious.

The George Knapp, and Mark James stories show that the G-Sting scandal is but the tip of a much larger iceberg, much of which we hope to outline in the following pages. The difficulty in describing this landscape is that the web is so involved that merely listing events chronologically doesn't do justice to the underlying racketeering structure. But now that we have shown the reader that there is at least one central focal core in Kent Oram, and that there is a coverup underway abetted by leaks via the media and police to protect central figures, the reader should be mentally prepared to open Pandora's box and see what else is rolling around inside,