Monday, April 22, 2013

With a Grain of Salt ... Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain

This morning I have had an interesting exchange of email with a person who identifies themself as a Richardson Coalition member. Maybe they are. Maybe they aren’t. I am going with it because what they say has the ring of truth for as far as I can see. So I guess I will have to wait a while and see if it comes back to bite me as a piece of fiction. So, with a grain of salt included…….
What they say pretty much confirms what people have been saying. Chuck Eisemann is the Richardson Coalition and there are others around who basically do what he says. Here is part of the first email:

“I just wanted to drop a quick note and say hello, though I'm not yet in a position to introduce myself by name.
I've been reading your blog for several years, however, generally disagreeing with you. In retrospect, I have begun to realize this was less due to the merits of our respective positions, and more due to the hold Chuck Eisemann has on the people around him.”
Apparently, the latest Richardson Coalition mailer and past actions of Chuck Eisemann and the Richardson Coalition have been weighing on him, for some apparent good reason.
“I've done a lot of soul searching over the past several months, and this past voter's guide and the information we put out about Amir made me truly realize how disparate the RC's views are from my own. I am not alone in this feeling: there are several RC members who disagree but simply don't voice their opinions for fear of being the odd man out.”
Maybe because I am an outsider of sorts to this group and from seeing all the questionable spending at city hall, I have been unable to understand why a person would want to be part of the Richardson Coalition. But maybe rubbing elbows with power brokers and rich people could explain the allure for some.
“It is easy to get sucked in by the money and power circulating within this group, and much harder to admit that we are being suckered by Chuck. But that's exactly what is happening. And while he does try to distance himself from looking like our front man, trust me, he is. He will always be our main financial backers, and nothing happens without his consent.… the purpose {of sending the email} saying hello and letting you know that people do appreciate the writing you do and the disparate viewpoints you bring to those of the "establishment". While I do think some RC candidates are good (after all, we supported Amir Omar once!), I think a healthier mix would include "non-establishment" folks who don't have the same business and social entanglements as our current officials.”
The latest voter’s guide I think may back-fire and cause some serious problems for both the Richardson Coalition and Laura Maczka.
“My frustration with RC and Chuck Eisemann have grown exponentially, and I find myself thinking along the same lines of the people we normally discount. "Can we get rid of RC candidates?" "How can we shut Chuck up for one?" etc …In any event, thanks for doing what you do.”
I sent him an email mentioning that several other members of the Richardson Coalition have resigned and it might be something for him to consider. As long as Chuck Eisemann has money to throw around and power to influence people and effectively twist arms, he said people resigning from the Richardson Coalition probably wouldn’t do much good.
“While symbolic to some extent, I don't think the departure of any particular members will affect anything tangible. No matter how many people leave, they are all replaceable, as long as Chuck has money to throw at things like surveys and voter guides (which he always will).”
Most people probably already know this, but the formation of the Richardson Coalition was a way to retaliate against those who voted to have Steve Mitchell as their mayor rather than another term for Gary Slagel. You might remember what is now referred to as the “Eisemann Petition”. It was a petition signed by about 170 asking Gary Slagel to not resign from council after he lost the mayor’s seat in 2007. As well, it was formed to try and hide his behind the curtain dealings and a way to try and keep a low profile with financial donations, attempting to keep his name off of campaign financial reports.
“Chuck founded the Coalition as a show of force against Gary's ouster, and as a way of legitimizing his spending on and engagement in city politics without attaching his name to everything he does. In essence, it's a way for him to keep his name off of people's campaign finance reports and bypass contribution limits imposed by TEC. I'm also doubtful he would have wanted "Charles W. Eisemann" written on Amir's documents a couple years back, for example, as it ties his name to Amir's views (and gives him a direct financial association with a Muslim, which I'm not so sure he wants).
This person estimates that Chuck Eisemann has spent over $30,000 of his own personal money funding the candidates he want in office and that the Richardson Coalition is little more than a front for Chuck Eisemann. With the PAC, he can run below the radar.
“RC is his front, his DBA masked as a PAC, so he can distribute money as he pleases but have someone else's name on it. He's probably given us $30,000 over the past couple years alone, which is more than he could legally have donated to any of the candidates. But he intentionally stays off of our executive board for a reason! He runs things behind the scenes as a "general member" which does not have to be documented and keeps him in relative stealth if he should ever want to distance himself from any negative RC-related publicity. But his name is not on any official documentation other than our donor list.”
They point out that if someone wants to create a little bit of mischief, it would be fairly easy and it is something they worry about.
“By the way, they never registered "The Richardson Coalition" as a PAC. Our lawyers have generally said we can do without it as long as we have the disclaimer at the bottom of the page. But I think it would be hilarious if someone else registered RC as a PAC name and then tried to steal their website. This has been a real concern of theirs, but they haven't wanted to do the paperwork to file RC separately.”
So who is the real power from a Richardson Coalition insider? It seems to be none other than Chuck himself.
“Also, "Coalition Leadership" literally translates to "Chuck". Although there are smaller executive committee meetings that include actual officers (plus Chuck even though he is not on our leadership at all), he calls all the shots. Stan, Ken and Chip basically hold ceremonial titles and do more of the paperwork and copywriting: none have the ability to influence the strategic leadership of the organization.”
Apparently it has long been a plan of Chuck to have Laura Maczka on the council, and she was not willing at first.
“Chuck has been grooming Laura for a leadership role for a decade now (albeit not mayor). If RC officers had decided they didn't like Laura, he would have forced their hand or just taken his money elsewhere to start a new PAC and left RC in the dust. Doesn't matter. He did all of this by himself before RC existed. He just didn't need a PAC because his candidates always won without him having to spend thousands of dollars.
A funny side note about Laura: she really did not want to run for mayor. He really twisted her arm about it. "I've done X, Y, Z for you, all these things, and now the city needs you." She was worried about bringing her kids/husband into this and having them all subjected to the scrutiny. Critically speaking I find it ironic that this morphed into her using the family on her banners.”
Some of the other insiders are apparently very angry about this last voter’s guide from the Richardson Coalition. In a trade of ethics for position it seems Laura Maczka does not want to call out the Richardson Coalition for their bad behavior dealing with the latest voter’s guide.
“I've also had members of her inner circle tell me she was angry with Chuck for RC's actions on this voter's guide, but out of respect for what he has done for her and the RC's support, she will not publicly denounce it. She is cognizant of the manipulation at play and of the message sent by her silence, but ultimately she needs RC too much to back-peddle at this point.”
To me this shows good cause in why Laura Maczka should not be supported. With all other organizations showing support for Amir Omar, more people donating to Amir Omar and the strength of their commitment to Amir Omar with the number of dollars donated, it would seem most people should recognize the game being played and see Laura Maczka as one of the principal players in that game. She knows and sees and yet will not condemn the Richardson Coalition or Chuck Eisemann for their actions.
Chuck Eisemann seems to know how to play dirty politics very well and excels at it.
“Chuck was strategic with the timing of this, leaving too little room for Amir to mobilize a good response or for Laura to distance herself without creating controversy that would hurt her too close to election time. Chuck wins again”
It is not over until it is over. I wouldn’t consider the election a done deal one way or another. And to use the words of the Richardson Coalition member who emailed me, “But, I think Amir will have the last laugh.”


  1. If you think the RC Voter's guide was bd, just wait until you read Laura's latest email.

  2. Yeah, instead of denouncing the RC, Laura rode with it! She showed her true colors.

    Laura was worried about bringing her family into this campaign, but she had no problem dragging Amir's young son into the spotlight.

    It's unfortunate. I wanted to believe she was a decent person.

  3. It is really difficult to take any large credence in a divorce situation. Emotions run really high and the drama is exaggerated. Why it is important to the Eisemann militia now over several years ago is puzzling.

    Expected a different response from her than the email she sent.

  4. Now I can’t wait until Laura’s next email.

  5. Here's my take on it. People shouldn't be marked for certain mistakes while young. That said bankruptcy is different in that you broke a commitment to pay someone for goods or services that WERE delivered. And it looks like Amir did it thru the available legal channels - which are entirely public. This is Exhibit A why you want to avoid bankruptcy.

    BUT if he paid the debts back and has confirmation of resolved debt then he has a great story to tell. Otherwise, this along with bad child support, it is lights out. I'm not sure how you can support either behaviour in a public official - especially when so many here are concerned about debt and transparency. But I know the rationalization is well on its way so I will hang up and listen.

  6. Well said 10:19. As a tax payer, AO defaulted me with his failure to pay government backed student loans. I need to know why, and understand what his plan is to resolve this unpaid debt to society. To me, this is a much bigger issue in the campaign than the timing of RC endorsements.

  7. Besides Chuck Eisemann, just who is the Richardson Coalition. I dare the members of the RC to come out of the closet and say who they are. I truly believe they won't.

  8. Seriously, 8:48?

    They are listed on their website and have been for a long time.

    This dialogue is silly and a smoke screen. There are serious problems that should be vetted in a candidate's background. There are a lot of baseless accusations flying here, which is exactly the criticism you all wield at your candidate's opponent.

  9. It was obvious early on that we had an election for Mayor, because every time I turned a street corner, I saw a huge 8’ x 10’ yard billboard from one of the candidates… definitely an unintended consequence of electing the mayor... some of which obstruct the view of traffic on several city intersections…

    I have no affiliation with any alliance or coalition and feel like it’s a waste of time and effort at this level of politics, but I don't begrudge either for putting themselves in the best opportunity to win. Politics has become a contact sport.

    Back to the signs… After weeks of seeing nothing but Omar signs on every corner, I started to get a little agitated… had I still been a teenager, I probably would have put hair and a mustache on several of them, but as a result of that childish and immature reaction, I began doing my own research on both candidates, but focusing on Omar.

    In researching Omar, I found that he loss in the Republican primary in 2006 in the Texas 30th District, Eddie Bernice Johnson’s seat... I guess no one told him that she will have that position until she retires or moves on into the next life. Regardless, after that primary defeat, he decided to move to Richardson and was elected to Council in 2009. By all accounts, he has served the City well, but I, personally, have never been sold on his “passion for Richardson”.

    I have always felt like this is a stepping stone for Amir to a higher office, especially, after he went to DC on 1/11/2013 to court his own special interest… the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC).

    I see the anti-establishment blogs saying that the Richardson Coalition is the Evil Empire and Chuck Eisemann is a puppet master, but 47% of Omar’s funds ($34,450), donations larger than $50, have come from outside the Richardson city limits. About 20% of that came as a result of his DC trip ($6,750), where he pandered to IAPAC. The PAC and at least 2 board members gave $2,500 of that amount.

    I don’t understand how special interest from outside the city is somehow more noble than special interest from inside the city. I don’t know Chuck Eisemann, but they named a pretty nice building after him, so he likely has a ‘passion’ for Richardson whether you agree with it or not.

    All that to say… I’m a pretty simple guy and the decision regarding who to support for Mayor hinged on which candidate I thought was the most invested in our community and most likely to stay, if there is a mess left for somebody to clean up.

    There was one troubling aspect to my research. Why did Omar change his name? Records show that he was previously known as Ameer Omar and now he goes by Amir Omar. Most of the negative stuff on him shows up under Ameer, so it’s a little disingenuous to change your name if you do so in an attempt to avoid things that don’t look good from your past… I could never run for public office for that very reason, but if you do… you should expect that someone will do the digging... I found it with very little effort...

    Other factors that I considered include:

    Residency - edge to Maczka
    Omar – 2 years
    Maczka – 30 years

    Council Service - edge to Maczka, current Mayor Pro Tem
    Omar – 2 terms
    Maczka – 1 term

    Special Interest - edge to Maczka, local influence
    Omar – Iranian American PAC. 47% of overall funds from outside Richardson.
    Maczka – Richardson Coalition… not a fan, but it is what it is… 90% of funds given inside Richardson.

    Fiscal Responsibility - edge to Maczka
    Omar – 1 bankruptcy, child support issues
    Maczka – no bankruptcy

    Legal issues - edge to Maczka
    Omar – financial and child support issues
    Maczka – no known issues

    Marital Status - edge to Maczka
    Omar – divorced twice
    Maczka – married once

    Name Changes - edge to Maczka
    Omar – Once from Ameer to Amir (I’d like an explanation here)
    Maczka – Once from Gibbs to Maczka

    In the final analysis, at least for me, Maczka is the overall best candidate to serve this community and will likely remain here after her service to the City is complete.

  10. markmonte61, while I disagree with your conclusions I support you making the best choice you can make. It is more than many other people do.

    Eliminating the influences of the Coalition along with who I believe would be the best person for Richardson was my #1 priority. The coalition is a special interest pac and after the election, the campaign reports will show substantial in-kind donations from them not to mention some of the fin=ancers of the coalition pac have already shown up in her campaign reports.

    While 47% of Omar's funding has come from outside of Richardson, according to the campaign finance reports, he has rasied $18,573.17 more than Laura has rasied, IN RICHARDSON.

    As for funding raising in the area, which shows local area support, he has out-raised Laura by $28,022. To me that indicates he has much broader support than Laura.

    Also Amir has shown he is willing to walk-the-walk with transparency. He listed EVERY donation whereas Laura did not.

    According to you, how long should it take before a person can be considered qualified to run for office in Richardson? I have been here lonbger than most anyone else, certainly longer than most every council member. I have no resentment that Amir is on the council, or might become mayor, just because he has not been here as long as me. He has stepped up and done more good for the city than anyone else I know of over these past 4 years and brought positive attention to Richardosn. Laura has been quiet as a mouse for the most part.

    As for financial responsibility, over the past 4 years Amir has lead with even the coalition callings him out during the last election for being responsible for saving the city over 4 million dollars. Laura's actions are simply invisible at this point over the past 4 years.

    While at least you try to rationalize you choice, at least you are thinking, unlike most people.

  11. As a current coalition member I can vouch for pretty much everything in this exchange, save perhaps for Eisemann's mindset and motivations. This is not a sinister plot on his part. He does what he does because he truly believes it is right and in the best interests of our city. And in defense of our organization and city, we have done very well for ourselves. I can understand being pissed off for one reason or another, but when push comes to shove, are we really so bad? We support our friends because he think they will do a good job for Richardson, and so far they generally have done exactly that.

  12. Anonymous 11:05, thank you for the comment. I can certainly understand what you say. I would probably agree with you that most of the coalition members are decent people. As for Chuck Eisemann, he may indeed want what he thinks is the best for Richardson, and take action to implement his views. His lack of decency towards some very good people who have run for office outweighs the benefits. Thanks again for your comment.

  13. The message seems genuine, and from a thoughtful person. It would seem that the Eisemann has pressed his nefarious agenda upon a group of well-meaning citizens who, for whatever reason, find it difficult to back away from an evil person.

    The good people of the Richardson Coalition might want to consider the damage to their personal reputation Eisemann has caused and think twice about continuing the saga.

    Might I suggest there be an open and honest organization established that takes a serious approach to solving the problems Richardson is enduring?

    Anyone tolerating Eisemann's personality disorders and allowing him to continue his stranglehold on this town needs to pray hard for forgiveness.

  14. Loos like the RC lies about Amir are indeed false. Never late on child support and student loans were not written off. Wrap your arms around that Laura!

  15. Anon 2:21,

    Where did you see that they are false? Has Amir posted documents refuting the claims?

  16. When did you see they were true? Did the Coalitionists post documents?

  17. Again, we wouldn’t be talkin’ about electing our Mayor if it was left up to the city council and Laura and who ever is behind the curtain.

    I can't wait to see Laura's latest email. Has anyone seen it??

  18. As far as I can see Amir has refuted three of the four charges. I don't care about his divorces or his child support. That is between he and his wives and children. But it doesn't seem that he ever denies his bankruptcies. Am I right? And that is the one that is most troubling. I see the documents. It shows defaulted debt in a very legal and public instrument. Did he resolve the debt? If so, then he has a great story. Otherwise it is a continued pattern of walking away from a commitment. And being young and stupid doesn't excuse it in my opinion. Look at the documents for yourself. Look at who was left holding the debt that he incurred. I have never seen or heard him deny this component. Hating the coalition, which is easy to do, and threatening legal suit against anyone doesn't mean the proof of his past legal issues do not exist. Wake up people. Public officials must live to a higher standard.

  19. Anon 4/24/2013 @ 6:59 AM

    Appreciate your opinion. What seems more important is not what happened 13 years ago, or what the Coalition knew four years ago, or other back and forth chaarges, but the choice Richardson citizens make for mayor now based on the issues. Richardson can choose a mayoral candidate whose stated policy would perpetuate the "lead from behind", no questons asked "consensus" resultant from the generically stated, closely held management controlled agendas. In other words, the same limited public input behind the scenes discussed actions that exist now.

    Or citizens can choose a mayor who wants to recover the Council's policy making role from the staff, examine new ways of cooperating with other existing governmental entities, make sure staff provides alternative suggestions to accomplish council proposed goals, encourges and increases Council member's public questions and public discussions of both proposed and past actions to determine whether they best serve the citizens.

    In the January work session discussing whether to change the charter to allow direct election of the mayor, six council members voted against it. Two of them - Mr. Dunn and Mr. Solomon said few people had "asked" for direct election of the mayor. They impied that electing a mayor at large would disrupt the ability of the Coucil to "get along together". Ms. Maczka said there "wasn't enough time" to just change the Charter for direct election of the mayor. To do so would take up too much time when the Council has so many other important things to do.

    Mr. Solomon and Mr. Dunn must have only talked with the 25% of people who voted, because 75% approved electing the mayor at large. And gee, there was enough time to accomplish that election.

    I don't like campaigns that descend to dirty politics rather than stay on the issues.
    One side usually starts it, then the other side feels compelled to respond. Ugly.

    However, having had and observed ohers less than satisfactory interaction with city government as it has been for many years, I don't believe Ms. Maczka's election would change for the better how things are done. It would perpetuate them as they are now.

    Mr. Omar offers a different attitude - one can only lead from the front - and suggests a different approach to serving as Mayor. I believe change is needed and Mr. Omar can best provide that change.

  20. >April 23, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    I guess you don't know student loans cannot be discharged in a b/k???

  21. Citizens don't elect council members hoping that their highest aspiration is to "get along" with fellow council members.

    "I've learned the personalities. I know who I can work with as mayor. I know who I would not like to work with as mayor."

    This comment by Scott Dunn is an endorsement of the good old boys' network. And the fact that he doesn't even realize that blows my mind!

    Is it what happens when you live in the same small city for 30+ years?! You can't even see that?!

    In other cities where mayor is elected "they always split 4-3."

    So council votes splitting 4-3 is a bad thing and 6-1 is a good thing? Again, an endorsement of the good old boys' network. Different perspectives or out-of-box solutions aren't encouraged, or actually suppressed.

    "Will the voters be educated enough about all the ramifications of the direct election of mayor?"

    Maybe city council members NEED TO BE EDUCATED that THEY REPRESENT CITIZENS!

    It's an outrageous comment and again the fact that he doesn't realize that my mind!!

  22. How did this Council get so disconnected to think they know it all to educate anybody? Especially Scott Dunn? What a big shift in arrogance from 2 years ago! To speak about anyone in this City as uneducated is absurd. It is an admission to abuse of position. A Council member's responsibility is to REPRESENT by making sure the Charter is upheld and to set policy.

    I am beginning to see why these Council members were so against the direct election. This is a major power play for Richardson. Can you say sophomorically dysfunctional.

  23. For you April 23rd, 11:05am:
    If you are a member of the RC, and proud of it, why won't you tell us your name instead of using Anonymous? Must not be that proud