NEW- THE FLEECING OF THE TAXPAYER- HODGSON RUSS LEGAL BILL

*****NEW****Click on link below to be directed to the Hodgson Russ Legal Bills Jan- May 2016- THE FLEECING OF THE TAXPAYER.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B03Rg-d-K8EZYVRLTUxxVmpUNzA/view?usp=sharing


Thursday, July 4, 2013

The curious case of Joan Calkins, Sheila Ruhland, candidate supporters and irregularities in election finance reporting

When a candidate runs for a seat on a school board in New York State they are required to comply with  a very simple financial reporting system.  Each candidate is required to complete one of two forms three times during the election campaigning season.   A candidate would elect to fill out form "a" in the case they did not spend more than $500.00 during a several week period.  A candidate would elect to fill out form "b" in the case they have campaign expenses that exceed $500.00. Additionally, form "b" requires all candidates completing the form to disclose any receipts and contributions during the multiple week period. 

For simplicity, Concerned Hamburger will reference form 'a' as the "general form", and forms "b" the "itemized forms".  
The 3 reporting cycles in 2013 were : 
Cycle 1: 2/25/13- 4/22/13
Cycle 2: 4/23/13-5/16/13
Cycle 3: 5/17/13-6/10/13

Petitions for candidates seeking a seat on the Hamburg Board of Education were due to the Hamburg District Clerk on 4/22/13- the last day of reporting cycle 1. 

Recently, Concerned Hamburg was notified about alleged election finance tampering, and was anonymously sent, by someone claiming to work in the Hamburg Administration Building,  copies of all financial disclosure report statements for the candidates who ran in the May 2013.  

Concerned Hamburger reviewed the expense reports, and found some questionable reporting from two candidates who ran for the Board of Education: Dr. Joan Calkins who ran as an incumbent seeking a second full term on the Board of Education, and her running "colleague" Sheila Ruhland who was seeking a first term on the Hamburg School Board.  

Both women lost in the election.
Joan Calkins and Sheila Ruhland ran on the same campaign platform as set forth in a pamphlet distributed to no fewer than 1,000 households and individuals, had scores of lawn signs distributed around the Hamburg Central School District, mailed a post card and had an advertisement in the Hamburg Sun on May 16, 2013.
Calkins Ruhland campaign pamphlet
Calkins Ruhland Lawn Sign

Calkins Ruhland Mailing

Calkins Ruhland Advertisement in Hamburg Sun- paid for by friends.

The campaign reports filed by Dr. Calkins and Ms. Ruhland reveal fuzzy math and some questionable accounting practices. 

Cycle 1: 2/25/13- 4/22/13- both Calkins and Ruhland report receipts and expenditures less than $500.00 and signed the general form attesting to their finances.  

Cycle 2:  4/23/13-5/16/13 Calkins reports ZERO contributions and $1421.74 in expenses- $200.00 for signs,  $1000.00 for signs and a mailing and $221.74 for palm pads (sic).  Calkins signed the itemized form attesting to the expenditures.  (See "Specimen 1") The expenditure of a mailing reveals no corresponding expenditure for postage.

Sheila Ruhland signed the general form attesting to expenses less than $500.00.  
Looks like Dr. Calkins picked up the election expense tab for Ms. Ruhland.  Ms. Ruhland attested that to the best of her knowledge, information and belief that she did not receive more than $500.00, nor did she spend more than $500.00 during the second cycle.  Yet, Joan Calkins claims to have paid for signs, palm pads (sic) and a mailing all of which included Ms. Ruhland's name. Perhaps, Ms. Ruhland did not know what Dr. Calkins was doing in her name.  

Cycle 3: 5/17/13- 6/10/13  Calkins filed the itemized report and claimed receipts of- $504.24 from Attorney Daniel Chiacchia of the Chiaachia Fleming law firm,  $500.00 from Mr. Harold Johnson, $200.00 from  Mr. John Doyle and $361.05 from Gretchen McCormack.  A grand total of $1615.29 in receipts.  (See: "Specimen 2")  

Dr. Calkins itemized and attested to receipts raises many questions.  Specimen 2 reveals fuzzy figures and certainly does not follow the directions set forth on the form.  Scribble under the entry of contributions from Mr. Chiacchia suggests documented expenses of $427.75 to the Metro Group- the owners of The Hamburg Sun Newspaper, and another $580.78 to Color Express- which appears on the expenditure report "Specimen 3".  Mr. Chiacchia's generous donation paid for 1/2 of the advertisement which appeared in the May 16, 2013 Sun Newspaper which states "paid for by the friends of Joan and Sheila for Hamburg School Board".   Dr. Calkins fails to report the Sun advertisement on the expense side of the itemized report, yet claims to have receive monies from Mr. Chiacchia to pay for the ad.   Specimen 2 reveals a $361.05 paid to Federal Express by Gretchen McCormack- yet there is no expense listed for Federal Express.

Specimen 3 reveals more expenses by Dr. Calkins which include a fuzzy calculation  regarding a mailing, but no postage.  Dr. Calkins backs out $1000.00 previously paid, yet only subtracts $513.52. There are no notations nor explanations regarding her fuzzy calculations, which leaves one to wonder why her expense reports seem so complicated.  Specimen 3 reveals an expense of $580.73 paid to Color Express- which she claims was paid in part by Mr. Chiacchia- see Specimen 2.

Sheila Ruhland's itemized expense reports for Cycle 3 are far less complicated. However she fails to address all of the expenses stated in her running mate Dr. Calkins' report. Ms. Ruhland claims to have received $504.24 from generous Mr. Daniel Chiacchia of the law firm Chiacchia and Fleming (see: Specimen 4) Mr. Chiacchia donated the exact same amount to Dr. Calkins, and Dr. Calkins reports his donation was to pay for 1/2 an advertisement and 1/2 of a payment to Color Express for pamphlets Mr. Chiacchia helped to distribute (see: photo 1).  Ms. Ruhland itemized receipts of $504.24 but claims to have spent less than $500.00 during cycle 3. (see: Specimen 6)  In Specimen 5, Ms. Ruhland records expenses of less than $500.00 with a payment for signs to Don Johnson in the amount of $206.95.  Leaving a net gain of $297.29 in favor of Mrs. Ruhland. Where is that money that Dan Chiacchia donated to Mrs. Ruhland, there are no records of it being spent on her campaign. 
 
Specimen 1


Specimen 2

Specimen 3
Specimen 4




Specimen 5


Specimen 6


Concerned Hamburger is not suggesting any wrongdoing, but rather fuzzy reporting and missing information.   

Additionally, Concerned Hamburger was notified recently that Dr. Calkins, Ms. Ruhland and Mr. Chiacchia were each served with cease and desist letters on May 21, 2013 due to their involvement in creating and distributing election leaflets with defamatory information regarding two private citizens and another Hamburg Board Member.  Dr. Calkins and Ms. Ruhland lied in their campaign literature.  Calkins, Ruhland and Chiacchia dismissed the letter written by the attorney for those defamed ordering them to cease and desist their defamatory actions, and they each continued at Hamburg High School.  

Mr. Chiacchia and Dr. Calkins are seen in a photo distributing the leaflets that contained defamatory statements about two private citizens and another board member.  Several copies of the pamphlets are viewable in Mr. Chiacchia and Dr. Calkins hands. 
Phote 1: Mr. Chiacchia and Dr. Calkins distributing pamphlets in the parking lot of Hamburg High School.








35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like BIG LIES BY THE PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY. JOAN CALKINS LIED ON HER EXPENSE REPORT. WHAT IS HER CONNECTION WITH DAN CHIA? SOMEONE SAID THERE IS A NEXUS TO CH-CHIA? JUST SAYING.

Anonymous said...

This little blog is revealing the truth of doctor calkins. Why dont some of her supporters and pathetic sign holders ask her for her cease and desist order and the accompanying restraining order we heard there is filed against Joan. We heard STATE AGENCIES FOUND HER TO BE IN VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAWS. IS all of this true? THe bigger question- why Chia? Hmmm- lets explore this question.

Anonymous said...

MRS RUHLAND DID NOT REPORT CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS- WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE CALL THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OR INTERPOL? THIS CRIME IS A REAL ONE AND NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED. THIS IS a SERIoUS CRIME BY A DOcTOR AND A NYS PAROLE PERSON. CALL THE POLICE- PLEASE. WE CAN NOT HAVE THIS KIND OF THING IN AMERICA.

Frontier grad former Calkins Patient said...

I would suggest looking at the election ballots from May 2011, it has been suggested that election fraud took place then. I would also suggest looking at the fraudulent scheme that took place when Bob Madden was appointed to the BOE- no ballots were read. Greg Davis just announced a winner. Then, look at the broken machines in May 2012. Now cry baby calkins cant get over losing and her expense reports are a pile of slop. Gee one would think with a degree from Johns Hopkins and Vassar and her elitist opinion of herself she could follow directions. Like, for example- there is no address for donor John Doyle- nor Gretchen McCormack. Joan- you have some explaining to do. This is serious stuff and I hope some turns over your records to the DA. Would someone go look at her 2012 election rec't?

Anonymous said...

Joan,

Even the empoloyees in the administrative offices hate you. They turned you in for election fraud. You are not the salt of the earth, as you claim to be on your FB account, you are the scumb of the earth. Get real Joan!

Anonymous said...

Joaner and Dan look like the have it all wrapped up.

Pussy Galore and the cement mixer said...

A LAWYER, A DOCTOR AND A PAROLE AGENT- SOUNDS LIKE A JOHN GRISHAM NOVEL.

still worried in Boston said...

Concerned, I am concerned about some of your recent coverage. Dr. Calkins has lost the election and she no longer has any influence over the schools. How about some information about our new District "custodian", Jim Tresmond? We know absolutely NOTHING about him! Help us out. Why is he the best person to help Hamburg through this transition? Also, this is a time for our new Board to behave in a way that matches the rhetoric you have all been using for years-- don't repeat the secretive mistakes of the old Board, make decisions according to established procedures, and keep personal vendettas OUT of school business. The witch hunt against the BV principal is especially worrisome...he made some mistakes this year, but insisting that one of Sally's friends stay away from the building was one of the best things he's done. She has always worked hard for kids and cared deeply about their education, there's no doubt, but her negative impact on staff morale is also well-known in the building. This year's staff transfers are solely due to enrollment-- staff (especially aides) get transferred EVERY YEAR! BV has lost 8 aides to other buildings (and layoffs) over the last 5 years. Why the fuss now? Special area teachers have their assignments changed each year due to retirements and layoffs. This all happens according to a process outlined in State law and the teachers' contract-- and it is not capricious or political in any way. There are still worrisome things happening in Hamburg, and the new Board may be the source. We need open government, we need to follow established procedures for hiring, investigations, and anything else. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant"!

AES Teacher said...

Still worried in Boston- a witch hunt for the BVS Principal? Thats a rotten rumor perpetuated by none other than Joan Calkins. So you think transfers are in accordance with state law and union agreements. Please support your claims with reference to the exact laws and union clauses with the district. I dont know anything about the BVS principal other than he has been transferred from HHS to UPES and then with out any experience what so ever became a principal. In fact, he had little or no teaching experince...at all. I would be worried in Boston too....the performance at BVS is an embarrassment to Hamburg. Look at the rankings and maybe thats why the principal should get canned. maybe its based on stats, and if it is..BVS loses. BVS something like 79th place in the rankings. Ask some teachers at BVS what they think of their principal or maybe a cleaning lady or two. Get the picture?

Anonymous said...

So you think the BVS rankings are because of the principal who has been there for 1 year? Not the fact that it is in the poorest area of the district? Get a clue. Also, his job is in jeopardy because one teacher's aide, who is incompetent, doesn't like him.

Anonymous said...

Gee this new board is taking some hits and its only DAY 5!!! WOW, its gonna be a long year.

Anonymous said...

We hear BVS Principal yells at staff- his own secretary has complaints against him.

Mary Beth Jakubowski- a secretary with kids at BVS said...

Every Secretary gets yelled at by their boss? Let us remember that the blogger posts the postings and anonymous scared jerks post the comments. I hope the secretary at my kids school isnt getting yelled at she is a nice lady. I was upset with the talent show got all balled up by not having middle school kids. But its not the end of the world. Be nice- I like that Concerned Hamburger gives up info. Its the posters who need to be civil.

Anonymous said...

What about the newly elected board members? Who financied their campaign? The info is out there, and would raise a few eyebrows, so why aren't you blogging about that? I thought the goal of this blog, no matter who was on the BOE, was to keep the public informed and keep the board honest. I hope you start holding the new BOE accountable and stop wasting time with the endless Joan Calkins bashing. It is just a personal vendetta at this point. She lost, both you and Joan need to MOVE ON.

Concerned Hamburger said...

There were NO irregularities in the reports of Mr. Gary Klump and Mr. John Calahan, both men filed out the general form.

Mr. Yovienne, Mrs. Heetter, Mrs. Focucci each contributed $1312.02 to their joint campaign. CH was told their literature had all three names and the three all ran together. Their itemized expense reports reflect a three way split of the total $3936.06 they spent on brochures, signs, postcards, envelops and postage. Campaign contributions were marked on each persons expense reports. All the figure add up with no surpluses. Mr. Yovienne's campaign was financed with his own monies and he paid for an advertisement in the sun newspaper for just over $200.00. Mr. Yovienne was the SOLE contributor to Mrs. Forcucci and Mrs. Heeter, in addition to their own funds. The only questionable reports that were reviewed were those filed by Dr. Calkins and Mrs. Ruhland, and as stated in the post, it looks like there were many oversights. Dr. Calkins and Mrs. Ruhland are the only people who ran for office who got outside contributions, from Mr. Chiacchia, Mr. Doyle, Mr. Johnson and Ms. McCormack.

All of these documents are a subject to Freedom of Information Law, and can be FOILED from the school district.

Anonymous said...

AMEN!! Let's be honest here, the public is aware of the fraud. Or, at least the speculation has been running rampant. Why aren't you looking into that? Why aren't the financial affidavits of Yoviene, Heeter and Schrouth being placed online as "specimens"?? Why aren't you holding EACH of the board members to the same standards you hold those that are no longer even on the board??? Where does the difference lie? Why the special treatment?

You're defending and participating in the very secrecy that you bark about.

Why doesn't the blog take a neutral stance and report everything? The good, the bad, the ugly?

Move along...

worried in Boston said...

AES Teacher, see-- it's hard to know what's going on in another building if you don't work in it! People post comments on the blog with rumors they have heard but have no direct observation of. There is no doubt the BVS Principal has made mistakes-- it is his first year as a Principal, after all. The mistakes are not investigation-worthy, though. I'd be shocked if there was anyone out there who could avoid making mistakes or irritating people trying to do something as complex as leading a school. That being said, I'm glad to hear that the witch hunt I was worried about is a rumor as well. I truly hope it is. My personal opinion is that sometimes change moves slowly and deliberately for a reason-- a rush to change things can sometimes cause more problems than it solves. Replacing the BVS principal will not necessarily improve anything...and the more important story in the BVS rankings is the improvement over the last 5 years-- more than 100 places improved! So. The main thrust of my original comment is that I hope the new Board is willing to slow down a bit, seek truth through investigations instead of acting on rumor and vendetta...that's why we were unhappy with the last Board, right?

Anonymous said...

Who calls people DUDE(ETTE). Is that a for real comment? Must be from BOSTON.

Anonymous said...

No. Secretaries do not get "yelled at by their boss." That is an irresponsible thing to think, say, or write. Self control, like everything else starts at the top. No one is entitled to verbally abuse anyone, anywhere, ever. How do you not know that?

Danny said...

Call Crisis SERVICES- the entire district needs group therapy. Where does all this anger come from? Isnt Hamburg the Town that Friendship built? Gee, if you dont like Concerned Hamburger dont go this blog. It is simple. I read the blog because I have rarely seen any posts that were not based on facts- sometimes with a sour tone- but factual. You any posters who are nasty please get to counseling ASAP.

Anonymous said...

"Rarely see posts that are not fact based"??? Are you kidding me? This blog has far more personal accusations than any facts and it certainly has nothing to do with education.

Anne Marks said...

3:12- back up your comments. Give us one post that was NOT based on fact- and you back your position. And, its not based on education- have you read the blog? Ummm...perhaps you posted on the wrong site.

Anonymous said...

I like what Danny says. This is a great time to fold the Hamburg Central School District into Frontier and be done with the entire lot of the spoiled eight year olds and their cliques on the school board from both before and after the last election. And a bunch of high cost duplicative administrators too.

Gray Beard said...

PTA Moms and all others, before acting on what a friend asks of you , consider the ramifications and what you are about to do. I'm sure Sheila ran with Joan with good intentions and was not aware, at the time, what Joan had planned with "their" campaign.
Also keep in mind that the transition from old board to new board is going to be a ruff ride for the next couple meetings until everyone get settleded into their new positions.

concerned citizen said...

WHY DOESNT SOMEONE PLEASE PRINT THIS INFORMATION AND FILE A NYS ATTORNEY GENERAL AGAINST CALKINS AND RUHLAND AND THE SKETCHY FUNDING OF THEIR CAMPAIGNS. ALL THESE INDIVIDUALS HOLD PUBLIC LICENSES AND ARE HELD TO A CODE OF ETHICS. FILE A COMPLAINT WITH NYS ED COMMISSIONER.

Anonymous said...

J.B. is going to get disbarred. The person with the power is turning his focus onto her now. Good luck J.B.

Anonymous said...

3:41 You are scary.

Anonymous said...

Who is getting disbarred ? Intrigue awaits in hamburg. The truth will be out soon.

Barry the Fanilow said...

Oh Randy, you came and you gave without saying, and then you hide your name as in shame. Oh Randy, your posts and BS on the NEWs is exactly the reason you are- the incredible loser that you are- Oh Randy, can you please keep your pantyhose up?

Anonymous said...

Could this be Randy the head of county senior services?

Anonymous said...

Why is the democratic party interfering in our school district?

Anonymous said...

No boss should yell at any of his or her staff. Anyone who suggests otherwise should not be in management. All principal's and school personal should always be truthful and respectfull to his/her staff.

Anonymous said...

What is in this for Dan Chiacchia?

Unusual his behavior for a lawyer there is more to this story I am sure. All will out

Anonymous said...

All of those fools cheering for the boston valley principal. Who cheers for someone who does not even know how to act civilized in an educational setting. News flash Mr. Principal, you are PROBATIONARY. You can be dismissed for any reason or no reason at all. You dont scream at teacher aides, you don't dismiss your cleaning staff if they have a concern, you don't reprimand board members. Are you aware that the board members can vote either yes or no regarding your tenure and you have no recourse, none, look up the caselaw. The board has broad discression regarding awarding tenure. The point is that you need to tone your shit down and relax. You run a little po-dunk elementary school...you are not working at an inner city elementary school in Compton. Get real big guy and don't raise your voice to staff...and only, very occasionally raise it to students, when they need a little reality check. Get a grip or those board members may not raise their hands for your vote in 2015. It does not matter how many parents say you are a swell guy, it matters what feedback the board gets from ALL parties.

Anonymous said...

Wooooow. I believe the article on hamburgwatchdog.com will make national news. This is going to cause the death of APPR and that springville superintendent will get canned.