For a radio talk show host (and columnist), Joe Mullins is the gift that keeps on giving.
I have said it before in this space, and I am more than happy to say it again: If there is a more ridiculous excuse for a well-financed candidate for public office than Joe Mullins, I have never met him! I so appreciate the fact that the worst local politician I have ever personally met is a rich, spoiled, white Republican. Mullins is proof positive that asinine ineptitude is an equal-opportunity employer.
If you missed the update, three years after getting his fanny handed to him in the race for the Georgia legislature that eventually saw Jodi Lott prevail (Mullins finished a distant third, and spent approximately $100,000 to do it!), he took his ball and moved to Flagler County, Fla., (and this time, he meant it!). He decided he wanted to be a county commissioner down there. Joe apparently thought his reputation and the tales of his legendary bad behavior would not follow him to his new constituency, but alas, he was wrong.
I have shared my knowledge of Joe’s character and track record with a number of residents down that way, and even a few reporters. I was told early on that Joe had courted favor with, and gained the approval of, the influential newspaper publisher whose publication serves his new political stomping grounds. The publisher has been given substantial evidence concerning the many amazing reports of Joe’s hideous habits and odd behavior, but in my last exchange with him, he seemed pretty loyal to the “Columbia County runaway.” If that newspaper does half the job exposing Joe Mullins that me, Steve Crawford (of the Augusta Chronicle), and Stacey Eidson (of the Metro Spirit) did, I will be pleasantly surprised. When it comes to the highlights of all his embarrassments and gaffes, all of their work has been done for them. Damn shame they don’t appear to be interested in telling the whole story; what’s past up here, is prologue down there.
So Tuesday, I moved forward with information that indicated I needed to reach out to several folks listed on Joe’s publicly posted campaign contributors list. You see the image of that webpage on the left side of the big picture attached to the column.
Among those listed as contributors, all from the CSRA mind you, are Joe’s two sisters, his brother-in-law, and two of his employees.
Heather Buchanan is one of those employees, and we all need to thank her for being as courageous and honest as she has been in this matter. Buchanan described to me in great detail how Joe had asked her to donate to his Florida campaign and that he would immediately reimburse her with a check from his business account. As you can see in the picture, it appears as if he did. She then reports that Joe had her go to Jennifer Mullins (Joe’s sister), Julie Mullins Eden (another sister) and Danny Eden (Joe’s brother-in-law) and “exchange by hand” personal checks to his campaign for reimbursement checks from Joe’s business. (Eden Farms, listed on the contribution form, is reportedly owned by Danny and Julie Eden.)
Buchanan did not know how or whether Mullins reimbursed fellow employee Jerry Hottle, whose wife, Frances, is listed on the campaign disclosure website as a contributor. Mrs. Hottle contacted me the day I broke this story, and she was livid. “I don’t appreciate my name being associated with any of this; I have only donated to Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney. … I sure didn’t give any money to Joe Mullins.” I explained to her that the website only posted info supplied to them by the Mullins campaign, and I urged her to contact them to clear up the confusion. In her rage, she remarked that there must have been a check with her name sent, but that she had no part in writing it.
I feel like Mr. Hottle was likely taken advantage of by Mullins in this mess, but I sure wouldn’t want to be in his shoes when he has to explain it all to his wife.
It should be interesting to hear how Joe explains all this. When questions are asked by officials and investigators, and you better believe they will be, those who are answering will likely be under oath under penalty of perjury. Soliciting campaign contributions to be reimbursed by “undocumented sources” is illegal. Pressuring employees to engage in illegal behavior is also a no-no.
Joe likes to compare himself to Donald Trump as a candidate (I am not joking), but unlike Trump, it looks like someone could actually make a pretty good case for “collusion” when it comes to this situation.
Collusion: secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.
Before I even made it off the air the day I broke this story, someone from Mullins’ office was sending threatening messages to Heather Buchanan, concerning her willingness to discuss “office business” with me because she was made to sign a “non-disclosure form” when she was hired. Non-disclosure forms are great for protecting trade secrets, but completely worthless when it comes to hiding illegal or fraudulent activity. I would laugh about that, but the fact that Joe is too stupid to know any better is getting to be a tired old joke.
And in case you didn’t hear, Mullins did have a defamation lawsuit filed against me today, not for any of what is discussed above, but for all of what I said and did three years ago when he ran for office. The fact that I have repeated it, along with many incredibly well-articulated opinions assessing his lack of maturity, brains, manners, common sense or decency apparently hurts his feelings. Oh, well. Metro Spirit publisher Joe White was also named, and the two of us count the seconds, minutes, hours and days until our attorneys have him under oath to discuss everything from the sources of the Masters badges he reportedly resells by the bunches, even though he apparently has been told by the Augusta National’s attorneys to cease and desist, to the source of the thousands and thousands in front money he reportedly uses to buy those same badges, against the clearly stated policies of the Augusta National.
Oh, we have lots of questions that will get to the heart of my long-held and well stated opinions about Joe Mullins, and a whole bunch for his current and past employees as well. All asked under penalty of perjury.