The Rashad Richey story hit WSB tonight, which means it’s now headed for Cable News. The video is here. Below is an email sent out from Chairman Berlon earlier today that I’d also like to share. It’s a perfect illustration of his typical pattern of behavior when confronted with facts he doesn’t like. Let’s look closely.
In the first paragraph, he feigns outrage over blog posts that suggest Rashad Richey had been convicted of felonies. Unfortunately, none of the 20 + blog posts I’ve seen claim that. They do however include multiple mug shots, police reports and disclosure information. By failing to mention the actual criminal charges, Berlon seems to attempt to create the impression that these reports are baseless.
Dear Executive, State Committee Members and County Chairs:
There’s an important matter that I need to address. As many of you may know, allegations were recently raised in a local blog suggesting, in whole or in part, that our Political Director, Rashad Richey had been convicted of multiple felonies and other criminal charges in the past and should therefore be immediately terminated by the DPG.
Next, as he’s done previously in State Committee meetings and in the press, he attempts to blame former staff or state committee members for misfortune of his own making. Again, NO. Everything Andre Walker posted came straight from public record. No former staff or party members pushed this story in ANY way. To continually smear good Democrats who refuse to support this Chair is beyond the pale, but unfortunately par for the course.
These posts also accuse him of being a recidivist and suggest that he has very low moral character. Unfortunately, some of the allegations contained on these posts include material that I believe could only have come from inside the Democratic Party of Georgia from former employees and/or State Committee members who apparently have their own agenda or axe to grind.
Next, he plays the “internal matters” card. In my experience, this usually means matters discussed between Mike Berlon, Richard Ray and Tasso Knight. If you are a DPG Officer, Executive Committee Member, or State Committee Member, you are irrelevant in this administration. He goes on to claim that he’s conducted an “exhaustive investigation”. One wonders why this investigation didn’t begin 6 months ago when the DNC vet was revealed. And next (drum roll please), he has concluded Mr. Richey has never been convicted of a felony. Again, failing to disclose the actual charges. Basic straw man.
Mr. Richey is not a public figure and it is generally not our policy to comment on internal personnel matters. I can assure you that I take these allegations very seriously and have conducted an exhaustive investigation into all of the facts and have reviewed all of the records. The record is clear and my investigation is complete. Mr. Richey has never been convicted of a felony.
What exactly is a “basic background check”? And in what universe is Rashad Richey “one of the best political directors in the country”? These questions will likely go unanswered.
Mr. Richey was a previous employee of the party under the last Administration and cleared our basic background check before he was hired as an employee. Since the time he was employed, there has been no behavior or conduct that would warrant his dismissal. In fact, in my opinion, he is probably one of the best political directors in the country and his work product has been exemplary. I think that those of you have worked with him would likely agree.
Again, when in doubt, cast blame, take no responsibility and offer no leadership. He claims reporters received “an anonymous e-mail”, but anyone with a google alert for Georgia Democrats has been spammed for the last week.
In spite of these facts, it is clear that certain individuals continue to push this story. This morning we were contacted by a local television reporter who showed up at the office seeking reaction. They indicated they had received an anonymous e-mail about the situation and wanted a response. You may see that story in the news today or tomorrow. I wanted to make sure you had advance notice of the situation.
And finally the “go to” move, threaten legal action. As he did to DPG Officers, Executive Committee Members, DNC Members, Obama Campaign and DNC staffers. Those planned press conferences never happened, and odds are this one will be no exception.
Given the current circumstances, we will be conducting a press conference later this week at a time to be determined to address these issues. At that time, I also expect Mr. Richey’s lawyer to be present to answer questions about any potential legal action, if any, that may be taken against those involved. That matter is between Mr. Richey and his counsel.
Um, no thanks. Fool me once…
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I wanted each and every one of you to know the situation. If you are interested in supporting Mr. Richey at the press conference, or if you have any comments to the contrary or questions of any kind, please let me know.
Democratic Party of Georgia
No one enjoys this kind of public embarrassment, least of all good Democrats. It’s killing our party and tarnishing what’s left of our brand. I only wish I had this information back in February 2011 when Berlon refused to heed my concerns (and those of others), about Rashad Richey. I would have dropped it squarely on his desk when he asked “what proof do you have?” Maybe that would have saved us from this current embarrassment, but probably not.
I’m not sure what it will take for Georgia Democrats to get their house in order, but it’s clear this Chair has no intention of resigning. What’s best for the party does not seem to be his concern. If he’s to be removed, it will be up to the good Democrats of the State Committee to stand up and take charge of their organization. It’s up to each one of you to prove your relevance.