Post Tagged with: "Miller Direct"

The MB Chamber Doth Protest Too Much

April 11, 2018 3:39 AM
The MB Chamber Doth Protest Too Much

Watching the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce production Tuesday afternoon with respect to its handling of the tourism development fee public funds reminded me of a stage play.

It was a totally scripted production, billed as a press conference to answer the claims made in Karon Mitchell’s recently filed lawsuit. But, this “press conference” did not take questions from the press.

What kind of press conference does not take questions? One dealing with the TDF lawsuit obviously.

Of course, by taking questions the players could have been tripped up on their carefully crafted scripts, so it was best not to take them.

The scripts reminded me of Queen Gertrude from “Hamlet.” To paraphrase her timeless line, “The Chamber doth protest too much methinks.”

How many times were the words “fake,” “baseless,” “scandalous” and “shocking disregard for the truth” uttered during the respective acts? Too many to be believed, which is exactly the point of Queen Gertrude’s comment.

Even with the scripting, mistakes were made.

Time and again Mitchell was attacked by the various players, but no proof was provided to support those attacking statements, merely words. It was all Mitchell’s statements are false (and worse), We do all these things, believe us.

Board chair Carla Schuessler denied the Chamber was “inextricably intertwined with governmental policy,” as stated in the lawsuit. We covered the Tim McGinnis campaign connection in a previous article.

Once again there was no explanation of the consecutively numbered cashier’s checks totaling $325,000 that were disbursed among local and state politicians in 2009 after the tourism development fee became law and was instituted by Myrtle Beach city government.

More than anything else, it was those campaign contributions that stirred questions about the TDF and the Chamber that remain to this day.

Matt Klugman, Chair of the Marketing Council for MBACC, spoke over and over about a competitive bidding and RFP process that was used to select the services of various businesses, referred to as crony companies in the lawsuit, that were started by former Chamber employees. This is good! Documents related to those processes should make interesting reading when they become exhibits in the lawsuit.

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Efforts to Debunk Karon Mitchell Lawsuit Flawed

April 7, 2018 4:48 AM
Efforts to Debunk Karon Mitchell Lawsuit Flawed

(Ed. Note – Some negative reactions heard locally to the Karon Mitchell lawsuit are like the Chinese fireworks pictured above – loud and colorful but, in the end, just smoke.)

On April 5, 2018 at 3:05 p.m., Karon Mitchell filed a lawsuit against the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC), the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County alleging misuse of tourism development fee (TDF) and accommodations tax (ATax) public funds.

In response to the lawsuit, MBACC issued a blanket denial of the allegations and at least one local television news outlet in the area attempted to, in its words, “fact check” the allegations.

The MBACC response came in a media statement issued April 6, 2018, by board chair Carla Schuessler:

“Today we had an opportunity to review the lawsuit that was filed against us, and l am disappointed to see that we will have to divert our time and resources to address this case which is full of conjecture, innuendo and inaccurate statements. The Chamber complies with all applicable laws regarding the use of public funds and selects vendors based on best business practices.”

The Chamber statement went on to say it will hold a press conference next week to accurately address the statements in the lawsuit.

The local news outlet broadcast a story April 6, 2018 where it claimed to find discrepancies, between claims in the lawsuit and MBACC public disclosure documents, with respect to public money spent with what are called in the lawsuit “crony companies.” According to the lawsuit, crony companies are companies formed by former and/or current Chamber employees and, in at least one instance, a company owned by a MBACC executive board member.

This appeared to be much ado about nothing as the MBACC public disclosure documents used generic descriptions instead of specific vendor names for some of the expenses listed. If those challenged expense amounts did not go to any of the crony companies, next week’s MBACC press conference can “accurately address” those statements and tell us exactly what company did receive the payments.

Another area addressed in the media story was a statement in the lawsuit that “the chamber funneled tourism tax money through the crony companies to contribute to politicians supported by the chamber.” 

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Big Money vs Citizens in District 56 Election – Big Money Wins (Updated)

October 23, 2017 4:10 AM
Big Money vs Citizens in District 56 Election – Big Money Wins (Updated)

The special election for SC House District 56 has come down to a contest between a big money candidate on one side and a candidate for the citizens on the other.

I am calling this a two man race between the citizens’ choice Dwyer Scott and the big money choice of Tim McGinnis. With all due respect to third candidate Adam Miller, who will make a fine candidate in the future, he got caught in a vise in this election.

Scott has been endorsed by the Coastal Carolina Young Republican Club, the steering committee of the Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe (a group with 8,351 citizen members according to its Facebook page) and former Horry County Council candidate Ethan Leyshon.

McGinnis has been endorsed by the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors (many of whom belong to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce), the S.C. Education Association and the Carolina Forest Republican Club. The Carolina Forest Republican Club was disbanded in 2015 with no record of it officially being started up again.

The McGinnis campaign website advertised a meet and greet at McGinnis’ Carolina Forest restaurant with U.S. Rep. Tom Rice and McGinnis. In an email exchange with Scott, Rice said he was supporting McGinnis.

However, the elephant in the room, one that McGinnis has attempted to disclaim all knowledge of is the group paying for his television ads, radio ads, most of his direct mail and possibly some of his signs. That group is the Citizens for Conservative Values (CCV), a political action committee (PAC) registered with the IRS as a non-profit 527 committee.

When I asked McGinnis about CCV and the ads, he claimed to have no knowledge of CCV or the ads and said he hadn’t even seen them. He repeatedly made the same claim to various media and other groups when asked about the ads. As Shakespeare would put it, “Methinks he doth protest too much.”

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The Ongoing Saga of Television Ads for Tim McGinnis – Updated

October 19, 2017 11:35 AM
The Ongoing Saga of Television Ads for Tim McGinnis – Updated

Grand Strand Daily has published two articles regarding the television ad buy for Tim McGinnis in the S.C. House District 56 Republican Primary.

The second article was reprinted by myrtlebeachsc.com with credit to Grand Strand Daily.

As a result of these articles, Jackie Miller of Miller Direct Media, the business that makes considerable ad buys for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and who made the ad buy for the McGinnis ads, sent an email to Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Billy Huggins, Station Manager at WPDE television on whose station the ads were broadcast.

According to Miller, she sent the email in response to misleading information circulating regarding the Tim McGinnis ads. The email was forwarded with an introductory comment by Brad Dean to John Bonsignor, co-host of Talking Politics. Bonsignor forwarded the email to Grand Strand Daily.

The rebuttal email with introductory comments by Bonsignor (1st para) and Dean:

“The Grand Strand Daily news article squabble relative to paid campaign ads in House Dist 56… I have received a rebuttal to Paul Gable’s article that I want to share with you… It is from Brad Dean”

“Thanks for acknowledging there are always two sides to the story.  And, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story (per an email from Jackie Miller, who placed the ad): Brad D”

From: Jackie Miller
Date: October 17, 2017 at 4:14:37 PM CDT
To: ‘Brad Dean’ , ‘William Huggins’
Cc: ‘Blaine Holland’
Subject: Response

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New Documents Tie Chamber Directly to McGinnis Ads

October 17, 2017 5:01 AM
New Documents Tie Chamber Directly to McGinnis Ads

New information uncovered since our previous article on the campaign of House District 56 candidate Tim McGinnis unquestionably demonstrates the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce was directly involved in ad buys for the McGinnis campaign from the beginning.

According to the public file of political broadcast documents associated with the McGinnis television ads, a proposal was prepared for the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce scheduling television ads for McGinnis on WPDE television. (see form attached to end of this story IMG)

The proposal was approved September 25, 2017, by Jackie Miller of Miller Direct, a media marketing firm the Myrtle Beach Chamber uses for out of area marketing ad buys normally associated with funds from tourism development fee revenue.

Those ads began running on October 9, 2017, asking voters to “Vote for Tim McGinnis on October 24th.”

The National Association of Broadcasters political broadcast form (PB 18), filed with WPDE, again has Miller, on behalf of Tim McGinnis, requesting station time and certifying McGinnis is a legally qualified candidate for the House District 56 seat as a Republican in the October 24th primary. The requested station time is exactly the same as the above proposal. (see form attached below IMG 0001)

The PB 18 includes a page on which it was represented payment for the requested ad broadcasts “has been furnished” by Citizens for Conservative Values. On September 27, 2017, Steve Chapman signed the representation as Treasurer of Citizens for Conservative Values. (see form attached below IMG 0002)

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