30 MAR 08: THE EX-WIVES' CLUB
"I'm amazed, I'm shocked...." That's what a Russell County Commissioner told your blog Saturday night. And imagine if we had been talking about Davidson's run in the NCAA basketball tournament....
"This is the first I'm hearing of this," Commissioner J.D. Upshaw said when we brought up some rumors people are spreading about him in Russell County. Upshaw happens to be up for re-election this year. But with a three-person Democratic primary 3 June, the mud-flinging simply can't wait until September.
J.D. Upshaw denied two different rumors we'd received by mail in recent days. He added: "If I was you, I wouldn't put those up...." That seems fair enough to us. If another candidate blurts them out in public, that may help determine where they started.
J.D. Upshaw guessed the two rumors we were given came from the wife he divorced three years ago. "I beat my wife in court," he told us by phone. Hopefully that means a legal judgment, and not the alternative explanation of that sentence....
We're not sure if J.D. Upshaw's ex-wife is behind the rumors, but the letter containing them clearly came from a familiar source: the mysterious "Russell C. Ounti." That's the Russell County man who supports Constable Robert Schweiger's actions - the same Schweiger who's challenging Upshaw for Commissioner. Mr. Ounti may be Hurtsboro's answer to James Carville.
"You need to investigate J.D. Upshaw," began the short letter Russell C. Ounti sent us. Then came the two allegations - and without giving away details, one of them was church-related. Upshaw told me he's pastored Mt. Hillard Baptist Church in Bullock County for 30 years. I don't think it's illegal for a county commissioner to cross county lines, to give a sermon.
(And before the rumors really get out of hand - no, J.D. Upshaw is not related to Jeremiah Wright in Chicago.)
We were given a separate name and two phone numbers to call, about the second allegation. As of Saturday night, that person had NOT returned our messages -- and on our second try, a woman hung up the phone when we said J.D. Upshaw's name. The Schweiger campaign must not watch TV court shows, because otherwise the star witness would be cooperating.
Russell County Commissioner J.D. Upshaw did confirm one bit of election news to us: "I plan to serve four more years, then retire." He's served District 7 for 12 years - and I think he's one of the few commissioners who hasn't been sued or hospitalized.
But the rumor mill doesn't stop running there. Even before we talked with J.D. Upshaw, a man told us he plans to file charges this week to have Robert Schweiger arrested. That certainly won't help Schweiger's chances in the primary. After all, look what it did for Don Siegelman....
Former Hurtsboro police officer Sam Smith says Robert Schweiger has sent a series of harassing faxes to his new full-time job in Montgomery. I think after a certain point, it's officially called har-ax-ment.
Sam Smith used to be Robert Schweiger's next-door neighbor, and we first were told about their clashes more than a year ago. Smith sent us an e-mail, explaining what's happened recently:
I hope you had a good Easter weekend. I just wanted to update you and let you know that R.J. Schweiger has sent and additional fax to my office after I have warned him that criminal charges would follow if he should do this. I ready your snippit about someone wanting to check divorce records [25 Mar]. Now you see how vendictive he really is. He is like a little child.....in his fax he handwrites;
Since I didn't have your mailing address-I sent a check to the court. I'm sure that Bellamy will see that you get it!!!
And....it is written on the letter that I sent him through certified mail.
The man has my mailing address because he has sent me certified letters when he was threatening to sue me. I will keep you and WRBL informed on the breaking news when I sign the warrant for harassing communications under Alabama criminal code 13A-11-8(b)(1).
Headlines: "Local Constable running for County Commissioner arrested for harassing communications"....sounds good doesn't it?
Uhhhh - no, that doesn't sound like a good headline. I'd rather read headlines about how these candidates are going to cut my taxes.
But anyway: Russell County Judge Michael Bellamy received a check from Robert Schweiger earlier this month. Remember the $250 small claims court case Sam Smith won? [21 Mar] The Constable wrote a check, all right - but for only five bucks. I hate to say it, but he's making my late Dad's occasional alimony payments to my Mom look downright generous.
Robert Schweiger apparently plans to pay his $250 small claims court bill on the installment plan - five dollars a month for 50 months. Do we really need another New York investment bank shoved toward bankruptcy?
But wait, there's more! I'm told Robert Schweiger wrote the five-dollar check to not only Sam Smith, but Ramona Schweiger - his ex-wife. She now lives in Illinois, while he comes across as ill and annoyed.
Romona Schweiger happened to be visiting Alabama in January, and agreed to be a character witness for Sam Smith in small claims court. But from what we've pieced together, Robert Schweiger apparently suspects his former wife and Smith are lovers. He might even be monitoring those "long-distance dedications" on weekend music shows.
Sam Smith calls himself a "law-abiding citizen" in a separate e-mail to us. But County Commission candidate Robert Schweiger may have his doubts. His own recent e-mail to us makes that clear....
In the good ol' days, The cavalry and sheriff's posses used indian trackers. Those chaps could follow a track that was months old. "Simple" Sammy left his tracks all over the community of "Hurt'sboro; before he ran for cover! He never broke the law - because he was the "law!"
He and "Judge" Ken White, along with "Magistrate" Raford Tapley pursued a program of injustice for several years without any resistance from the "good" folks in "Hurt'sboro. Oh, they complained - but nothing was ever done to stop it!
When this ol' Constable starting making noise - everyone cheered. Whenever I met a bump in the road - everyone disappeared! That's when things started getting rough! White didn't enjoy being played for a fool (that was relatively easy) and "Simple" Sammy wanted to be a hero. So, after several narrow escapes; they cited me for "practicing law without a license. They based this; on the fact that I had taken a sworn statement (I'm a notary Public) and that case against me was dropped - when it was headed for a jury trial! There's much more; but I wont bore you with it now!
I have documents to prove that "Simple" Sammy (full name - Samuel Leon Smith) was NOT certified, when he "played" cops and robbers in his first term of employment here in "Hurt'sboro.
You might try the divorce records - it seems that he had multiple marriages and at least five kids. It's alleged, that there is a warrant for back child support out there somewhere....
You might try the Parole & Pardons board in Phenix City he seems to have left there rather quickly!
One thing more; Sir Richard. I take a measure of affront from your suggestion I would make a good gossip columnist. As Joe Friday used to say " just the facts sir - just the facts!"
Constable R.J. Schweiger
Sam Smith explained the certification issue to us in an e-mail last year - that there was a delay in the city of Hurtsboro filing the proper paperwork. If we can ever find the Hurtsboro Mayor, we'll ask her about that.
We sent this e-mail to Sam Smith, and asked for his comment about it. He admits he is divorced, but denies he's behind with his child support payments. That puts Smith in the lead over Constable Schweiger by at least $245.
We're sad to report both Sam Smith and Robert Schweiger want us to bring Schweiger's ex-wife into this debate. But she really didn't want to be part of it, when we talked with her Friday. Yet the higher a pile of mud grows, the more likely onlookers are to slip and fall in it.
So let's sort all this out: J.D. Upshaw's ex-wife may be spreading rumors to help Robert Schweiger. Schweiger is spreading rumors about someone who isn't running for office, and that man wants Schweiger arrested for it. And through it all, we've heard nothing about Russell County Commission candidate Larry Screws - but don't worry, it's not even April yet.
We're also marveling at how far this web site has come in five years. Today is our 1,600th post to this blog, and our original aim was to offer a little Columbus humor. But now, some readers have come to think of us as the top "private eye" department this side of Atlanta television - and here today, we almost feel ready to take over the bench on Divorce Court.
E-MAIL UPDATE: Time now to move on to our next alleged scandal - this one in Columbus Little League baseball....
You wanna know about Ron Harris, here it is.
Ron Harris was arrested and charged with one count of Sexual Explotation of a Child for having sexually explicit images on his computer at his business. You see, Ron owned Cyber LANdings, the place where kids went to play video games and computers online. There were a number of computers that were in the business, and there was only ONE that he claimed was his. As a matter of fact he wouldn't let anyone use that computer. Ron would stay up late after work and download and read stories and view pictures of children in a sexual nature. The images were discovered and reported to the proper authorities. He was only charged with one count, but hopefully the DA will add more to insure that this sicko will stay behind bars. Who knows how many fantasies he had about the kids at his business while they were playing.
How sick is that? He would view images of these kids on a computer AND he was a board member of the Pioneer Litttle League. Thats scary.
We understand the Ron Harris case will go before a Muscogee County grand jury in a few weeks. The larger lesson in all this seems to be that parents should monitor what their children see online -- and monitor other parents after that.
One other e-mailer has several things to comment about:
Thank you to the fire houses over Muscogee County for offering to test blood sugar for diabetes...
What a sad day for Columbus as a result of the shootings at Doctor's Hospital. I just want to tell the people who read this blog who don't live in Columbus what a loving community we are..This is in no way a reflection of the kind hearted community I live in...
A salute to Mr Whiteside for your years of dedication and service to the school children of the MCSD..You are appreciated for doing the
right thing,which did not make you popular with some other members..
After thinking it over, I wonder if Councilor Jerry "Pops" Barnes has opened a can of worms with these diabetes screenings. Before you know it, someone will demand a check of police blood sugar levels - to see if they really hang out at doughnut shops.
The killings at Doctors Hospital are absolutely nothing to joke about. But what's this I'm hearing about a second gun incident recently, at a different Columbus medical facility? Reportedly no shots were fired and the suspect surrendered - but then the case was covered up. We may sadly be at the point where "health screenings" include metal detectors at the doors.
We'll hold some other e-mails for another day, and quickly check weekend headlines....
+ Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman was freed from prison, after a federal appeals court ruled he can post bond. If he hurries, Siegelman still might have time to run for the state Public Service Commission.
+ The Springer Opera House presented a children's play called "BFG: The Big Friendly Giant." Why the production isn't sponsored by B.F. Goodrich Tires, I have no idea....
(WLTZ showed a couple of the actors in "Big Friendly Giant" jumping around on stilts. This looked a bit dangerous - and I wondered why the Springer Opera House couldn't borrow a few Segways to use instead.)
+ The Auburn Blue team beat the White team 30-14 on football "A Day." But large sections of Jordan-Hare Stadium were empty - compared to the 92,000 in Tuscaloosa for Alabama's spring game last year. Maybe if Coach Tommy Tuberville visited Bono, instead of traveling to the Middle East....
+ Instant Message to the Sonic Drive-In on Victory Drive: That was pretty clever - playing Beyonce's hit song "Irreplaceable" as I thought about what to order for dinner. After all, the button to press for service is "to the left, to the left."
BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $3.15 a gallon at Summit, 22nd Avenue and Victory Drive.... lettuce for 79 cents a head at Piggly Wiggly.... FREE FOOD at Millie's Market on South Lumpkin Road today for "Customer Appreciation Day," so for once the beggars might eat there....
(BLOGGER'S NOTE: We'll have NO blog entry Monday, due to a busy schedule. And daily blogging may diminish over the next three weeks, due to our annual Serious Spring Cleaning.)
To offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation, advertise to our readers or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.
BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 650 (+ 17, 2.7%)
TRUDGE REPORT, DAY 28: 4.0 miles run, 1.6 miles walked. Total: 101.35 miles run, 14.3 walked
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.
© 2003-08 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.