Posts tagged - armond budish

On May 6th, perpetuate, or end, the rigged game


It’s hard to be a more terrific fraud than Armond Budish. Fifteen years lying to seniors on television to get them to liquidate their assets so they live on public assistance (after Budish takes his cut, of course) selling them pointless and expensive cosmetic dentistry…that ought to convince anyone. But no, there’s a six figure no bid public teat off which to suckle, laundered to his wife, then lied about, to the Ohio Legislature for 9 years. Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo never learned Armond’s lesson – if you’re going to be stinkingly corrupt, you’d better buy the media too, so instead of crowing COUNTY IN CRISIS ’til they’re hoarse, they’ll quietly edit your words on demand, then endorse you, ignoring your taxpayer gravy train because you’ve spent the past 15 years lining the pockets of the NBC affiliate in town. Paging Tom Beres.

Even Ray Charles could see this fraud from a mile away, but the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, and every media glitterati in town, has spent the last year crowning Budish as if he were the second coming, lying through their teeth too, stitching up endorsements, corralling lap dog media puff pieces from the cocktail circuit of NEO’s great and good, all for a meritless, senior fleecing money laundering camp following pimp whose entire platform for county executive is a vapid recitation of platitudes so boilerplate it’s an insult to cookie cutters.


The exact same process has produced Issue 7, the sin tax renewal of Art Modell’s 19 year old chump’s deal. Armond Budish and the sin tax are the same work product, both manufactured and rolled off the same assembly line that built an empty Med Mart, is building a hotel with county money, is funneling casino tax revenue this minute to the wealthiest people in Northeast Ohio by the millions. What wrought Armond Budish and the sin tax also strip mined Slavic Village, my birthplace, putting every cent of property value on my grandmother’s street into some yacht’s gas tank floating in an oh so quaint Connecticut harbor.

When will we wake up? We cannot let money govern us like this anymore. Just look at what it’s done to our city, our county, our country. This rigged game doesn’t work. At all. It works only for the wealthiest and most powerful, a tiny minority shrinking so rapidly it’s an overstatement to call them the 1% anymore. Armond Budish, who has no reason to be elected other than money, is the Platonic Form. It’s his platform, his entire argument, it’s all his supporters claim, and he’s proud of it. Do we enjoy being played for such fools?


I made a bet entering this race, that voters have already turned this page, that they indeed see what’s right before their eyes, whether or not their public airwaves sit bought and paid for in silence, too. By not raising or spending any money on my candidacy, I hope I’ve proven there is another way – that we can govern ourselves, rather than letting money govern us. I spent a career in this rigged game, and I’ve spent another lifetime on the outside of it looking in.

Now, it reminds me of my days in the former soviet republics with eerie certainty – we aren’t on some slippery slope, we’ve careened down it straight into the cess pit below. The only difference between our rigged game and post soviet dictators is scale – Armond Budish is a small time street hooker in comparison, at least in Armenia, they know to purchase the entire TV station.

I’m ready for this challenge, and I hope I’ve convinced voters too. Lord knows I ain’t perfect – none of us are.  The choice between cursing the darkness forever, or lighting my candle, wasn’t easy. I should be the last guy standing up and asking for votes. But based on all my experience, good and bad, I have a unique capacity to see and fight injustice, and an even more unique capacity to smell a rat. And this is no time to sit on the sidelines.

I made a promise when I left Armenia in 1998 after watching a coup and two rigged presidential elections. I told my Armenian colleagues trying to keep me there that I was leaving to fight for my own democracy just as hard as they fought for their own. I had no idea how hard that fight would be.

On May 6th, Cuyahoga County can turn a page. Let’s do it.

Lighting Money on Fire, Tim Russo Announces for County Executive from the exploding russo inevitable on Vimeo.

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Armond Budish has been lying on ethics forms since 2005

Amy Budish, Armond Budish’s wife and co-author, is the “production costs,” i.e. “Elder Productions, LLC” in MetroHealth’s $200,000 no-bid county contract for advertising and appearances on WKYC’s “Golden Opportunties”.  Armond Budish has claimed to receive zero income from Elder Productions on his Ohio Ethics Disclosure forms every year since 2005.  Ohio Revised.Code 102.02(D) and 2921.13(A)(7) make it a first-degree misdemeanor to knowingly file a false disclosure statement.

MetroHealth, a division of Cuyahoga County, has paid Budish $25,000 quarterly since 2012, the most recent payment being January 13, 2013, three weeks before filing day, February 5. Budish himself has already changed his story on the matter, first saying he would address the obviously corrupt practice if elected, then saying 4 days later he would sever the relationship if elected.

Bob Reid, former Cuyahoga County Sheriff and one of the other candidates for County Executive, has told me that Budish himself has said to Reid that his wife Amy Budish is Elder Productions. No one at WKYC will confirm anything other than that Amy Budish is at the station on occasion.  One of Budish’s other advertisers told me on the phone their contact for “production” at Golden Opportunities is Budish himself.

Perhaps there is some shell game beyond this already labyrinthine maze that somehow translates into this sham being legal. If so, then the problem isn’t what’s illegal, the problem is what’s legal. I have called on County Executive Ed FitzGerald to void this contract immediately.  My last name is a punch line because of practices like this. This rigged game of sitting elected officials, media, and county taxpayer money must come to an end.

John Kasich will not let this slide in November. Democrats have a chance to reject how money governs us, and begin to govern ourselves again in Cuyahoga County on May 6. So let’s do it.

Be notorious.


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Wanna see what voters face in Armenia? April 7 5:30pm at Trinity Cathedral

observer credential, 1998 Armenian presidential election

observer credential, 1998 Armenian presidential election

“Merry-go-round” voting is one of the primary electoral fraud tactics I encountered as an election observer trainer in the former Soviet Union from 1997-99, especially in Armenia. Operational details vary, but the goal is to stuff the ballot box by having the same people go from precinct to precinct voting over and over again voting for the same candidate repeatedly. Sometimes the “carousel voters” even have stacks of ballots in their pockets which get plopped into the box. It’s nearly undetectable, unless you are paying very close attention.

I pay very close attention.

Cuyahoga County Democratic Party local clubs specialize in this tactic during primary season. The county party is particularly vulnerable now, given how emptied out most ward clubs have become. Very few actual members attend these monthly meetings. For example, the Stonewall Democratic Club meeting I attended recently had at most 10 or so actual LGBT members, while the room was filled with 20-30 candidates (none of whom were LGBT) from other parts of the county seeking the endorsement.

“Membership,” thus voting rights, in many of these clubs (including Stonewall Dems) is open to anyone who pays a membership fee. Since I’ve promised not to raise or spend any money in this primary, and because I reject this cattle call sham in order to collect money, I am not a member of the Stonewall Democrats. I’m just a member of the LGBT Democratic community who rejects money governing us.

So at Stonewall Dems last month, the vast majority of the voting “members” were not even LGBT. They were there to vote for themselves, and Armond Budish, a senior fleecing money laundering pimp who isn’t LGBT, over an LGBT candidate. I wasn’t even permitted to see the vote count, which is hilarious – even in Armenia they’ll at least show you their handiwork with pride when they’re done manufacturing it.

After this particularly egregious example of merry-go-round voting, I’ve decided it is a total waste of my time to attend any of these county Dem club stitch ups. A far better use of my time is to point out just how corrupt this process has become, to the point that a petty pittance of a couple bucks “membership fee” can turn what should be a stong voice for the LGBT community into just the latest bought and paid for whorehouse of a rigged game.

The next example, to which I was “invited” at the last minute, will be the Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus endorsement meeting, April 7, 5:30pm, at Trinity Cathedral (where, amazingly, the Stonewall Democrats stitch up also happened). Predictably, CDWC has the same membership/voting farce as Stonewall Democrats, where the attendance will be at least 3-1 candidates, mostly men, over, you know, Democratic women. Gee, I wonder who they will endorse.  I’ve told them I will not attend, for these reasons.

Money must not govern us. We must govern ourselves.

Be notorious.

Lighting Money on Fire, Tim Russo Announces for County Executive from the exploding russo inevitable on Vimeo.

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Armond Budish changes his story on MetroHealth no bid contract

At 8am this morning, I called on County Executive Ed FitzGerald to void the county’s MetroHealth no bid, no oversight, $200,000 contract with Armond Budish. Despite this dwarfing any amount for which J. Kevin Kelley, or Michael Forlani, or anyone else is sitting in federal prison this minute for similar practices, the crickets I heard from local media were deafening, including from the Plain Dealer’s Andrew J. Tobias.

Imagine my surprise then, when someone asks me just now for Tobias’s original March 7 story on this cess pit from Saturday, and notice that today, at noon, 4 hours after everyone in CLE media got my blog post, Tobias edited his 4 day old story thus.


How nice of the PD to give Armond Budish’s spokesperson an opportunity to “edit” his 4 day old words from “eh whatever, we’ll see when I’m elected, all good”, to “There should be no misunderstanding; Armond Budish will either no longer work with Elder Productions, or Elder Productions will no longer contract with MetroHealth as a sponsor,” Willard said.

There was no misunderstanding. Which is why Ed FitsGerald STILL should void this contract before another $25,000 quarterly check goes to Armond Budish from the county taxpayer in April.

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Ed FitzGerald should void MetroHealth’s no bid county contract with Armond Budish

As a good Democrat, I support Ed FitzGerald for governor of Ohio. Ed has a unique opportunity to show leadership by voiding the no-bid, no oversight, $200,000 contract which MetroHealth signed with Armond Budish in December, 2011, before the next quarterly $25,000 check from county taxpayer money arrives at Budish’s office in April.

People are in federal prison right now because of practices like this. The Cuyahoga County Democratic Party is a universally mocked shell of itself because of practices like this. My last name is a punch line on the campaign trail because I have to say I’m “not related” to every voter I meet because of practices like this.

Voters in Cuyahoga County rejected this practice in 2009, creating the new county government FitzGerald was elected to lead in 2010. One year after FitzGerald is elected, a political crony is handed $200,000 of no-bid no oversight county money on a silver platter to put himself on television. That is not the “reform” voters were looking for in 2009. That Budish claims to receive not a single penny of this money himself is icing on the cake.

Armond Budish’s no-bid, no oversight six figure handout from county taxpayers is no different than the sin tax. A tiny minority of people with access because of their riches endlessly gorge themselves on public money for only one reason…because they can. The rest of us play by a different set of rules, in a rigged game that benefits only the already wealthy and powerful. It is morally wrong, Cuyahoga County voters rejected it in 2009, and it must stop. Ed FitzGerald has an opportunity to prove he can stop it.

Money must not govern us. We must govern ourselves. That is why I’m running for county executive.

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VIDEO: Armond Budish taking pride in laundering county taxpayer money

ArmonBudishForCountyExecutive2014Last night at the Shaker Heights Democratic Club joint appearance of Ed FitzGerald and Armond Budish, I was able to ask Budish how much money MetroHealth, a unit of Cuyahoga County, pays Budish’s TV show, Golden Opportunities, his 15 year long fraudulently presented infomercial targeting senior citizens claiming to be “news,” “issues,” everything other than “paid”. Budish’s response is masterful.

First, as far as I can tell, this video is the first time Armond Budish has ever referred to MetroHealth as a sponsor of Golden Opportunities on tape. Budish has never once told his viewers that MetroHealth and the people he interviews from MetroHealth are sponsors. Like all who appear on Golden Opportunities, MetroHealth is always described by Budish to viewers as a “guest” or “expert”.  Budish refers to them on his own website as part of his “team“.

Second, Budish says MetroHealth pays him “nothing,” but pays Budish’s production company, Elder Productions LLC (registered by Budish’s law partner), “funds” he does not describe. Budish then proudly exclaims that he takes “absolutely nothing” from Elder Productions LLC.

If this isn’t money laundering of county taxpayer dollars, I don’t know what is. Budish never answers the original question – How much money does MetroHealth pay Elder Productions LLC?  Then never says where that money goes.

It just goes poof, I guess.

That a sitting elected official, running to directly oversee MetroHealth as county executive, is comfortable proudly describing how he launders taxpayer money, in public, on camera, is precisely why I’m running for county executive.

Be notorious.

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Armond Budish running very, very scared

One would think running against a guy with a sex felony conviction might not be that big of a deal. Don’t ask Armond Budish, whose dark money laundering senior fleecing pimpfest won a stitched up County Democratic Party endorsement meeting today safely kept Russo free.

Executive Director Nick Martin claims somehow I’m not a registered Democrat, so I wasn’t invited, despite 25 years in Ohio Democratic politics. I even participated in this exact same screening process in 2010 when I ran for county council in a Democratic primary. Oh, and this.


I’ve never seen a supposed “frontrunner” so terrified of an ex-offender on his ballot in my entire life. Budish is so scared, he had one of his stooges, the NAACP’s Kent Whitley, first refuse to invite me to the NAACP’s debate at Antioch Baptist Church tomorrow night, then invite me, then the next morning un-invite me, which prompted Antioch’s pastor to send an email to his congregation demanding access to all candidates. After that slapped Whitley into inviting me AGAIN, Whitley then spent all weekend figuring out someway that Armond Budish and Tim Russo never share the same stage. Which he found – Whitley cancelled tomorrow’s debate today without calling Antioch first, blaming “the weather,” after Pastor Davidson told Antioch’s congregation at this morning’s service the debate was on. I’m pretty sure dicking around one of the most historic African American congregations in Ohio won’t play too well.

No matter. Nonviolent resistance to injustice reveals truth, and truth defeats injustice. The truth revealed today is that this Cuyahoga County Democratic Party endorsement process was the most corrupt stitch up I’ve seen since working in post-soviet Armenia in 1997. Which isn’t surprising, given Budish’s black hole of dark money aimed like a fire hose down his senior fleecing mouth.

I’ll see you at the Garfield Hts. Debate on Thursday. You won’t see Budish.


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Patient reviews of pimp Armond Budish’s “guest” dentist Steven Marsh


This week I’ve filed a complaint (Ref. No. 14-C00554488) against WKYC with the Federal Communications Commission (which grants broadcast licenses to television stations), regarding Armond Budish’s fraudulent Sunday morning TV show “Golden Opportunities”. For 15 years, County Executive Candidate Armond Budish has pimped advertisers to vulnerable seniors without ever telling them his “guest experts” are in fact paying advertisers, lining his pockets by fleecing seniors. Some “Golden Opportunity”.

Moreover, WKYC’s flimsy disclaimer (click to download) which airs before and after the program identifies only Armond Budish’s front company, Elder Productions, LLC, as the sponsor. WKYC’s Terry Moir emailed me as follows.

I have attached a short video which shows you the disclaimer that runs BOTH AT THE TOP AND BOTTOM OF EACH AND EVERY Golden Opportunities show. We are in complete compliance with the FCC rules.

Armond Budish never once has identified any of his “guests” or “experts” as representing Elder Productions, but Armond Budish makes sure viewers know where to find the businesses of his “guests” and “experts” to get their “advice”. Kinda doubt hanging your hat on a front company as “complete compliance with FCC rules” will fly. Which means WKYC may have violated FCC rules hundreds, if not thousands of times over the last 15 years.


Further, WKYC has referred to Armond Budish the entire second half of 2013 as the “frontrunner” for county executive, while Armond Budish remains on WKYC air fleecing seniors, and while WKYC takes Armond Budish’s money.

One of Armond Budish’s most regular “guests” is dentist Steven Marsh, who shills unnecessary cosmetic dental work. On Dr. Marsh’s website, Dr. Marsh happily pimps Armond Budish pimping Dr. Marsh. A regular pimptastic pimpfest.

And here’s what one patient thinks of Armond Budish’s Golden Opportunity.

Although the staff is pretty nice and the procedures are painless, make sure to be sitting on something low to the ground, as when they hand you the bill at the end of your appointment, there is a good chance that you will faint! This guy is EXTREMELY expensive and it’s not the quality of his work that he charges for – since it’s NOT that great – but his very overinflated opinion of his work quality and himself, that he’s got. Just an example, cleaning + X-Rays + so called oral exam (that involves nothing more than Dr Marsh grabbing your thongue through a piece of tissue and looking into your mouth for approximately 5 seconds!) will cost you around $420 (crown is $1600)! Absurd! Dr Marsh tends to create lots of buzz around himself by emphasizing the Golden Opportunities tv show that he sometimes is a guest on, but that’s only a way to get you in the office to spend your bucks on procedures that you can have done somewhere else for a 3rd of the cost with better results. When you are not quite satisfied with the results that you got and you mention that, Dr Marsh tends to be very condescending and very reluctant to make any adjustments to his work if HE thinks it’s good enough; in this case your opinion doesn’t really count.

And another.

I completely agree with the other review of this dentist. He is extremely expensive, condescending, etc… His opinion seems like the only opinion when you challenge him. I should have known by looking at the faces of the people in his waiting room. They all look unhappy but sometimes when you have “started” work, you feel compelled to follow through on an issue as you have paid soooo much – UPFRONT. The staff is very nice, but I won’t go back because it is really the dentist who you have to like and have trust in.

Those silly customers. If only they had taken the time to –

(a) pay attention to WKYC’s disclaimer about Elder Productions LLC (it airs twice!)

(b) dig through the Ohio Secretary of State’s corporations database for Elder Productions, LLC,

(c) find that Elder Productions LLC’s agent is an attorney named Michael Solomon,

(d) Google Michael Solomon’s address,

(e) find that Michael Solomon’s address matches that of Budish & Solomon,

(f) put 2 and 2 together to see how many times Michael Solomon appears on Golden Opportunities

(g) put 2 and 2 together to see how many times Dr. Steven Marsh appears on Golden Opportunities

(h) figure out that Armond Budish is a fraudulent pimp and not a “Senior Advocate”

Good thing that disclaimer is there!  Compliance! If my mother got a bill in the mail from one of Armond Budish’s “experts”, I would toss it, dare him to sue me, and set parental controls on her TV so Armond Budish never again appears in her living room.

Enough is enough. Cuyahoga County does not need another total fraud in office whose chief skill is weaving a flimsy tissue of lies, front companies, and labyrinths of scheisters into which he feeds vulnerable seniors in order to line his own pockets with their fixed incomes. And we don’t need our media playing right along, calling their pimp Armond Budish a “frontrunner” for months while profiting off the seniors Armond Budish has fleeced for 15 years.

Be notorious.


the exploding russo inevitable 2 from the exploding russo inevitable on Vimeo.