The curious case of Ken Hodges, Part II: guess which candidate for Governor has been trying to find the truth, as well as who else allegedly has been involved in this matter

Yesterday we discussed the curious case of Democrat Ken Hodges, candidate for Attorney General (Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter), and the mystifying actions he allegedly took in his official capacity as the then-District Attorney of Dougherty County in a matter of whistle blowers and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany.

As the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals considers Hodges’ arguments that he is immune from liability in this matter, that he did not abuse his power by issuing subpoenas for a non existent Grand Jury and indict whistle blower Charles Rehberg for a matter where there was absolutely no evidence, and after the latter took issue with the billing practices of the employer of Hodges’ wife (Phoebe Putney), it now appears that someone else at that point was also trying to examine Rehberg and Bagnato’s underlying point concerning the billing practices of non profit hospitals in Georgia.

Republican candidate for Governor, State Rep. Austin Scott (Website | Facebook |Twitter) has been trying for years to uncover the allegedly systemic abuse of some non-profit hospitals like Phoebe Putney with regard to their charitable obligations as tax-exempt entities.

[Note: Scott is an advertiser on Peach Pundit]

Scott’s interest in Phoebe Putney’s billing practices started, coincidentally, around the same time as Rehberg and Dr. John Bagnato became interested in the same issue. At the time, Phoebe Putney was doing business with then Democrat Majority Leader in the Georgia Senate, Charles Walker, Democrat State Senator George Hooks, and former Democrat Speaker of the Georgia House and now Deputy Commissioner at the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Terry Coleman. You’ll recall that Walker, an Augusta Democrat, was indicted in 2004 on 142-counts alleging numerous fraudulent schemes and tax evasion and convicted a year later.

[Note: In no way is this post to actually suggest any malfeasance on the part of Walker, Coleman or Hooks with Phoebe Putney or any other entity.]

Regardless, by September, 2004, Phoebe Putney was worried about the whistle blower claims made by Rehberg and Bagnato. Meanwhile, Austin Scott was conducting his own similar investigation into the relationship between appropriations from the then-Democrat controlled legislature to non profit entities like Phoebe Putney. As the electoral tide in Georgia was turning for the first time since Reconstruction, serious concerns were raised about the impact of these simultaneous investigations by ordinary citizens as well as an elected official.

In a September 20, 2004 e-mail, Charlie Hayslett, the CEO of the public relations firm Hayslett Group, which represents the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, discussed the status of the story and the potential damaging impact it could have as additional information was learned about the relationship between Democrats in the General Assembly and community “non profit” hospitals in Georgia.

[DOWNLOAD E-MAIL]

In particular, Hayslett noted:

The discovery phase of the countersuit will almost certainly pull Jim Velghe and the ex-FBI agents into the spotlight, but it’s the contract story that is particularly troublesome; it holds the potential to produce shock waves that will be felt across the states. If Rep. Scott, a Republican, is smart (or getting good advise), he will announce that he is filing identical open records requests with every other community hospital in Georgia — and if he gets similar results, it will produce a statewide story with the potential to impact state legislative races in November and tip the balance of power in the House to the GOP. I don’t think this is an exaggeration. I think the steps we talked through this afternoon are appropriate, and I think it’s especially important that the PR team have an opportunity to evaluate the open records material before it goes to Scott.

Emphasis mine.

Interestingly, included in the e-mail distribution was Bob Baudino of Baudino Law Group, the very law firm which later hired…Ken Hodges! Baudino, you’ll recall, also represents Phoebe Putney, where Hodges’ wife worked.

Also of note is that C. Rick Langley was included on the e-mail distribution…the same C. Rick Langley who represented Phoebe Putney and was allegedly billed by Ken Hodges’ office for records collection related to subpoenas issued by the latter to identify the Phoebe Putney whistle blowers. Indeed, this correspondence from Hodges’ Chief Investigator to Langley forwarded “a bill from Bellsouth for phone records requested by Steve
Chenoweth.”

What is suspected, but cannot be confirmed, is that the “Steve Chenoweth” referenced on the letter from Hodges’ Chief Investigator (the one who “requested” the results of the subpoenas) is Stephen Chenoweth, Senior Vice President of Work Dynamics. What does Work Dynamics do?

Work Dynamics, Inc. is a private consulting firm that assist healthcare corporations meet current challenges and opportunities involving the human side of the organization to include: governing boards, physicians, employees and management. The firm is a unique blend of seasoned and highly experienced professionals who utilize state of the art technology and advanced diagnostic tools to formulate effective strategies and tactics designed to address issues, solve problems and achieve strategic objectives.

Remember how we discussed yesterday that Rehberg was allegedly accosted by representatives of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in his own parking lot on the evening of August 9, 2004? These individuals, allegedly retired Federal agents, supposedly demanded that Rehberg accompany them to a meeting with Phoebe Putney representatives, threatened him with criminal prosecutions, mentioned his family by name and attempted to force him to sign an “Immunity Agreement” immediately.

Well, keeping that in mind, let’s learn more about Stephen Chenoweth:

Mr. Chenoweth is Senior Vice President of Work Dynamics, Inc. He is retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While with the FBI, Mr. Chenoweth served in various leadership capacities to include Supervisor in the Phoenix Division. He is a nationally recognized and accomplished investigator featured in documentary movies involving the FBI. In the course of his FBI career, he has managed SWAT teams, hostage negotiations and conducted a variety of investigations involving bank robberies, organized crime, fugitives, and complicated white collar crimes. Mr. Chenoweth manages and consults in the following firm services: Preventive Labor Relations, Corporate Crisis Management, and Corporate Investigative Services.

Emphasis mine.

Corporate Crisis Management and Corporate Investigative Services, indeed! And, allegedly, we should add, maintaining some sort of relationship concerning the results of subpoenas with Ken Hodges’ Chief Investigator in the Office of the District Attorney of Dougherty County.

If you think this is too much of a stretch, remember the comment in Hayslett’s e-mail concerning “Jim Velghe and the ex-FBI agents?” Well, guess who is president of Work Dynamics, Inc.? James C. Velghe, Sr.

But back to the point of this…the discussion of Scott in the e-mail from Hayslett.

It is most impressive that the efforts of Rep. Scott to bring some sunshine on the billing practices of community hospitals and those hospital’s relationships with appropriators in the General Assembly caused such worry and angst in some corners. It also speaks to the kind of Governor he could be in bringing reform and conservative values to the executive branch of Georgia’s government. It also makes much more understandable why the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals allegedly heavily bankrolled the candidacy of Michael Spinks in 2004 to run against Scott.

Back in 2004, Scott’s investigation was enough to leave certain people very worried that the issue he was pursuing was big enough to sweep Democrats out of power. Now, just last year, Scott introduced HR 75 on January 16, 2009 (before the recent scandal concerning Glenn Richardson), which would allow the State Attorney General to impanel a state-wide grand jury to investigate “corruption in the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the state, any political subdivision or municipality of the state, or any authority or instrumentality of the state…”

Noting Austin Scott’s impressive impact on the matter of charitable obligations for tax-exempt hospitals, the only question is if Georgia wants someone like Ken Hodges to be at the helm of any such grand jury as the next Attorney General of Georgia.

Think we’re done yet? Check back later this week for a footnote.

55 comments

    • Doug Deal says:

      This is another example of what I mean by credibility being on the wane. Have any of you guys on the editorial board actually met “Pete”? Further, had the person who has been using it as a pseudonym been replaced by another writer or did “Pete” suddenly start writing in a completely different style and on completely different subject than normal on a whim?

  1. polisavvy says:

    Excellent! You may have helped me narrow my field of candidates down a little bit more. Thanks for that. As an aside, you probably just put the final nail in the coffin of Mr. Hodges.

  2. Glen Ross says:

    Say what you want about Austin Scott, but he’s a stand up guy. Great work on this, Pete. I don’t know that any gubernatorial candidate has made as much progress over the last several months as Rep. Scott.

    • polisavvy says:

      I totally agree with you, Glen Ross. He has seemed to make great strides and still going strong. This article by Pete has really seemed to reinforce what I was thinking about this man all along, and you summed it up perfectly as “a stand up guy.”

    • Part-Time Atlanta says:

      I’ve never heard anything bad about Scott…just that he doesn’t have a chance. Most people who are backing another candidate will usually say something like “I’m supporting X, but I really like Scott. He’s my second choice.” Who knows, John McCain was everyone’s eighth choice and he still became the nominee.

      • polisavvy says:

        It’s still so early in the race that anything can happen. The mighty can fall and the obscure can rise. Support can shift and money can start flowing into coffers of the obscure. Nothing is written in stone, yet. And you are right, I have never heard anything bad about Austin Scott, either (and don’t think we are going to). Sometimes there is just a person who can be called a good guy, and I think he’s one of them. He’s definitely on my radar of people I could get behind.

  3. inlimine says:

    Q: Has Hodges said/done anything on stating his ‘position’ on these allegations? I am in South GA and haven’t heard him refute/dispute much of it at all. Of course, scandalous political things like this seem to fill the local airwaves from WALB on a daily basis.

    (PS) I’ve noticed the Matt Sheffield ad/link is spammed or not working properly–or he doesn’t have the domain set up.

    • polisavvy says:

      His silence has been deafening. I wonder if we will hear any comments from him now that this has all come out? He should probably reconsider his run, don’t you think? I mean, this will hard, if not impossible, to explain away.

      • inlimine says:

        Where does PACGA stand on Hodges? Do they ‘endorse’ anyone or not? I’m not familiar. I presume the endorsement of Justice Sears will have an effect on some.

        • polisavvy says:

          Being the nosy person that I am, I called the PACGA and asked them point blank if they endorse any candidate running on the state level. I was told rather emphatically that they do not.

      • A Moree says:

        Either way he wins. If he is not elected (and, I hope he’s not) then he simply stays on Baudino’s payroll on Phoebe’s dime (or $9 mil as the case may be).

        • Jack Smith says:

          Has anyone asked this candidate to use some of his millions to reimburse the taxpayers for the money they are spending to defend him and his misdeeds?

      • Jack Smith says:

        Hodges will not consider his run. He will continue to believe what he’s always believed, that the voters are simply stupid slobs who owe him their votes. He stands a greater chance than you think. Please vote against him in the Democratic primary. He is simply too dangerous and corrupt to hold office.

        • Jack Smith says:

          Ooops…typo…I meant to say “Hodges will not re-consider his run.”

          I think he’s still got a better than even chance of getting the Dem. nomination.

          • Jack Smith says:

            Ken Hodges getting the Democratic nomination is too close to the office. You think you know how morally repulsive he is. I assure you that you don’t have a clue.

            Basically, if you dumped the contents of a dozen septic tanks in an empty swimming pool and rolled around in it for a couple of hours, you’d still be fifty times cleaner and more fit to sit at the AG’s desk than Ken Hodges. The man is filth and degradation personified. How he has made it this far, considering how vile he is—even taking into account inherited wealth—is amazing.

  4. A Moree says:

    Did you also notice that George Chastain, former Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs with Phoebe is also listed as an officer with Workforce Dynamics? Man, this is getting deeeeep!

  5. fishtail says:

    You guys are picking on Ken Hodges, who gave money to Saxby Chambliss and Dylan Glenn. I love it when Republicans fight Republicans.

    • anewday says:

      Ken Hodges is far from a republican. Take that from someone who is from Dougherty County and was a legal clerk at a law office during his reign of terror, ugh…I mean tenure. This man is horrible and is not even respected by other lawyers in Albany.

      • Jack Smith says:

        “You guys are picking on Ken Hodges, who gave money to Saxby Chambliss and Dylan Glenn.”

        He also supported Mark Taylor and Obama.

        You have a feeble grasp of the facts. Ken Hodges would whore himself out to Hugo Chavez if it got his picture in the paper or scored a few votes. The man isn’t truly a Republican or a Democrat. He is a dangerous whore.

    • IndyInjun says:

      No they are “republicans” fighting “republicans.”

      The likes of Chambliss are small case “republicans” – Not the real thing.

      They are in no case REPUBLICANS.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      Sorry fishtail, but he’s a Democrat and all yours. You are welcome to him, after all he’s just Roy Barnes, Jr.

  6. Over_It says:

    Something that made me shake my head & snicker:
    A friend who moved to Albany and joined Doublegate CC commented to me, “whenever I bump into Ken Hodges there, he has this look on his face like I should KNOW who he is”.

  7. ginkpd says:

    Since I’ve been in Albany, I’ve always heard of his “double life”. We decided way back that he would not get our votes, too sleezy. He should have just let his wife stay at home instead of hooking her up with PPMH. Oops….we better be careful what we post….he may be looking!

  8. Frank Lee says:

    In my opinion, immunity for prosecutors was given to them because honest DA’s sometimes went after the innocent person who would possibly sue the DA later. It was not given to them to make so they can do anything they want and get away with it. The 11th Circuit should know that. If a DA can do what ever he wants and then just take it to the Grand Jury to immunize themselves, why bother having any rules of ethics? The intent of the immunity was never to allow thugs to do whatever they want.
    There was about a year and a half after Hodges used the DA’s office to get records (to give to a friend to use in a civil case) before anything was put before a Grand Jury. It seems obvioous to me that only when Hodges realized he was in deep water a “crime” exist. It seems like he took to the Grand Jury just hoping to hide under the immunity provisions. That cannot be right.
    During that time, Dr. Hotz (the “victim” of the felony charges) called the police to report a barking dog. But, he NEVER called to report any so called assault. Hotz never said that Rehberg or Bagnato were ever at his home (they were not) . Dr Hotz is on the Phoebe Board and has very lucrative contracts with Phoebe. It is so obvious that Hodges was just trying to cover his rear end. There cannot be immunity from that, can there? Judge Sands said no immunity applied. I think he got it right.
    Even on the charges of harassing phone calls, not a single one of the “victims” listed had ever filed a complaint. One guy didn’t even own a fax machine! Seriously. Congressman Sanford Bishop was listed as a “victim” of harassing calls. Bishop said he had no problem with the faxes and they had to remove his name. I’m not sure but I think all of the other “victims” of the “harassing phone calls” were either Phoebe Board members or were doing a lot of business with them.
    The entire thing makes me sick. Thank goodness we have folks like Austin Scott and Charles Rehberg who are willing to stand up to these people despite the power and inflluence they have. I hope the 11th Circuit does the right thing. If they don’t they should be ashamed of themselves.

  9. GOPGeorgia says:

    Austin Scott’s stock has gone up with me.

    As far as Hodges goes, part of me wants him to be the Dem nominee (because he would be easy to beat with a story like this), but I think I would prefer it if he had NO shot at office. It’s that other parties primary. I won’t be voting there and I’ll let them decide.

    • polisavvy says:

      I think his stock went up with a lot of people. He did a good thing that could have cost him dearly. A real stand up guy, indeed.

    • Jack Smith says:

      “…but I think I would prefer it if he had NO shot at office”

      I agree. I’m voting in the Dem primary solely against him, even though he would be the easier candidate for the Republicans to beat–he’s just too dangerous of a person to be allowed anywhere close to such a sensitive post. Do we really want a chance at having AG Robespierre?

  10. Dave Bearse says:

    “Mr. Chenoweth manages and consults in the following firm services: Preventive Labor Relations, Corporate Crisis Management, and Corporate Investigative Services.”

    Modern day Pinkerton’s it seems.

    I currently like Scott best, but wonder why the matter of the obligations of non-profit health care organizations didn’t get more public attention when the GOP became the majority party.

  11. Frank Lee says:

    I have followed Austin Scott for years. He’s been fighting this corruption for a long time. The hosptial industry has more lobbyists than all other industries combined. That’s why you didn’t hear more about it. The other Republicans must have been too worried about re-election. Scott was trying to do what was right.
    In the debate, Austin Scott said he is the only candidate who TAKES NO LOBBYIST MONEY. He said he’s sending any contributions back. Good for him. I just hope he has enough campaign money to stay in the race.

    • My sources say Scott isn’t the most popular guy under the gold dome… small wonder…

      fighting corruption doesn’t tend to win you many friends in Georgia’s power circles.

      So, when is Austin going to start polling above 3 percent?
      His folks have to get him more exposure!

  12. IMHO says:

    We are at a point where we need to put up a candidate for governor that has no scandals, no special interest money, no hidden agenda. We will never has the mass support we need until we get that fundamental point right–we need to consistently put forth great candidates. Austin Scott seems to be the right person this time. No one thought Purdue had a chance, then he won. Who would have EVER thought Ted Kennedy would be replace by a Republican? We have had scandal in our party this past year, we have to rise above it and put the best person forward. I think Austin Scott can pull it off, and we can sleep well knowing he won’t embarrass us if we support him.

    • Republican Lady says:

      Karen won’t embarass us either. She has no scandals, no special interest money, and no hidden agenda. She is a hard worker and her record shows her ability.

      • ByteMe says:

        She’s a technocrat and the anti-abortion forces are pretty sure she’s not one of them. Of course, that makes her aces in my book, but there’s a lot of hillbillies and rednecks who won’t play along.

        • Icarus says:

          Actually, most of those “anti-abortion” forces on here are from one campaign. Karen has some very solid Social Conservative support, and most of her opponants are overlooking that.

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