Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Luke Westerman is back in Ohio. Things are not going well for him. An update.

Luke Westerman returned to Franklin County, was booked into the Franklin County jail and has posted bond.  It is unclear if the conditions of his bond require him to stay in Ohio but he has no reason to return to Texas.  The El Paso Humane Society has terminated him.

While Westerman stated in a recent televised interview that no one had ever questioned his ethics, that does not appear to be quite correct.  The Franklin County Grand Jury indicted him on 19 counts.  Those serving on the Franklin County Grand Jury appear to question Westerman's ethics. A months-long investigation was done by KFOX14 News.  KFOX 14 makes some interesting points when they state "it is clear he is not who he appears to be."

Ohio court records show a judge ordered him to pay his former employer, Ameriprise, almost $200,000. Money he hasn't paid."

Reporters for TV News Stations seldom initiate a months-long investigation into the lives and backgrounds of city residents if there is no reason to question the ethics of that individual.

I have read the indictments, they certainly point to ethics violations. You can read them yourself.  Click on this news story. Charges are included in the text.

Three members of the Board of Directors of the El Paso Humane Society resigned due to their concerns about Westerman's background. Questioned his ethics?  Apparently so.

Greg Leach, a former Solomon Global Holdings (Westerman's company) employee in Columbus stated that those working for Solomon Global Holdings received excuses but no actual paychecks.  Mr. Leach considered this an ethical violation for sure. Leach told KFOX 28 reporters in Columbus  "Whoever he touched was affected by some sort of unethical behavior. "Everybody's out to get what's theirs. Luke did a great job of teaching me that."

Leach noted that as Solomon Global Holdings began to fizzle Westerman turned to animal activism. KFOX 28 in Columbus Ohio noted  "Westerman later resurfaced as an animal rights activist in Columbus, primarily advocating for pitbulls. He parlayed that into the Texas job."

Per KFOX14 " It also appears Westerman claimed to have run the Westerman Family Foundation, but no records exist to indicate the foundation is registered with the IRS or Ohio Secretary of State."  This appears to be an ethical problem.  There is an actual Westerman Family Foundation but it is a completely different Westerman Family.

KFOX 14 also states that Westerman is not in fact, a college graduate.  He does not have a Bachelor's Degree despite frequently claiming one.  Westerman prepared a biographical handout to be given to lawmakers when he testified.  The handout states "Mr. Westerman is a graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University where he earned a BS in Finance and Marketing." You can read it for your self.
Westerman makes the same claim here, on his 2015 website, lukewesterman.com. One does not ethically claim academic qualifications one has not earned.  If KFOX 14 has made this accusation in error this should be very easy to clear up.  Produce a diploma or even a cap-and-gown photo.  Every graduate gets a cap-and-gown photo and every parent of a college graduate frames and proudly displays their son or daughter's photo. Westerman's parents live in the Columbus area and should be able to supply the picture if Westerman has lost his.

Per KFOX 14 "A search of county records in Ohio shows numerous pending judgments against Westerman including tax liens from the state, garnishment orders and a judgment against Solomon Global Holdings, his venture capital firm, for breach of contract."  

These pending judgments point to ethical lapses.

The Ohio charges against Westerman are already impacting donations to the El Paso Humane Society.  This is sad.
Jeffery Luke Westerman
Booking photo of Luke Westerman.

Mr. Westerman made a statement on Facebook.  “To the thousands of you who have texted, called and direct messaged your words of love, support and encouragement (you know who you are), my family and I are eternally grateful for your kind heart, thoughtfulness and discernment,”  “This too shall pass and good will prevail, as it always does in the end. That fact gives me endless strength and confidence. And in the interim, I will continue to use all of my energy to make the world a better place for animals and people. God bless you, my friends."  

In his Facebook remarks, Westerman does not directly address his arrest, his firing or the 19 fraud charges he was indicted on in Ohio.

When asked for a statement by an NBC4 reporter Westerman sent the reporter, Tom Sussi a message via Facebook
 “I would never do anything unethical,” “It is completely against every single fiber of my being and everything I stand for."

Westerman pleaded not guilty to all 19 charges.  Mr. Westerman is innocent until proven guilty.  This will be an unattractive trial.

As a final thought and a final link, Please click here.  Westerman gave his thoughts on ethical living on his website lukewesterman.com, currently found only in Internet archives.  The quotes are set into tasteful colored blocks in a pleasant font. You sort of expect these quotes came from the Bible or that they were the words of Gandhi.

"The world is hectic and most people are focused on themselves.
I prefer a simpler life focused on helping others."
Luke Westerman

"Genuine concern for the welfare of others to the point
of action is the hallmark of altruism."
Luke Westerman

There is a whole lot going on here. A lot of that may be ethical violations.  It is up to the justice system in Ohio to sort this out.

Friday, January 4, 2019

An Ohio pit bull advocate indicted on 19 counts of theft and securities violations, updates included. Women attacked by pit bulls, attacks by newly adopted pit bulls, pit bulls invade a home to kill two small resident dogs, I Have a Dream learned nothing from past placement failures. .

Luke Westerman, formerly of Columbus Ohio, a relentless virtue signaling pit bull advocate now lives in El Paso Texas.  Westerman, a self-reported venture capitalist and humanitarian left Ohio about a year ago for a position as the Executive Director of the Humane Society of El Paso. How could this position possibly pay enough to maintain Westerman's lifestyle?

Westerman indicated at the time that the move was based upon a desire for service to animals.  A news report out of El Paso hints at other possible motives.  Westerman has been indicted for 19 counts of theft and securities violations by an Ohio Grand Jury.  Two of these charges have mandatory prison sentences of 3 to 11 years if he is found guilty. There are also charges that Westerman forged signatures.  An arrest warrant has been issued.  Local TV station KFOX14 Investigative Reporter Genevieve Curtis has been investigating for months.  She did an interview with Westerman in December that appeared January 3, 2018.  The interview is well worth watching.
He said he left a lucrative job working on Wall Street and heading a venture capital firm to rescue animals."

Turns out, that statement has some holes in it.  Westerman did not leave Wall Street for humanitarian opportunities, he lost his Securities License in 2010.  Westerman refused, on camera, to discuss his past. He stated that any discussion of his financial and legal problems "does not help animals."  He went on to state that "political enemies" are responsible for the current charges and these political enemies have financial interests in harming animals.  Pretty much the standard tactics of those charged with financial crimes.  Westerman claimed that members of the board of directors of the Humane Society of El Paso were aware of the charges and that they fully supported him.  Turns out that was not quite accurate either.  Three members of the board quit, refusing to serve with him.  The board has issued a statement that they will take appropriate action.

Take a few minutes to watch the interview.  Pretty interesting body language here.  Westerman leans forward while defending himself but removes his microphone while speaking and sets it on a chair.  The reporter leans back, away from Westerman during the entire discussion.  She is clearly not buying any of Westerman's excuses.  

At this point, the legal system in Ohio will take over. The charges brought are very serious ones.  It sort of looks like the move to El Paso was less about saving animals and more about fleeing Ohio in an effort to avoid prosecution.  Didn't work.       

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Westerman during the interview.  He sure looks uncomfortable.  Fashion tip, a comb-over is never a good look.   
Luke Westerman (2).jpg

Westerman in happier times.
Luke Westerman

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9/20/2018  Westerman in Ohio prior to his move to Texas. 

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Westerman and his associate Steffen Baldwin. Baldwin also left Ohio under "stressful circumstances."  Baldwin now resides in California.   The shirts are kind of ironic.  These two had lots of business failures, some individual, some together.  Baldwin's ACTOhio failed, Save Them Dog Training never lost the taint of the death of the pit bull, Remy, while in Baldwin's custody.  Baldwin and Westerman partnered on Columbus Pets Alive, that one never got off the ground.   They partnered on Ohioans Against Breed Discrimination, a pit bull PAC.  The goal of OABD was an amendment to the Ohio state constitution to prohibit BSL.  The proud announcement was made by these two that they would raise 5 million dollars to put the issue on the ballot.  Their gofundme page raised roughly $650 in six or seven months and was quietly taken down.  OABD died quietly.

Update, and this is interesting.  From KFOX 14 News.
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Update - Westerman has been charged with swindling 10 Ohio residents out of a total of $700,000 over the last 10 years.  Per KFOX 14 "On Friday, Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien explained the charges by saying between December 2010 and the present, Westerman allegedly “solicited over $700,000 from 10 Ohio citizens for investment purposes, later misrepresented the status of the purported investments in false account statements and used some funds for personal purposes rather than the expressed investment purpose. The cash withdrawals and use for personal expenses from investment funds exceeded $300,000.”
Most of Westerman's charges were for securities fraud but two charges deal with accusations that he used money from an IRA for personal use.  Per KFOX 14 "He also previously settled claims against him in which his clients accused him of forging their signatures on mutual funds.
In the December interview with KFOX14 Investigates, Westerman denied the settlement, even though it was listed in a public record."

You can't make this stuff up.

1/5/2019 Update.  It gets worse.  Per the El Paso Times, "An Ohio man said he alerted the Humane Society of El Paso to fraud allegations against the nonprofit's executive director Jeffery Luke Westerman. 
“I’m the one that blew the whistle on him in El Paso,” said Greg Leach, who worked for a company that was a subsidiary of Westerman’s company, Solomon Global Holdings in Ohio. “I notified the board of directors that they really needed to look into his background and do due diligence into his background because of the situation with him being the main man to go out and raise money for the humane society."
Leach also stated “I was working for a private investigation startup company which was one of his (Westerman) many ventures here in Columbus,” Leach said. “Red flags started to wave when employees weren’t getting paid and the way he was acting. Nobody was getting paid and the various excuses that were given (by Westerman) when it was time (for employees) to collect (their) paychecks…False promises and stories that were too good to be true.”
“After that, the Luke Westerman that wanted to save the animal world came out,” Leach said. “He was very unsuccessful in that area up here in Ohio because I was a humane executive for the Delaware County (Ohio) up here. I started working to not allow him into any of the animal societies here in Ohio, so what better thing for him to do than move to Texas.”

During Westerman's interview, he stated clearly that his integrity had never been questioned.  Looks like that is not quite true.  Mr. Leach sure did.  The Grand Jury in Columbus indicted Westerman on 19 counts.  Does that qualify as "questioning his integrety". I think it might.

You can't make this stuff up. 
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Brookpark Ohio  
Cuyahoga County
A 74-year-old woman was bitten by a loose pit bull.  Per the Brookpark Police blotter, police did not know how the pit bull escaped its yard but the owner was cited.  Here is a clue, it's a pit bull. The victim drove herself to the hospital for treatment. 

Brookpark bans pit bulls.  Laws need to be enforced. 

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Fairview Park Oio
Cuyahoga County

  Dog at large per The west Life's Western Cuyahoga Police Blotter. 
Fairview Park regulates pit bulls.

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Berea Ohio
Cuyahoga County

A newly adopted pit bull slipped his collar to attack a woman walking two leashed dogs.  Per Cleveland.com " A Fair Street woman was bitten by a pit bull at about 1 p.m. Oct. 28 while walking her two dogs on West Street.
The pit bull belonged to a North Olmsted man who was walking the dog, along with a second pit bull, past the woman and her dogs. The pit bull that attacked slipped out of its collar and darted toward the woman and her dogs.
The woman picked up her dogs to protect them. The pit bull jumped toward the dogs and bit the woman's hand. She screamed for help.
Witnesses ran toward the woman to assist her. A driver opened his car door and allowed the woman and her dogs to enter his vehicle. The driver called 911. The pit bull's owner gained control of the pit bull.
Paramedics arrived to assess the woman's injury. She refused transport to a local hospital. The dog's owner said he had just adopted the pit bull from the Cleveland Animal Protective League. He said he would return the dog to the APL because of the incident."  
 Hope the shelter will not send this particular pit bull back out into the community.  Unfortunately, shelters maintain a revolving door for pit bulls.  

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Boardman Ohio
Mahoning County

This one is from Jason Cooke's neighborhood.  A pit bull, newly adopted from the Mahoning County Shelter, attacked a child inside a home. This child is a family member of the new owner. The child was treated at Akron Children's Hospital then transferred to the main hospital.  Reportedly, the pit bull was shot by a family member but survived to be picked up by the county dog warden.  While the article does not name the breed WKBN News includes a photo of the dog at the "Yes Fest" at the local high school.  The photo shows a pit bull surrounded by students.  What could go wrong?  Exactly what did go wrong.   Click to view the photo of the dog.

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Gahanna Ohio
Franklin County

Pets are not safe from pit bull attack within the home of their owner.  Thank about that for a minute.  The pit bulls had a history of breaking down the fence and got inside the home through a rear door with a lever handle. Police and officials from the Franklin County shelter work on getting the pit bulls declared dangerous so the pit owners would be required to put a lock on the gate and post Dangerous Dogs" signs.  Apparently, these pit bulls will be allowed to remain in the neighborhood.  If that's not outrageous I don't know what is.  THAT is the best they can do?  
Here is a photo of the victims  This breaks my heart. 
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This story turned up in the comments on the Gahanna Police Facebook page..
Our beagle was viciously attacked by a pit being fostered thru the I HAVE A DREAM rescue organization. My husband was walking her in our neighborhood on a leash and was across the street from the yard of the foster. The foster was a 60+ yr old man who walks with a cane - the pit is an 80+ lb 8 year old female with an unknown history. The rescue group pulled her from Franklin cty dog shelter. She got out of the yard because the guy left his garage door open. She charged across the street and latched onto Molly's neck (our pup). It took 4 ppl to get her off. All 4 were bit by the pit. Molly sustained multiple stitches in her neck/ throat and by her female parts, multiple deep puncture wounds, both eyes were injured and her front paws/legs were very sore. She came home from the vet with 1 antibiotic and 2 pain medications. It took her about a month to heal. My husband had to go to the ER. He got stitches in his fingers, a tetanus shot, rabies shot and rabies IG as recommended by the ER dr and our vet. The rescue group and its supporters could care less that this dog attacked. They didn't pay any of our medical or vet bills. We have had to get attorneys. And the pit is back up on their website and PETFINDER.com for adoption or fostering. The petfinder ad contains NO mention of the attack and the ad on their social media downplays it and implies my husband is to blame for being bit - apparently he didn't follow some unknown protocol to get this beast off our 25lb pup. The group and its supporters have accused us of having an agenda because we have taken legal action and they have not considered ANYTHING that we
The I Have A Dream Rescue has a poor public safety record.  Here is a link to material on a 2014 attack on a foster by a pit from I have A Dream.  The thing had a history of attacking fosters but the group did not tell new fosters.  The group also had no insurance to cover the medical bills for the second attack.  Here is a link. It is the last story in the post. Some thing never change, I Have A Dream is one of them.  Ohio has laws regulating rescues, how is this one still in business?