In a terrible update to an already awful story, the DEA has arrested the owners of Phat Stuff, the popular local head shop on Main Street that was raided in May of 2014. Panos and Katie Eliopoulos were arrested (allegedly in front of their kids) in February and have been charged with one count of “Conspiracy to Offer Drug Paraphernalia for Sale” and one count of “Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering”. You can read the short, three page indictment here.
The paraphernalia sales charge carries up to three years in prison and an unspecified fine and the money laundering charge carries up to twenty years in prison, an up to $500,000 fine, and an additional fine relating to the value of the property involved.
Longtime readers of Free Keene may recall that the raid nearly destroyed their business and left them penniless as the federal gangsters cleaned out their bank account and even stole their truck. Oh, and don’t forget the DEA’s theft of an entire box-truckload of store merchandise – probably $100,000 in inventory, which they’ll likely never get back, even if they’re found not guilty. The raid was done with the assistance of Keene police, who were protecting and serving their federal masters, not the people of this community. In an ideal world, the Keene police would have arrested the DEA agents and charged them with armed robbery. You can watch the 17-minute video of the raid, cut down from over four hours of raw footage here.
Eliopoulous Family’s Life Destroyed By Insane War on Drugs
The indictment was issued on February 11th and the arrests appear to have occurred a week later on February 18th, according to the bail paperwork. Bail conditions for Panos (and presumably Katie, though I haven’t seen her bail paperwork) include him submitting to search anytime police want, submit to urine testing, and give up any weapons, among other conditions.
Trial is currently slated for two weeks in federal court in Concord beginning on April 21st, 2015 at 9:30am. The Eliopouloses are represented by attorney Charles Keefe. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.
Mention government corruption, wasteful spending, crony politics and most minds will undoubtedly go straight to the sleaze pit we know as Washington D.C. Try to convince your neighbor that that same ooze may lie closer to home at the municipal level and you’ll likely run into some opposition. After all, we’re talking about our neighbors. Our co-workers. These are local heroes who take time out of their busy lives to make ours better.
They are also human. Just as corruptible and just as likely to misuse public funds as the parasites in DC. Let me explain.
Last year the Keene School District unabashedly spent $24,000 of our money to advertise its very controversial Article 1 that dealt with the acquiring of a $13 million bond for school renovations and the subsequent closing of Jonathan Daniels Elementary. They placed pro-article 1 ads in the Sentinel, the Shopper, on WKBK radio, and blanketed the city in campaign signs. For those unaware, the act of using government property to influence the results of a vote is known as electioneering and is illegal in the state of NH (RSA 659:44-a). The school board justified this act by claiming a need to “educate” the folks on current affairs. This is nothing new, really. Governmental departments across the country are guilty of using public funds to perpetuate their own agenda. The problem is no one is calling them out on it.
When asked what he thought of this misuse of taxpayer money, KSD attorney, John Wrigley, had this to say: “I think the school board has an obligation to inform and to educate… In 30 years I’ve been doing this I’ve seen the board over-extend itself more than once. I sit there and I look at something and I say, “Whoa I hope no one asks me about that.” But those are specific details that sometimes I trip across. I think on the whole, the board does it right, it has public hearings to inform and to educate. …but, I think sometimes they over-extend themselves. But I think it’s all in good faith…we’re not talking about Richard Daley in Chicago and that sort of thing.”
So in other words, it’s ok to break the law as long as it’s for the kids and as long as it’s not Richard Daley level. Had you or I attempted this same stunt, we would be looking at fines and or imprisonment. It’s true. Badges and titles do grant special privileges to some.
Need another example of how KSD spends your money? (more…)
His character seems kind so I’d have liked to have known if guest Patrick Michelson was drinking alcohol the night of the incident where after 35 years of a violence-free relationship, he threw a laundry basket and grabbed his wife by the shoulders. For this act, he ended up pleading guilty to a felony assault charge. Interestingly, Michelson says that in hindsight he wishes he’d refused the first plea and chosen not guilty. According to his story, a roommate/tenant called police and by the time the cops arrived he and his wife were sitting down and talking. He was surprised to see them show up.
Guest Kelly Darling-Snow admits to having been both the victim and victimizer in domestic violence situations and goes on to say that she knows people whose lives have been torn apart by the system. Michelson says the state involvement in his situation was quickly “out-of-control”. His then-wife told the prosecutor she only wanted Michelson to go to therapy, not face criminal charges.
Sadly, “the state” is not compassion. It is aggressive force, and the state agents do what they want. (more…)
Recently I shared a couple of news articles describing the contentious scene at this year’s Grafton deliberative session. I had wondered what the activists would have to say about the scene there and now Bob “Weeda Claus” Constantine has weighed in:
I am one of the unfortunate people that the town of Grafton, NH sends a demand note to, often euphemistically and oxymoronically referred to as a property tax bill by government apologists. Therefore I attended the annual Town Meeting or Deliberative session on Feb. 7th 2015, in an attempt to reduce the theft and rattle my chains, well aware of my forced subservient position within the coercive government food chain. Plus I know they’ll steal my home if I don’t pay their ransom.
This year’s meeting was again run sloppily by Susan Frost, a serial bureaucrat and the same moderator who proclaimed her “fairness” in her 2014 Town meeting preamble by quoting Voltaire. You know the quote, something like I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Less than two hours later, she had Brian Fellers, a friend and a forthright long time Grafton resident, arrested for asking the deliberative body to “examine his right of free speech”, that is, if you still believe in that kind of stuff. Or “being disruptive”, if you think Voltaire quotes sound good, but weren’t meant to actually be followed. No, I’m not making that up. Brian has stated the real reason he was arrested in 2014, was that he told the Police Chief prior to his arrest that he was there to cut his budget which had bloated enormously in recent years. Brian does not mince words. The cop has a gun. Guns, sadly trump words. Apparently Voltaire is an electrical term to the double dipping salaried and hourly overtime paid Police Chief. (more…)
Democracy: Two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner!
That’s exactly what went down at last Saturday’s deliberative session, where a small group of fiscally responsible residents went head-to-head with the tax hungry education industry.
As was expected, they were completely outnumbered, ridiculed and ultimately silenced. School board member Susan Hay summed up the proceedings perfectly, “We don’t need a very small minority of people in this community — that do not in any way represent the will of the people — telling us how to do our job.”
This brings up a very important question. Who, then, represents me? If I have no voice because the powers that be disagree or outright refuse to hear me, why then should I be forced to pay into such an institution. What happened to deriving their powers from the consent of the governed? Well, I officially renounce the consent I never swore to in the first place.
The bullies over at the Keene School District along with their supporters in the community showed their true colors once again at this year’s town hall style deliberative session.
“We don’t need a very small minority of people in this community — that do not in any way represent the will of the people — telling us how to do our job.” That was School board member, Susan Hay.
It seems in her world, it’s perfectly acceptable to steal money from her neighbor to pay for her sacred cow as long as it’s the majority making the decision and as long as she’s on the winning team. I can only imagine the ruckus she would have made if we had had another 60 or so supporters in the room–one day we will.
There were 13 ballot initiatives up for discussion. Nine were created by the Board itself; aimed at raising the already bloated and unsustainable budget. That’s how they “do their job,” which Ms. Hay takes extreme pride in. Four submitted by petition were focused on reducing the budget.
The purpose of the deliberative session is to discuss, debate and clarify the articles before being placed on the upcoming ballot in March. Instead of leaving my four warrants in their original wording for the voters to decide on, former school board member and local busybody, Ted Parent, made it his goal to neutralize all four and extensively added an additional 2 hours to the already-lengthy proceedings.
After the meeting, I was approached by a good dozen participants who were all sympathetic and urged me to continue the fight, knowing that the entire proceedings had been unfairly stacked against us. I wish they had all stepped up and told the entire room instead of just me in private. This at least is encouraging. The seeds have been planted.
The most ironic part of this entire process is the anti-bullying stance these school authorities spout off on a regular basis. Don’t they realize their entire system is fundamentally built and supported by the practice of bullying others? You give us your lunch money or we’ll take your house. If you don’t like it run for office yourself ( join the ranks of bullies). Or Move to another playground (and take your chances with another gang).