Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I'm going to post this news release from Jack Cardetti at Missouri Dems, then I'm going to wash my hands to make sure none of the stink is clinging.
BLUNT'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPER HAS CRIMINAL CONVICTION FOR THEFT; SHE NOW IS IN CHARGE OF STATE'S TAX CREDITS AND BUSINESS INCENTIVES
Jefferson City, MO --- The person Gov. Matt Blunt put in charge of recruiting new businesses and jobs to Missouri has previously been criminally convicted of theft. As Missouri’s Director of Business Development and Trade, Randa A. Hayes oversees millions of dollars in public funds that are used as incentives for businesses to move to Missouri or to expand in the state, as well as the state’s international trade offices.
In 1997, Hayes, then going by her maiden name Randa A. Ismail, spent time in jail after being charged in Cook County, Illinois with two felony counts of theft, two felony counts of forgery, and one misdemeanor count of theft. She later reached a plea bargain and pled guilty to misdemeanor theft and paid more than $36,000 in restitution.
“Matt Blunt has made Missouri the laughing stock of the country by sending a criminal to recruit businesses to this state,” said Missouri Democratic Party spokesman Jack Cardetti. “Gov. Blunt should immediately fire Randa Hayes and disclose to the taxpayers what he knew about her background.”
In an apparent attempt to conceal this information from the public, the court file was ordered sealed on May 31 of this year. Therefore, details of Hayes’ theft and forgery are now hidden from the public.
“The public has a right to know if the Blunt administration had anything to do with covering up this embarrassing episode,” Cardetti said.
Despite Hayes’ graduation from law school, she was unable to receive her law license in Illinois or Missouri. Both states have minimal ethical standards that must be met before an applicant can be seated to take the bar exam.
Although the Missouri and Illinois Bar Associations didn’t see fit to give Hayes a law license, Gov. Matt Blunt has given Hayes plenty of responsibilities in his administration. Besides overseeing the Division of Business Development and Trade, Hayes currently manages the Hawthorn Foundation, which is a private 501 c (6) corporation, whose investors include many of Missouri's most prominent corporations and business leaders, according to the Department of Economic Development’s web site.
Hayes also staffs the state’s Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission, which Blunt appointed only after the Pentagon announced recommendations to close several Missouri military installations, potentially costing Missouri 3,700 jobs.
“Gov. Blunt needs to assure taxpayers that public funds were not misused under Randa Hayes’ watch at the Division of Business Development and Trade and the Hawthorn Foundation,” Cardetti said.
While Hayes lacks the experience of the state’s previous Director of Business Development, who was selected from a national search of economic developers, she more than makes up for it in political connections. Her husband, David Hayes, is an alderman for the city of St. Peters. Also, according to Blunt’s campaign web site (http://mattblunt.com/cgi-data/news/files/34.shtml) Hayes hosted a $50,000 fundraiser for Blunt last fall.

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