Where is the Sheriff Jones Press Conference: Just ask your friendly Neighborhood Lakota School Board Member

Matt Miller of Lakota schools has been very open about trying to get rid of political enemies as he did Todd Parnell over woke politics during bad conduct among the student population, then again with Darbi Boddy when she showed up unannounced to take pictures on the walls of CRT teachings reported there. In both cases the Lakota superintendent, Matt Miller took action to force resignations, which was an insult to the people who voted for those representatives. He acted in a way that showed disregard for what damage might occur to those personalities and what it might cost them professionally or personally. That might seem fair in love and war, but when he stumbles on things, he shouldn’t expect people to treat him lightly. After a messy divorce, some of the documents from that divorce have been revealed by his ex-wife, and many within the Lakota school district have now seen what those documents say. He might say she’s crazy, as a lot of men do about their ex-wives as they try to move on after a previous marriage, but from what she has said about him, it’s clear that we need as a community to check it out. At the very least, the superintendent owes the tax-paying public an explanation that explains away what she has been saying with written testimony. I’ve never been a big fan of Matt, and always thought his $200,000 salary was too much and thought a less expensive person could quickly replace him. That evidence reported by his ex-wife was turned over to the police because it went well beyond politics and community gossip but straight to matters that only law enforcement should be dealing with. There were text messages which came from his phone with entire conversations on them where really bad things were talked about. They were screenshots taken by his spouse. The Lakota school board now has possession of much of this material in addition to many more items that are now public record and are available upon request. Could they be fake, perhaps, that was for the police to correspond through an investigation, which they have been conducting? I reminded everyone involved, which was a growing list of angry people made that way by the way Matt Miller dealt with his political enemies, that everyone had the right to due process. He might be innocent, and all this evidence could be made up. But as things have matured, it looked less likely, so it was all turned over to the police and the Lakota school board, and now that school has started, people are frustrated that the investigation was taking too long. Because based on previous actions and the safety of kids considered as the priority, the lack of urgency by all involved has left many questions. Questions, after all, are perfectly logical, especially after what we learned about the Jason Gmoser child pornography case. I personally like Mike Gmoser, the Butler County prosecutor. But his relationship to that case which carried with it life imprisonment, indicates to the community that when we hear of cases that might be unbelievable otherwise, we have an obligation to investigate at a minimum.

And for good reason, after all, there is a six-count indictment against Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds over just a real estate transaction that led Sheriff Jones and the Attorney General, David Yost, to give press conferences about, and that entire case was built on hearsay, where one party said something about another party that was in the public eye. Many people think that the case against Roger Reynolds is entirely political. Still, if that is the level of criteria we are using to measure legal cases, then there is a lot more hearsay involved in the Matt Miller divorce where his ex-wife is saying in writing much, much, much worse. I again would offer that Matt might be innocent, but when there is that much smoke, there is fire to stir it up. Why wasn’t Sheriff Jones standing in front of his emblem at his office and giving a press conference announcing all he and the police were doing to protect kids from the potential danger of the superintendent at Lakota, according to a reliable witness, his ex-wife? Do we just take his word for her credibility? As a community that pays his salary and counts on him to sell Lakota to the world as a safe and reliable place to send children, are we supposed to ignore what she is struggling to say because it’s inconvenient or that we might personally like the superintendent? It would be one thing if the accusations were just spoken, but these were written in text messages, confirmed by police interviews, and court documents from the divorce corresponded with the conversations. So, there is more than enough evidence to take caution on the matter and find out what’s going on. But after several weeks, and school starting with many upset who know about the matter looking for some acknowledgment of justice, the cold reality of a perceived cover-up was beginning to take hold.

The media wasn’t camped outside his home the way they were with Darbi Boddy when Matt Miller served her with trespassing papers on a school she is supposed to be managing as a board member. Matt took it so far that her story made the national news, and it was very embarrassing for her. Wasn’t that a purposeful defamation of her character? She was only a few months on the job after being newly elected, and obviously, Matt Miller was doing to her what he had done previously to Todd Parnell. He might have thought that a good idea, but he made a lot of political enemies by doing it, and shortly after that came a barrage of whispers about his sex life. You would expect a person who makes as much money as he does to show better discretion than all this. He should have never picked fights like this unless he was squeaky clean, and I mean eat off the glass clean. He might have a good explanation for the behavior of his ex-wife, and he should explain it, instead of digging in and avoiding the problem publicly. His lack of direct response to these issues has fed the fears in the people who have seen the text messages. And for those he has made political enemies out of, they are looking for anything to hang him on. And if he gave them the rope, that’s on him.

One of those six indictments against Roger Reynolds is a statement by Jenni Logan, who surprisingly left her job as Lakota’s treasurer on August 1st of, 2022, just a few weeks ago. Given the timing of this information and how it has been brewing for much of the previous school year, we must now look at who knew what and when and how involved they were in all this, if at all. But first, we must allow due process to do its work. The evidence must be validated, and explanations are mandated. For people to regain trust in Lakota as a school system, an investigation is necessary because this erosion of trust has brought us to this place and was created by Lakota management. Trust is earned; it isn’t just given away by title and by the way Matt Miller has actively worked to get rid of political rivals, as he did with Todd Parnell, and has tried to do with great fanfare Darbi Boddy, there was going to be a cost to it. The anger created by him has caused people to talk, and evidence was bound to come forth. But this isn’t just some community gossip. It’s a family member and a network of mad moms provoked by a long history of Matt Miller’s community interaction. At the very least, he has shown really bad judgment. At the worst, that’s for the police investigation to determine. Based on how the Sheriff’s department went after Roger Reynolds over much less evidence, we should expect the police to confirm or deny the results of their investigation. Doing the right thing is sometimes very hard, but we all have an obligation to justice. Otherwise, we will just get a lot more bad behavior in the future. 

I would have preferred to just see what comes from the police investigation, but after the events that occurred on Monday the 22nd of August 2022 some understandings must be met. I watched the school board meeting to see how this issue would be addressed, knowing the contents of the email that was sent to the school board earlier that morning. The same email ended up in all of the media by the afternoon sent by the person who wrote the board her concerns. Yet the reaction by the superintendent was a threat that would open up a whole can of worms with witness testimony and submitted evidence, police interviews–and mostly silence by Lakota generally, except for massive amounts of gossip. What started as a concerned parent reporting what was told to her that was very much a police matter; the public employees don’t get to go on the attack against their boss, the voters of Lakota. Explanations are the burden of the superintendent, it’s his life, his mess, and it’s up to him to explain all this to people for continued employment. The institution of Lakota is not more important than the individual people involved. And as to the superintendent’s reputation, he has to be able to manage all these things as part of his job. He owes us, the taxpayers, a lot of answers. But he doesn’t get to boss around members of the community for things he has himself opened the door to. He is not the victim, he is the responsible party, and the burden of explanation falls on him.

Rich Hoffman

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