(Cross-posted to http://dumpsteele.com/Blog.html)
About a year ago, The Washington Post printed a story that quoted Alan Fabian, the Treasurer of Michael Steele’s 2006 U.S. Senate campaign, as telling federal prosecutors that the campaign paid $30,000 to Steele’s sister, Dr. Monica Turner, for work that was never done. Essentially, he accused Steele of stealing over $30,000 from the campaign and giving it to his sister.
Fabian was trying to get lenient treatment for his involvement in unrelated swindle, so his words must be taken with a grain of salt, but some facts of this case seem to corroborate his story.
Dr. Monica Turner, Steele’s sister, has quite an interesting history. While she was attending Georgetown Medical School, she moved in with one of Washington’s biggest drug dealers, Eugene Byrd. He was 28 years older than her and able to shower her with expensive gifts, but in 1989 he was expecting a delivery of 5 kilos of cocaine and instead had DEA agents knock down his door. Turner gave birth to their daughter right about the time Byrd was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
Also about the same time, she attended a party hosted by Eddie Murphy, where she met boxer Mike Tyson, not long after his divorce from Robin Givens. After Tyson’s 1992 conviction for raping Desiree Washington, Tyson invited her to visit him in prison. She started visiting regularly, and when Tyson got out in 1995, they moved in together and were eventually married by Tyson’s spiritual advisor, Muhammad Siddeeq.
Tyson and Turner had two kids together and seemed to have an ideal life together — a $4.7 million dollar mansion in Maryland, a $3.75 million place in Las Vegas, another mansion in Connecticut, a 61-acre estate near Cleveland, six cars in her name including two Mercedes and a Ferrari, popularity on the D.C. social scene — until Tyson went back to jail for a year after assaulting two people after a minor traffic accident. She eventually filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery (according to Tyson [in the movie documentary by the same name], he was constantly high and with many women during their marriage).
She came out of the divorce with over $8 million in real estate and a judgment for Tyson to pay her another $9 million. According to Tyson (quoted in the documentary), she and the kids would “jet-set” around the world. She was also a pediatrician with a practice.
(At right, Tyson and Turner remained friends after the divorce. Here they are at the 2009 ESPY awards.)
All of that begs the question — how did a company she that owned end up supposedly providing $37,262 of “catering/web services” for Steele’s U.S. Senate campaign?
Here is what we know about that payment from the Steele campaign to Dr. Monica Turner:
- The payment occurred in February of 2007, months after the election was over.
- The payment was made to Brown Sugar Unlimited
- Brown Sugar Unlimited, LLC was founded by Turner as an investment company in 2003 and was documents were filed closing the company in March 2006
- Maryland law prohibits defunct companies from performing services.
- Dr. Turner did host at least one fundraiser for her brother at her home, in October 2006.
- The Steele campaign was able to produce an invoice from Turner for $15,000 for catering for two events, one of which was clearly the 10/06 fundraiser.
- According to the Post, the other event listed on the invoice was for an event in July, 2007, five months after the payment was made.
- The invoice was dated December 2006, which Steele’s campaign manager Curt Anderson claimed was a typo.
- The campaign’s explanation for the rest was that she “designed and placed web advertisements” (!) for the campaign, but they apparently never provided the Washington Post with any invoices or receipts for that.
- Curt Anderson’s first response when questioned about the payments was that Dr. Turner “did a lot of media stuff” for the campaign.
Steele defended himself on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” but his answers don’t clarify the situation. He claimed to have provided the Post with receipts, but that does not appear to have taken place for the other $22,262.
Curt Anderson’s statement on Dr. Turner is amusing:
Dr. Monica Turner is a very accomplished individual. She is a pediatrician. She hosted two fundraisers for the campaign and designed and placed web advertisements as well. Any suggestion that she was profiting from the campaign is insulting and a complete smear.
Of course. After the life that she has lived, who could possibly accuse her of being motivated by greed? And in the wake of $20,000 speaking appearances and a book tour while already collecting a large salary as RNC Chairman, who could accuse her brother of being motivated by greed? [/sarcasm]
None of this makes any sense. If her transactions with the campaign were on the up-and-up, then why wouldn’t she tell the Washington Post what they were and clear up the issue? How is a $37,262 payment made in February 2007 that is partially for a $15,000 (what a nice, round number) invoice for catering two events with one of those events supposedly taking place in July 2007, with a date on the invoice of December 2006 which is supposedly a typo?
The idea that the Steele campaign contracted with Dr. Turner to create and place $22,262 of web advertising seems incredible, especially since no evidence has ever been presented that such advertising actually took place.
The fact that her company was defunct at the time she supposedly supplied the services is a side issue — the bigger question is whether or not she actually provided them. In the end, all we are left with is the fact that Steele’s treasurer alleged she was paid for services that were never performed, and the fact that the Steele campaign and Dr. Turner never attempted to disprove that allegation.
If the Steele campaign really did contract with his sister to design and place web advertising, that would still seem to be evidence of breathtaking incompetence, as there’s no evidence that Dr. Turner has any expertise in advertising. Perhaps this kind of thing would partially explain why Steele ended up losing by 10 points, when polls right before the election showed a neck-and-neck race. One thing that I know for sure is that none of this makes him look like the right man to be RNC Chairman.