Melody Kohout and a past smear campaign

easterwoodc, a commenter on this blog pointed to a post on KCL from 2007 that had to do with Melody Kohout, who is running for School Board.  It is a must read, as is the comments to that original post, especially Monty Snow’s which I’ve excerpted here:

Melody Kohout is Chairman of the KISD Education Foundation. I imagine Melody was considered an excellent choice, because she had been active in community organizations supporting athletics, the arts, etc.

That’s why her orchestration of the above described smear campaign against sitting trustees in order to collect votes for their opponents is so disappointing. As Chairman of the foundation, she should know that students, parents and teachers of this community look to her as a role model.

Potential donors look to the foundation as a place where they can put aside political differences and do something positive for our school children, without any strings attached.

In one shameless email message, Melody Kohout has prostituted the ideals of the foundation in exchange for ill-gotten votes. She has compromised the mission of the foundation—to raise funds that benefit our children and their teachers—by turning potential donors against each other, over something as silly as which side of a highway they live on.

And for whose political benefit has she sold out the foundation? For Kevin Stevenson, who is running against incumbent Randy Pugh the same Kevin Stevenson who has compromised his candidacy by promoting Melody’s rumor mongering in his own email. This type of shabby campaign tactic violates the Texas Code of Fair Campaign Practices, sections 1, 2, 4, and 7 in particular.

These two are insurgents in their own little political civil war, fomenting hostility between residents of Keller and Fort Worth, and calling for revenge one against the other—in retaliation for words of disrespect that were never uttered.

And what, exactly, do Melody and Kevin have against four sitting board members that would justify in their minds the corruption of both a charitable foundation and a candidacy for office?

Melody and Kevin are influenced by a familiar old camp of disgruntled malcontents who can’t get over their long past political failures. These people are still incensed that former superintendent Charles Bradberry—alleged to have subjected subordinates to sexual harassment and alleged to have withheld public records he was legally obligated to disclose—resigned under a cloud of controversy.

None of that mattered to them. That’s because their allegiance is to personalities, not to principles. Bradberry could do no wrong, because he was Bradberry—their guy. Anyone who opposed Bradberry was attacked with the same type of whispering campaign of imaginary wrongs that Melody Kohout and Kevin Stevenson are engaging in now.

The same folks who were praising Bradberry in the face of scandal have now aligned with Dr. Veitenheimer, whose tenure, unfortunately, has been marked by its own troubling events. The most troubling was the unauthorized contracting for $100,000, without the required approval of the board, without required bidding, and with a contractor who was not authorized to do business with the school district.

It got worse when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram disclosed that the transaction had been “documented” with dummy records. Finally, it was disclosed that high level officials had attempted to coerce a district employee into signing these bogus documents. Two officials admitted their complicity in this fiasco and promptly resigned.

Considering the circumstances, it still stuns me that Veitenheimer said he had nothing but praise for these two, and suggested they were leaving because they weren’t appreciated.

None of this matters to Veitenheimer’s supporters, three of whom sit on the board. When Bob Apetz, Linn Jencopale and Cindy Lotton saw that the object of their allegiance—Veitenheimer—was in danger of losing his job over his administration’s illegal acts, misrepresentations to the board, and outright withholding of information, their response was to engage in personal attacks on the four board members who were conscientious enough to uncover the facts and reveal them to the taxpayers and parents of KISD.

Everything the four majority board members alleged is documented with hard evidence in a complaint filed with the Texas Education Agency.

Apetz, Jencopale and Lotton filed their own separate complaint, not against Veitenheimer, but against their fellow board members who had uncovered the wrongdoing.

Apetz, Jencopale and Lotton “documented” their complaint with hearsay and innuendo, including an allegation against a trustee who is not even running for office. This allegation is years old and was used against him four years ago in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat him. They couldn’t come up with enough imaginary dirt on the trustees actually running for election, so they recycled this old charge in the hope that it would “rub off” on the trustees up for election this year.

The choices in this election are more clear than any in recent memory. The people of Keller ISD can vote for candidates supported by Lotton, Jencopale and Apetz—candidates who will turn a blind eye to anything the administration might do and who will surrender their oversight responsibilities to the very party they are entrusted to oversee—the superintendent.

These candidates are supported by people like Melody Kohout. At least one of her chosen candidates—Kevin Stevenson—has joined Melody in a smear campaign against their opponents.

Or, the people of KISD can vote for candidates who will not shy away from their responsibilities in the face of unwarranted, baseless personal attacks, but who instead will continue to demand honest, competent administration of our school system, delivered with integrity and transparency, regardless of the political consequences to themselves.

People like Kohout and Stevenson despise the fact that the four majority sitting trustees take their responsibilities to the taxpayers and parents of KISD seriously. There is nothing to which they will not resort in order to convince you to vote against their enemies. Their emails are documentary proof of it.


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