Sunday, October 2, 2016

Wayne's New World. Wayne Simmons goes to prison, but refuses to admit guilt.

Wayne Simmons, the Annapolis resident and occasional topic of this blog, reported to prison last month. Simmons claimed that he had spent 27 years in the CIA, but according to Federal prosecutors, this was all a lie. Simmons, they asserted, was nothing but a con man. Simmons pleaded guilty to various counts of fraud and illegal possession of a firearm.

Last July, Simmons was sentenced by a Federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, to 33 months in prison. He was given a later turn in date in September. With credit for his time spent in pre-trial detention, including house arrest, Simmons, according the Federal Bureau of Prisons, has an estimated release date of January 8, 2019. In the Federal system, there is no parole, but there is the ability to reduce your sentence by up to 15% through good behavior.

Simmons is currently serving his time at FCI Schuylkill, a Federal prison in Pennsylvania, north of Harrisburg. According to Wikipedia, one of the high profile inmates at the prison is Betim Kaziu, an Islamic terrorist who is serving a 27 year sentence for conspiracy to murder. Knowing Wayne, for everyone's benefit, I hope the prison officials keep them apart.

It is interesting to note that despite his guilty plea, Wayne is still holding onto his assertion that he really worked for the government. A retired admiral and two generals signed an op-ed to The Washington Times where they asserted that Wayne was wrongly accused. In their piece titled Wayne Simmons and a miscarriage of justice, they stated that they looked through Wayne's “Operations Files” and that they proved that he was really an undercover agent. Strangely they argued that "the judge was denied" this "relevant information", even though Wayne himself could have provided it to the court at sentencing.

I reached out to Wayne via text message before he went to prison. In his texts he stated, among other things, that, "there is so much more to these political, phony charges. Soon, all will be revealed!" 

I had read all of the documents filed with the court in his case, including a brief where he mentioned safe houses in the area that he allegedly used for missions. I had researched the previous owners of the houses, including one guy named Rudolf Troost, who owned the house when Wayne said he was using it. I texted to Wayne, "One of many things that stood out was the safe house in Silver Spring. It was owned by Rudolf Troost at the time. He was an Estonian Lutheran minister. Seems like the type of guy who could be involved with CIA." Wayne responded only by writing, "We called him Rudy!"

Wayne also asked for help getting the above linked op-ed published. I directed him to a local paper, although they decided not to publish it. When The Washington Times published the article, Wayne texted me the link. I wrote back and asked him why he didn't put his files online for people to see. He responded, "Impossible! Too sensitive! Intel committee has them!" Of course, with the US government saying he is a fraud, they surely couldn't turn around the prosecute him for disclosing classified information. They have asserted so many times that it is all fiction. And if it really was classified information, do the retired generals and admiral who looked at his file still have security clearances? Does Wayne have the security clearance to even retain his files? People have gone to prison for these types of things (unless they have the last name Clinton). And if he had this information, why not share it with the judge who could look at it? 

Of course, the Federal government has a very easy answer to those questions. Wayne, they assert, is making this all up.

Finally, my last message to Wayne wished him well and good luck. He responded with, "Sincere thanks!!" I do have to wonder if Wayne ever read my previous blog posts that were very critical of him or saw my Facebook posts where I pretended to be him. I wonder if he has a sense of humor about that or whether or not I am on his kill list after he gets released. I guess time will tell!

Side notes:

1. During the summer, I was contacted by a sitting Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge who decades ago had worked as an Assistant State's Attorney also in Anne Arundel County. He was recounting to me how he was supervising the prosecution of Wayne back in the late 80s for drunk driving. In this particular case, Wayne was found asleep at the wheel of his parked car. It was a hung jury and the case eventually settled. There was a question as to whether or not he could be convicted of DUI because he wasn't driving. This judge indicated that during breaks in the trial that he spoke to with Wayne and still remembered him. He said Wayne said nothing about being in the CIA. He did mention his previous time, albeit brief, in the NFL in the late 70s and commented on the alleged steroid use by many of the players back then. People are always reaching out to me with Wayne stories.

2. With Wayne safely in prison, I was curious about his house. According to Federal prosecutors, he stopped paying his mortgage, on his multi-million dollar home, in 2009. He was also not paying his taxes. I don't know how he pulled this off, but Wayne was able to live in his home until he went to prison. The rest of us must be idiots for paying our bills.

The property is located at 1828 Woods Road in Annapolis. This is in an exclusive private area of town.

The first thing that you see upon driving in is a sign that states, "Warning Private Drive. Area Patrolled by Rottweilers."

Other signs on the fence noted that visual surveillance was being used to protect the property. As you can see, Wayne had a pretty nice house. When he gets out, Wayne should give lectures on how to succeed without paying your bills.

Wayne Simmons Annapolis home

Wayne Simmons Annapolis home

I would guess with Wayne now out of the house, the bank will be able to take the property back and put it on the market. Maybe I should make an offer for it. I will probably be able to make the first few payments and then just live in it for free for several years.

See related:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Maryland Flag and Where to Buy the Crossland Banner

Crossland bannerIf you walk or drive around Maryland, you will see people proudly displaying the State flag on themselves, their cars, and their homes. While many State flags are boring, usually just a seal on a blue background, Maryland's flag is unique and aesthetically appealing. However, many are unaware of the history behind the flag.

The Maryland flag is the only State flag to contain English heraldic banners. The top left and bottom right of the flag are inspired by Lord Baltimore's coat of arms. George Calvert, considered the founder of Maryland which he envisioned as a home for English Catholics seeking refuge, was the first Lord Baltimore. According to Clayton Colman Hall in The Lords Baltimore and the Maryland Palatinate:

Lord Baltimore
Calvert Family Arms
George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore . . . was born at or near Kiplin in Yorkshire, England, about 1580. The exact date of his birth has not been ascertained. His father was Leonard Calvert, a country
gentleman, who lived in the valley of the Swale in Yorkshire, and whose wife, the mother of George Calvert, was Alicia Crossland, a lady of gentle birth, belonging to a family of the same neighborhood.

The origin of the Calvert family has never been successfully traced. There were Calverts in Yorkshire as early as the fourteenth century, and it has been generally assumed that the family was of Flemish origin. In the exemplification of arms issued in 1622 by Richard St. George, Norroy King of Arms, the original of which is now preserved in the collection of the Maryland Historical Society, it is stated on the authority of Verstegan, antiquary and philologist, that "Sir George is descended of a noble and ancient family of that surname in the earldom of Flanders, where they have lived long in great honor." The fact of the Flemish origin is probably true, but the date of the migration of Calvert's ancestors to England is unknown, and the means of tracing the genealogy to the Flemish family apparently did not exist; for instead of confirming to Sir George the coat of arms belonging to that family, as would probably have been the case if the identity had been satisfactorily established, the bearing of another coat, of different device, but composed of the same tinctures, was approved, with the crest pertaining to the Flemish family added.
The same author also wrote in The Great Seal of Maryland:
According to the commentators upon heraldry the six vertical pieces (or pales), into which the Calvert shield is divided would represent palings or palisades, and constitute the heraldic symbol of a stockade or fortification, which would be appropriate to one who had fortified a town or successfully stormed a hostile fort. The diagonal band, or bend, was held to represent either a sword-belt or a scaling-ladder. Taken in connection with the pales the latter meaning would more naturally be ascribed to it.
The suggestion is that at some point in history, probably in Flanders, at least someone in the Calvert family was successful in storming a hostile fort and was rewarded with this coat of arms.

The author also commented that:
It has been suggested that the pales and bend of the Calvert arms represented the warp and woof of a woven fabric, or a loom traversed by a shuttle, in allusion to the Flemish industry of weaving. But this theory appears to be as difficult of substantiation as some of the less prosaic interpretations derived from the mediaeval heralds.
buy a Crossland Banner Flag
The bottom right and top left part of the flag is referred to as the Crossland Banner. It was the coat of arms of Alicia Crossland or Crosland, the mother of George Calvert. Again the same author cited above wrote:
The Crossland arms present a cross upon a quarterly field. The relation between name and arms is sufficiently obvious. A quarterly field was said to represent a shield broken in battle, indicating that its budding cross depicted upon these arms was said to represent the budding virtues of a youthful champion. The Crossland arms are generally described as bearing a fiery cross, the ends of which are open and expanded like the upper half of a fleur-de-lis. This form differs but little in appearance from the cross bottony, and was described as representing in their full flower and development those virtues which the latter indicated as being in their bud and promise.
Cecilius Calvert, George Calvert's son and the 2nd Lord Baltimore, put these two symbols together in 1648. According to the author of Maryland, Its Resources, Industries and Agricultural Condition, 1893
The new seal bore on one side the Calvert arms, quartered with those of Crossland, Alicia Crossland having been the wife of Leonard Calvert, Cecilius' grandfather. On this seal, which is the same as the present great seal of the State, the first and fourth quarterings are: for Calvert, six pales or vertical bars, alternately gold and black, crossed by a diagonal stripe or "bend" in which the colors are reversed. The second and third quarterings are: for Crossland a quartered field of red and white, charged with a Greek (or equal-limbed) cross of the form called "botonny" or "budded;" the limbs terminating in a trefoil. This cross is " counterchanged," as it is termed, that is, it is red on the white part of the field and white on the red.
During the Civil War, Maryland was divided between those who wished to remain in the Union and those who wished to join the Confederacy. The division did not just divide friends and families, but also the State Seal itself.

Union troops decided to march under the Black and Gold of Lord Baltimore's arms. Confederate units adopted the Crossland Banner as their flag. It is not clear to my why this decision was made.

Crossland Banner
Howard County Flag
It is interesting to point out that the Crossland Banner has not attracted the negative attention that other Confederate flags have. I believe that this is because the design was created centuries before the Civil War and should not even be considered a Confederate flag, on its own. Rather it was just one symbol that Confederates in Maryland adopted. Hate groups have not used the Crossland Banner, thankfully. Flying the Crossland is not seen as controversial as it has such a rich history and has a prominent place on our State flag. Indeed, ultra-liberal Howard County, uses the Crossland Banner on their county flag.

After the war, as a sign of unity, the State seal was put back together and the State officially adopted its current flag in 1904.

Kensington Day of the Book
Used both at a book festival recently
I was curious if one could buy the Lord Baltimore's Arms and Crossland Banner separately anywhere. I went to a local flag shop that sold me both flags, but at a very high price. The Baltimore flag was in the $30s and the Crossland Banner was in the $50s, for just one flag.

I looked online and found the Lord Baltimore flag on Amazon for just over $26. But I could not find a Crossland Banner flag.

So rather than complain about it, I invested a good amount of money, had 1000 of them made, and mailed them to Amazon. If you look on the top right side of this blog, you will see a link to buy one for $14.99. Or you can just click here.

The flags were manufactured in China. My preference would have been for a local manufacturer, but I could not find one who could do the job and allow me to sell them at a reasonable price and still make a small profit. People may complain about China, but the people over there need to make a living too. Trade is generally beneficial anyway.

So please buy a few flags, for yourself, family, and friends. If they sell, I hope to expand and sell some more hard to find Maryland flags.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tobaccoland tipped off local Annapolis paper about Wayne Simmons/Ehrlich story

Last Sunday, I was reviewing online court records on for new information about the Wayne Simmons case when I found an extraordinary letter from former Maryland governor, Bob Ehrlich, that heralded the conman's alleged virtues, especially his patriotism. I wrote about this in my blog post titled "Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich helps convicted conman". I pointed out that the Federal prosecutors in the case were "baffled" by Ehrlich's letter and his "uninformed commentary."

Jeff Quinton, a fellow blogger, wrote a post on his site titled "Bob Ehrlich called out by federal prosecutors". Quinton linked back to my original article in his post.

Given the significance of the story, I emailed a local paper here in Annapolis that many often refer to as "The Crapital" given the fact that it is prone to both sensationalism and factual inaccuracies. The local paper published an article titled "Former Gov. Ehrlich vouches for Fox News guest from Annapolis who admitted to defrauding the government". The article made no mention of me or this blog. Giving credit is typically called "hat tipping". Also, the article made no mention of the fact that the federal prosecutors called out the former governor.

Jeff Quinton took issue with this and followed up with another post titled "Paper ignores DOJ criticism of Bob Ehrlich". Quinton has had issues in the past with this local paper not giving him credit for articles.

The local paper does deserve credit for interviewing Ehrlich, who essentially said that he didn't know Wayne Simmons that well. The story was picked up by The Baltimore Sun and caught the attention of the federal prosecutors who followed up with a motion the day before sentencing, that stated, in part:
The United States of America, by and through undersigned counsel, hereby responds to the defendant’s filing of letters for consideration by the Court (Dkt. Nos. 112, 115, 117, 122) to raise the concern that the letters of support for the defendant may, in some respects, be unreliable and incomplete.

For example, former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich submitted a letter stating that he has “had occasion to get to know [the defendant] on a personal and professional basis” and has found him to be “above all patriotic,” and that “one would be hard pressed to find a person more dedicated to the security of the U.S.A.” Dkt. No. 117-1. The Baltimore Sun newspaper interviewed Governor Ehrlich with respect to this letter, and in a story published earlier this week (attached hereto as Exhibit A), reported that Governor Ehrlich stated he had met the defendant through his neighbors and had only had brief interactions with him. According to the Baltimore Sun, “[w]hen asked about any specific anecdotes [the Governor] had about Simmons where he exhibited the qualities he wrote about in the letter, he said ‘I couldn't provide (any) . . . I don’t have that kind of relationship (with Simmons).”
At his sentencing on July 15, 2016, Simmons received 33 months, which was close to what the Federal government recommended. The local paper followed up with an article where the writer finally made mention of the remarks from the federal prosecutors.

I sent an email to the writer for the local paper to ask him why credit was not given to this blog. He responded, in part, "I appreciate the tip, but you must realize that we must treat blogs as we do regular tips we receive over the phone or through email. In that we must independently verify the validity of the claim and then report on it as we would any other story. We only cite sources when aggregating information from other news sites and organizations, not when acting on tips."

I took the time to follow this case and to write about interesting aspects of it. No one else reported on the Ehrlich letter before me. I spotted it and sent them a decent story. I don't know what their problem is with giving credit to blogs, others do it, including The Wall Street Journal. It's not that big of a deal to me, because this blog is an occasional hobby. But others are out there trying to make names for themselves and they want and deserve credit for finding stories first.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich helps convicted conman

As many of you know, I have been following and writing about the case of Wayne Simmons, a convicted conman and career criminal, who has been masquerading around for over a decade as a former CIA operative.

Wayne recently pleaded guilty in Federal Court to defrauding the US Government and one of his personal friends. He is currently on house arrest (in a house that is under foreclosure) pending sentencing on July 15. Many of his friends and family members have been writing letters to the judge to ask for leniency. I was shocked today to see that on last Thursday, the former governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich, wrote this letter in support of Wayne:

The Federal government in its sentencing memorandum commented on this letter by writing, "In light of the actual and potential harm the defendant’s crimes imposed on national security, the government is baffled by the uninformed commentary provided by the defendant’s prominent supporters. See, e.g., Dkt. No. 117-1 (letter of former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich describing the defendant as 'patriotic' and noting that 'one would be hard pressed to find a person more dedicated to the security of the U.S.A.')."  

This unfortunately comes on the heels of Mr. Ehrlich's endorsement of Don Quinn, in the 2014 Maryland State Senate Republican Primary. Mr. Quinn ran a bizarre campaign and was exposed as having lied about his educational background. He later switched to the Democrat Party. It is a shame that the former governor doesn't better vet those who he supports.
See related:

Frederick Douglass's Birthplace Sign

If you have ever driven from Ocean City, Maryland, you have likely seen on Route 50 a sign near Easton telling you that Frederick Douglass's birthplace is 9 miles away to your right. If you are like me, you wondered what you would see if you took that turn, but never made it. A few weeks ago, I decided to see what was down that road and nine miles later, I found this sign:

I'm guessing from the language ("Negro Patriot") that the sign was put up more than a few years ago. There is nothing else of note to see there and according to The Eastern Shore Guide website, it isn't even at the right location.

I've saved you the trouble in case the next time you are on Rt 50 and are tempted to take that detour.