U.S. Senate Candidate Tim Sheehy Caught Telling a Lie

U.S. Senate Candidate Tim Sheehy Caught Telling a Lie

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tim Sheehy has a bullet in his arm. The Washington Post broke a convoluted and confusing news story about how it got there.  The story is convoluted and confusing, because Tim Sheehy has been telling a couple of different stories about how it got there.

Story number 1 according to Tim Sheehy-  In 2015 he was in the parking lot at Logan Pass in Glacier Park.  While putting things in his car, his Colt .45 pistol slipped and fell to the ground, causing it to discharge and hit him in the arm.  He was ticketed by the Park Service and paid a fine.  Now Sheehy says this story was a lie.  

Story number 2 according to Tim Sheehy-  In 2012 while serving in Afghanistan, he was hit by a bullet in the arm.  He says that he doesn’t know where it came from.  He says that he did not report the wound, as is presumably required by the military, because he did not want to  prompt an investigation which could have drug his platoon mates through the mud.  Tim Sheehy says this is the real story.

Jackie Brown over at the Western Word Blog here in Great Falls put it this way when calling on Sheehy to withdraw from the Senate Race: “As I said yesterday, Sheehy should do the honorable thing and drop out of the U.S. Senate race this week. These are not the actions one would expect from a Naval Officer and Navy SEAL. These are not the actions Montanans would expect from a U.S. Senator. To say the least, it’s dishonorable.”

We can’t say it any better than conservative lawyer and Never Trumper, George Conway,  “Let those among you who have not lied about lying about shooting yourselves in the arm in a national park in order to cover up not faking a combat wound—or something like that, I can’t quite figure it out—cast the first stone.”

 

Another Bad Day For Shady Tim Sheehy

Another Bad Day For Shady Tim Sheehy

U.S. Senate candidate, Tim Sheehy, touts his experience as an entrepreneur as one of the major things that qualifies him for a seat in the Senate.  We’ve already pointed out the irony of the fact that his business, Bridger Aerospace, makes the vast majority of its money on government firefighting contracts.  Now The Montana Free Press is reporting that Bridger Aerospace is “deeply in the red” in a thorough story using Security Exchange Commission (SEC) reports.  https://montanafreepress.org/2024/04/09/u-s-senate-hopefuls-company-reported-losses-of-more-than-77-million-in-2023/ 

Sheehy Wearing Rose-Colored  Glasses While Pulling Wool Over Investors’ Eyes

While the filings with the SEC clearly show a company in deep financial trouble, with losses of $77 million last year, Bridger Aerospace Investor Relations issued a glowing report announcing record earnings of $67 million in 2023 (while bemoaning the lack of wildfires last year).  The report went on to say it had received record contract awards in 2023, including a $60 million exclusive contract with the Department of Interior. The report also asserts that the company is poised to grow over 80% in 2024.  

However, the disclaimer in the Investor Relations Report says in pertinent part, “Certain statements included in this press release are not historical facts but are forward-looking statements, including for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.”  We’ll save you reading the whole thing because it is quite long containing lots of wiggle words.  Feel free to read it yourself at   https://ir.bridgeraerospace.com/news-events/press-releases/detail/37/bridger-aerospace-announces-record-2023-results-provides

Sheehy’s Filing With the SEC Tells a Different Story

The SEC filing begins with a note from the Bridger Aerospace’s own auditors which states, As discussed in Note 1 to the financial statements, the Company has suffered recurring losses from operations, operating cash flow deficits, debt covenant violations, and insufficient liquidity to fund its operations that raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”  

Montana Free Press quoted University of Montana  accounting professor Terri Herron who examined the financial reports as saying, “Management concluded that they may not be around in a year.”  

So Who Is On The Hook if Sheehy Goes Under?  You are! 

Well, actually people who live in Gallatin County. Of course stockholders stand to lose their investment but Sheehy is at risk of violating financial agreements resulting from a $160 million municipal bond agreement with Gallatin County which brought Bridger Aerospace’s long-term debt to $204.6 million.  The bond came with covenants that Bridger Aerospace must have the ability to cover debt with cash in the amount of at least $8 million.  If Sheehy defaults on the bond requirements, it appears Gallatin County could be on the hook.  

Bridger Aerospace said in the annual filing that it is out of compliance with the required debt service amount, and that it likely won’t be in compliance in the next 12 months. At the time of the report, the company apparently had the $8 million in cash but the report stated that it probably won’t in the future, because interest payments of $18.4 million are coming due soon. 

So, What Does It All Mean?

Of course all of this is complicated and confusing, so let us just boil it down a little for you.  Sheehy has a business in which 88% of his total income comes from the government in the form of firefighting contracts.  A big part of the way he has financed his operation comes from a Gallatin County bond offering.  We assume that means a lower interest rate, because they are government issued bonds.  Welcome to  “entrepreneurship” Tim Sheehy style. Step right up to the public trough and proclaim your commitment to private enterprise.  

Final Notes 

In the short time the public microscope has been on Tim Sheehy, he has not measured up.  In the last week he has admitted lying to law enforcement about an old bullet wound, and we have been treated to an inside glimpse of his business ethics. Unfortunately Montana voters don’t seem to care much about ethics, electing Ryan Zinke, Greg Gianforte, Matt Rosendale and Steve Daines, all coming from the cesspool the Republican Party has become. 

This post has been written largely with the information uncovered by the Montana Free Press and reporter Arren Kimbel-Sannit.  Though we did go through the SEC reports and Bridger Aerospace Investor Relations Report, the truth is we wouldn’t have understood most of it without Kimbel-Sannit’s reporting.  

Cascade County’s Loopy Libertarians

Cascade County’s Loopy Libertarians

Libertarians have been making a bit of a splash here in Cascade County. While Libertarians rarely get elected to public office, their presence in political races often detracts from serious public discourse thanks to their rather odd positions on many issues and philosophical view of extremely limited government. The

Pseudo-Intellectual, Tony Rosales

The Chair of the local Libertarian Party, Tony Rosales, is running for a “non-partisan” position on the school board.  Rosales attracted attention by accusing a school district employee of having a conflict of interest, because the person served on the board of a local non-profit.  See our post on Rosales’ spurious allegations, and his own conflict of interest as a volunteer on the school debate team.  https://wtf406.com/2024/04/school-board-candidate-attacks-gfps-employee-in-tik-tok-video/.

Rosales is running an aggressive social media campaign consisting of technical looking columns of numbers to make the case that the school board is somehow violating the public trust.  Not surprising since he shoves his PHD in chemistry in everything he possibly can.  Problem is, a PHD in chemistry doesn’t mean he knows anything about school budgeting, finance or administration.

 

The Conspiracy Theorist, Randy Pinocci

Randy Pinocci has signed on as the Libertarian candidate for Lieutenant Governor with Tanner Smith of Kalispell at the head of the ticket.  Pinocci has been active in the local Republican Party, getting elected to the state legislature and the Public Service Commission.  From those positions Pinocci has established himself as one of the most far right and intemperate people in public office.  Pinocci has a long history of attracting public attention with his conspiracy theories and promoting far-right events like the Red Pill Festival, an annual gathering of far-right activists. Most recently Pinocci was arrested for felony witness tampering related to a dispute he had with a tenant. He is currently scheduled to go to trial on those charges on April 30th here in Great Falls.  The county is bringing in Judge Jim Manley from Polson to hear the case.  As an aside, the facts of the case are well established since Pinocci threatened the witness via text message.  We can only hope the County Attorney doesn’t plead this one down because Pinocci is a local elected official.

 

All the King’s Men (And One Woman)

 

If you looked at the candidate filings with the Secretary of State’s office the morning after the filing deadline, it looked like the Cascade County Libertarians were on the move.  But on closer inspection it seems to be a lot of smoke and mirrors, all arranged by Tony Rosales.  In addition to Tony Rosales and  Randy Pinocci, four Libertarians filed for local legislative seats.  These included House Dist 21- Joshua Rosales, House District 23- Kevin Leatherbarrow, House District 24- Annie Leatherbarrow and  House District 25- Lui Salina. In addition, Tony Rosales also filed to run in House District 24, but the Commissioner’s office now  shows his legislative campaign as “closed”.

 

If you look today you will see that all but Kevin Leatherbarrow have been removed from the ballot. They were removed for failing to file the proper paperwork with the Commissioner of Political Practices  The Commissioner’s office informed WTF406 that numerous attempts are made to make sure all candidates know about the filing requirements. It may not be surprising that Libertarian candidates wouldn’t follow the rules since they don’t believe most rules should exist.

 

The campaign treasurer for all of the Cascade County Libertarian candidates is Tony Rosales. It is highly unusual for numerous candidates to have the same treasurer. Though there is nothing wrong with filing for office then withdrawing, it makes one wonder what is going on to cause such a change of heart. Combined with Tony Rosales’ aggressive, unfounded attacks on Great Falls Public Schools, we are getting a glimpse at how he would perform in public office. . . .poorly.

School Board Candidate Attacks GFPS Employee in Tik Tok Video

School Board Candidate Attacks GFPS Employee in Tik Tok Video

School Board Candidate Tony Rosales recently released a Tik Tok  video making vague allegations against a school district employee. Rosales notes that the employee is also on the board of Peace Place. He then questions if the superintendent and school district know about this educator’s affiliation with the nonprofit organization. He concludes by seemingly implying a conflict of interest as the Peace Place has “employees,” and, therefore, the school district employee has some sort of “obligation.”  While Rosales tries to frame this video as some sort of “gotcha,” his arguments don’t hold up to even the slightest scrutiny.

Firstly, volunteering is a good thing. Many educators also give their time to the community through volunteering, and serving on a board is one way to do that. Peace Place provides respite care for parents of children with disabilities and other qualifying needs. It’s a fantastic resource for caregivers, and it’s worthy of your support. Learn about their services here: https://peaceplacegf.com/

Now, on to Rosales’ concerns. The educator under fire is on a volunteer board for an organization that helps children. Supporting such organizations is highly consistent with the work educators already do. If an educator is aware of resources that could help a family, it’s appropriate to share those resources. As a volunteer, the educator isn’t receiving any personal financial benefit for connecting people with resources (if this is even occurring. Rosales offers no evidence of such, but the implication is there.) 

What’s more telling than the vague and ambiguous nature of Rosales’ accusations is Rosales’ own conduct in relation to the school and his campaign. Rosales volunteers with a GFPS Speech and Debate team. Rosales is presently running for the school board. In a display of hypocrisy, Rosales found it appropriate to use his volunteer role as an opportunity to further his political career. Rosales emailed numerous candidates and elected officials on behalf of the Speech and Debate team. In the email, he asks the invitees to participate in a “debate” event with his students. 

So let’s recap. According to Rosales, it’s inappropriate for a school employee to volunteer on a nonprofit board on his own personal time. However, it’s somehow totally appropriate for Rosales to use his volunteer role at the school to recruit politicians to speak at his event. Rosales’ behavior looks far more like a conflict of interest than the conduct of the school employee Rosales targeted. 

A final but compelling comparator is Rosales’ response to the city commission’s coming safety committee. This group is essentially a list of the current commissioner’s closest pals. The most glaring cronyism is seen with the appointment of Jeni Dodd. Dodd and Commissioner Rick Tryon are close collaborators, with both writing for the hate blog, E-City Beat. E City Beat. Dodd is equally cozy with Commissioner Joe McKenney McKinney. Now, despite a total lack of expertise and any relevant qualifications, Dodd will be giving input on of possible future levies and even budget management. Dodd’s presence on the committee is a fantastic example of an actual and alarming conflict of interest. Rosales is surely aware of this issue, as he too is slated to be on the committee. 

Rosales is clearly willing to throw an educator under the bus in the hopes of gaining popularity for his campaign. Yet, he doesn’t apply the same standard of conduct for himself, or his friends on the city commission. 

Should Rosales somehow be elected to the school board, how could he expect any GFPS employee to trust him? 

 

Petition To Repeal Election Office Change Flops

Petition To Repeal Election Office Change Flops

Cascade County’s far right was mad as hell when the County Commissioners removed election duties from Sandra Merchant’s control.  Nevermind that Marchant had fouled up virtually everything she touched since taking office in January of 2023.  

When the County Commission held a hearing on Ordinance 23-65, which removed election duties from Merchant’s Clerk and Recorder’s office to the County Commission office, the hearing lasted 7 hours.  Cascade County was treated to a cavalcade of baseless allegations, bible quotes and challenges to Commissioner’s motivation and patriotism.  It was quite a show.  But in the end, Commissioner’s Joe Briggs and Jim Larson stood for competent election administration and placed election administration under the Commission office.  Here’s a summary of that meeting: https://wtf406.com/2023/12/the-grinch-in-great-falls/

In response, these folks organized a petition drive to place the issue on the ballot and give people the opportunity to express their opinion supporting their point of view.  But, alas, they failed.  Not only did the imagined vast majority of supporters not get to vote, signature gatherers couldn’t even get the required 15% of eligible voters to sign the petition to place the measure on the ballot. 

Read our prior coverage here: https://wtf406.com/2024/01/dont-sign-the-petition/

In order to place the measure before voters the organizers had to get approximately 5,500 signatures from registered voters in Cascade County.  But after 90 days signature gatherers only managed to gather 1,242 verified signatures. Less than a quarter of the required number.  So much for a wave of public support for the Merchant/Grulkowski crowd of conspiracy theorists.

Note:  Since starting this blog we have learned that getting public information from Cascade County is incredibly difficult and frustrating.  We found the new election administrator, Terry Thompson, to be an exception.  Our request for information about the signature gathering effort was responded to in a timely manner with complete and accurate information.

Daily Montanan On the Cascade County Commission Race

Daily Montanan On the Cascade County Commission Race

The online Montana newspaper The Daily Montanan published a really good analysis of the Cascade County Republican primary race between Eric Hinebauch and Rae Grulkowski. Below are excerpts from the article.

“In an interview with the Daily Montanan, Hinebauch described himself as a fiscal conservative but shied away from the label  ‘moderate,’  and so did Great Falls legislator and Senate Majority Leader Steve Fitzpatrick in describing Hinebauch. But others who work closely with him know him as a centrist looking to get things done.” 

“Grulkowski was a leader in the anti-Big Sky National Heritage Area movement, revolving around a conspiracy the federal government was targeting private property in the county, debunked in the New York Times in 2021.”

“In this June’s Republican primary, voters in Cascade County will choose whether to go with the middle-of-the-road conservative or a far-right conspiracist.”

Read the full article here.

https://dailymontanan.com/2024/03/22/national-republican-party-dynamics-at-play-in-cascade-county-commission-primary/

Grulkowski has the advantage of far-right base support which provides her with volunteers, funding and energy.  She jumped out of the campaign gates already having signs out all over the county. So far, Hinebauch is ahead in fundraising, reporting $12,085.70 for the reporting period ending March 15. Grulkowski has raised $7,125.00. 

Hinebauch stands to benefit from centrist Republicans who are tired of the drama Grulkowski has brought to county government.  There are also potential Democratic crossover votes in this election. The race for the Eastern District Congressional seat is the only Democratic primary race. And the truth is that a Democrat is highly unlikely to carry the general election in the Eastern District, no matter who wins.  At the same time there are numerous contested Republican primaries, which are bound to attract interest across the ballot.