UPDATE: This article is continuing to unfold LIVE so please keep checking back for the latest developments and updates. This article was originally scheduled to be published and go live on Monday September 25, 2017 -due to a possible public appearance by Mayor Dave Walters at a local NPC 10 meeting the release was delayed in hopes that Mr. Walters could clarify some of the concerns stated in this article. And Mr. Walters did not disappoint. Video obtained from NPC 10 meeting (Linked HERE) shows Mr. Walters givning his latest update which happens to be in direct conflict with what the evidnece presented in this article and also with the previous update he gave on WBCK on April 27, 2017.
Read on for yourselves as this article contains a lot of information. We have sourced and provided numerous forms of evidence that we have obtained throughout our 13 month investigation that we have provided throughout this Op/Ed article via links, documents, videos, pictures etc. So please be sure to click on the various links contained in the article for additional information and supporting evidence.
Battle Creek, Michigan. Cereal capital of the world. Home of Snap, Crackle, and Pop; Sugar Bear, Tucan Sam, Tony the Tiger, and the “ World’s Longest Breakfast Table” held annually in celebration of its cereal creators roots. That’s what Battle Creek should be known for. Not so much anymore. Instead, recently, Battle Creek made number 22 on a list of “Top 25 Worst Cities to Raise Your Children.” While debate rages on[line] about the accuracy of the numbers and stats reported, one thing is obvious: Battle Creek has some very serious issues in multiple areas regarding educational systems and supports for children that obviously need to be addressed. Below average high school graduation rate. Low preschool enrollment. Higher violent crime rate. Not to mention the huge decline in enrollment within the Battle Creek Public School District, that as a result, has seen multiple school buildings close and be put up for sale at fire sale prices. Knowing this, it’s fair to say that if Battle Creek is having issues regarding educational systems and supports for children, shouldn’t we try to improve our situation before we try to become education destination for other students from other countries? Shouldn’t the city only meddle in city government and leave the various Boards of Education to handle school district issues? Or better yet—How common or appropriate is it for a City government/city official, to co-mingle in the affairs of local school boards? Or co-mingle their duties and responsibilities as a Hilliard Lyons Financial Advisor, City Commissioner/Mayor, Korean Martial Arts student and HapKiDo Board member?
Allow me to let your Mayor, Dave Walters explain. On June 20th, 2016, Dave Walters made an appearance on WBCK’s “Richard Piet Show” to discuss his recent trip to China.
According to Walters, he says that about two years ago, local business man named Hee Kwan Lee was approached by an investor with the “UC [Education] Group” from Los Angeles. This “UC Group” allegedly has a program where they bring a delegation of South Korean college students to study international studies and English as a second language, via a Partnership between the City of Battle Creek, Western Michigan University and Kellogg Community College. Walters goes on further to state that the reason they went to China is that this guy that has this going with the South Koreans also has the same deal going on over in China. According to Walters, China then wanted to “piggy-back” the same idea with the UC Group and send a delegation of Chinese students to Battle Creek. Walters said the trip was two fold one was to visit the university that was being built there in China by the South Koreans. And second, they needed to get the Chinese governments approval. So the end result is that in about 1 year to 18 months from now (6/20/16), Battle Creek would have as many as 1000 Chinese and South Korean students living and taking classes in Battle Creek.
While this may sound like something great happening to the city of Battle Creek, allow me to pull back the curtain and show you what is really going on with all the co-mingling with the mayor, your tax dollars the mayors martial arts instructor buddy turned city contractor for the trip. The information gathered for this article has been complied over the course of 13 months via “Freedom of Information Act” requests, research, interviews, articles, news announcements/memos, and just good old fashion, sitting back and letting them talk and tell “their version of ‘alternative’ facts” and then just comparing it with things previously published, written, or said previously; only to then find out they are in direct conflict or contradiction with others things that have been said. And a very different story starts to emerge, compared to what the documents say…
With that, the documents will show you what appears to be fraud, malfeasance, misfeasance, co-mingling, lying, cover up and out right abuse going on with your taxpayer dollars by your government and city leaders.
Remember, to keep in the forefront of your mind Civics 101 from High School and what the roles and duties are of your government. There are laws, policies, boards, and a chain of command of how things happen and get done. Just because something sounds like a “great idea” or a positive boost for the city–doesn’t mean that the government can always participate, fund, support or be involved. The general fund of the city of Battle Creek is not just one giant piggy bank to spend as they please. Although we do have some bankrupt city officials who act and think otherwise, but that would be digressing. So keep in mind the legal roles and duties vs personal wants, desires and inappropriate co-mingling of various personal, private, public, political, profitable and professional connections. This story makes every attempt to break things down as much as possible and lay out the evidence via documents and other media throughout this article. It may get a bit convoluted. Just remember, if we were dealing with honest people telling the truth and acting in honest, ethical and professional ways, this article would be very straightforward, and much shorter, as the truth has no agenda and nothing to hide.
On May 9, 2016 Commissioners Mike Sherzer, Kaytee Faris, and Deb Owens met along with City Clerk Vicky Houser and Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing. The purpose was to discuss and seek approval of travel expenses in the estimated amount of $2,836.41 for Mayor Dave Walters to travel to China with ACM Ted Dearing to participate in discussions with the UC Education Group regarding student education partnerships June 5, 2016-June 9, 2016. Dearing went further to explain that both Kellogg Community College and Western Michigan University have committed to partnering with the city and this program. He stated there would be opportunities for student housing downtown and that the UC Group has been to Battle Creek and they have big development plans. Commissioner Owens inquired about the money coming from the International Relations Committee budget (IRC). Dearing told the committee that Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) recently transferred the IRC funds to the city stating they were unrestricted. Dearing also stated that this trip would NOT impact the general fund and the funds for the trip would be covered by the IRC. Dearing also noted that he and city finance director Linda Morrison already approved the expenditure from the IRC. The Travel Committee voted and approved the travel request of Mayor Walters to go to China to participate in these discussions. $2,190.41 Air Travel, $300 Visa, $196 passport, and $185.00 meals totaling $2871.41. Lodging and meals provided by China, mileage by Dearing.
“Because elected officials are regarded so highly in the Eastern world, Hee Kwan Lee wants me to go with him to South Korea to help promote Hap KiDo—but I would never pay for something like that.”
–Dave Walters, Board Member of Global HapKiDo, Student of Hee Kwan Lee as stated to Jeff Domenico at an August, 2012 Global HapKiDo event.
Looks like Dave found a way to do just that…and MORE!!!
Enter: Grand Master Hee Kwan Lee. Lee is a local business owner of Korean Martial Arts located in Springfield, Michigan. Lee resides in Emmett Township and is founder of The Global HapKidDo Association. This man’s life is HapKiDo. Anyone who lives in the area and is familiar with martial arts of any kind, has most likely heard about Master Lee, HapKido, and/or Korean Martial Arts. Lee is known for traveling the world to spread and expand HapKiDo. In a November 7, 2014 profile article on Lee in the Battle Creek Enquirer, Lee stated that he estimated that about 30 countries that have formed schools to teach HapKiDo but that its fractured union because of language barriers. HapKiDo’s terminology is in Korean. Lee speaks both Korean and English and is hoping to get other organizations speaking English so he can translate for them. In addition, the article goes on to state, “And it’s all for one reason: To promote and sell the Global Hapkido Association, which is Lee’s creation and obsession.” Needless to say, Grand Master Lee has one purpose: to globalize HapKiDo Nothing to do with assisting a city that he neither lives or works in.
Fast forward a bit. Now who was it that Dave Walters said arranged this opportunity to have Asian students come to Battle Creek? Hee Kwan Lee. How does Dave Walters know Mr. Lee, whom on WBCK he described as “a local business man who was approached by investors with UC Group in Los Angeles.” But to Dave Walters, Hee Kwan Lee is MUCH more than just “a local businessman.”
Dave Walters is good friends with Hee Kwan Lee. He is a student of Lee’s at Lee’s Korean Martial Arts. Mr. Walters has received multiple martial arts belts through Lee’s Korean martial arts business. Not only that, but Dave Walters is also a Board Member of Global HapKiDo. And he is also an INSTRUCTOR!
Oh it gets better…
The trip to China took place June 5-June 9, 2016. On May 20th, 2016 Hee Kwan Lee signed a contract and was appointed as an independent contractor” to accompany Dave and Ted to China. (Dave and Ted never went to South Korea, according to records.) According to his expense sheet that was turned into the city, Hee Kwan Lee was paid $5000 for 100 hours of “work” at $50.00/hour. Lee wasn’t even in China for a full 100 hours. So what else did we pay him for? Hee Kwan Lee spent at least one day or more in his home country and home of HapKiDo–South Korea. This means that we also paid Lee to go alone to South Korea as an independent contractor. If Hee Kwan Lee can be sent gallivanting alone across the globe on “behalf of the city” then why did we need to send Dave and Ted? Or vice versa? See the following link for an itemized list of Hee Kwan Lee’s list of expenses. LeeExpenseSheet
Let’s double-check the finances. How did Hee Kwan Lee get paid if there was only $2871.41 that had been APPROVED spending for this trip by the travel committee? How do you get $5000 from $2900? Ted Dearing assured us that this trip would not impact the general fund and that it would all be paid for by the recently acquired funds from the BCU IRC account? BCU IRA FUNDS FOIAThe BCU IRC account sent money over in two forms. The first was a bank account that had a balance of $4634.68. The other was a cd that matures on 09/01/2016 that had a balance of $30,161.51. It was decided by the IRC that they would not break the cd before its maturity date. So how did the $4634.68 cover Walters and Dearing’s expenses that far supersede the money in the bank account. Keep in mind, Mr. Dearing stated that they would not be touching any money from the general fund. So unless Mr. Dearing owned up and paid the balance out of his own pocket, how was this trip financed? So either they lied then or are lying now, but either way, no matter how you look at them, things do not seem to be adding up.
Now remember what Dave said the trip was for: one was to visit the university that was being built there in China by the South Koreans. And second, they needed to get the Chinese governments approval. That’s a bit different from what Ted Dearing told the travel committee the reason was for: to participate in discussions with the UC Education Group regarding student education partnerships between the City of Battle Creek, Western Michigan University and Kellogg Community College. No delegates from the UC Education Group, WMU or KCC attended these three individuals on this trip. So what exactly were they actually doing on the other side of the globe on our dime?
We have two totally different versions of why they are going. Both of which don’t hold water in accordance to the duties of the Mayor and Assistant City Manager. If we believe Walters story–Why would we spend thousands of dollars for Dave and Ted and Lee to travel to China to observe a university being built? Something none of them nor the city have any control or say over nor any benefit back to the city or its citizens. If its to “get the Chinese governments approval“, well that would be difficult to do since Dave isn’t allowed to sign or enter in to any agreement or contract of any sort in accordance with the city charter. If we believe what ACM Dearing says, again they would be meddling outside of their authorized jurisdiction as the city has no control or authority over WMU or KCC. Furthermore, if something like this were to happen and take place, wouldn’t the school boards of KCC and WMU be participating, attending and or funding this since they see, to be the ones that stand to gain and the main reason and purpose for the “delegation” of Chinese and South Korean students to come to Battle Creek? Yes. That would be the proper and correct way to handle this. By letting the colleges and universities handle their own business. In fact, in 2012, Eastern Michigan University was given a similar opportunity in regards to establishing a partnership with China. And just earlier this year, EMU was given nearly identical program offer to increase Chinese student enrollment and to strengthen the university’s global presence. How did EMU handle this? They sent The University’s President, James Smith along with other SCHOOL OFFICIALS to China. According to the Associated Press:
YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) April 28, 2017— Eastern Michigan University President James Smith and other school officials are in China to strengthen the university’s global presence and increase international student enrollment.
The Ypsilanti school also hopes to expand on its study abroad opportunities and enhance faculty collaboration and research with international colleagues.
The group left Sunday for China and is expected to return around May 5.
Plans included a visit to Tianjin University of Commerce and other partner schools. The group also was to speak with several university leaders in China about Eastern Michigan’s mechanical engineering program which is set to launch this fall.
Eastern Michigan’s College of Technology Dean Mohamad Qatu, Enrollment Management Vice President Kevin Kucera, International Relations Development Director Connie Ruhl-Smith, and Leadership and Counseling professor James Berry also made the trip.
WOW!! So there is a CORRECT and ethical way to do this that doesn’t involve the Mayor or his karate buddy!?! I wonder how many of those EMU staff are HapKiDo Students or brought with them their friend/or instructor of some sort?
I did however have the opportunity to reach out to WMU International Studies department and I spoke with Wolfgang Schlör When I inquired about WMUs involvement with the city of Battle Creek and the delegation of Chinese students, Mr. Schlör shared with me that he was not aware of any partnership or agreement between the schools and city. He did confirm that he was aware of an international delegation having previously made a visit to the area, but he couldn’t speak or confirm the details, certitude, and guarantees that had been spoken by Dave Walters on WBCK. I then contacted KCC to find out their level of involvement and where they are with this student education partnership. I was given the following statement by the Director of Public Information and Marketing Kellogg Community College Eric Greene in regards to my media inquiry I made back on July 27, 2017:
Thank you for your inquiry. To answer your questions broadly, KCC has not engaged in any formal or significant planning, spending or preparation for an influx of international students. KCC representatives have had several conversations with city personnel who have met with the international delegation, but the College has not entered any formal contracts or agreements. While KCC remains ready and willing to serve international students, it is my understanding that the proposal you referenced has evolved in a different direction than what was originally proposed. I believe the group representing prospective international students now intends to open and operate a private middle school and high school and is no longer pursuing specific arrangements for students’ higher education needs.
Eric J. Greene
Director, Public Information and Marketing
Kellogg Community College
269-966-4088 or ext. 2393 on campus
So, if we are still at the “discussion phase” why would we pay thousands of dollars to send people overseas to talk? Something that with today’s modern technology, these discussions could easily be had via Skype, the internet or a simple conference call with little to no cost in comparison. Also, if the “UC Group” that’s behind this is based out of Los Angeles, and they are the ones we are having discussions with, why must Dave and Ted and Lee go to China for these conversations? Why not where they are from, LA? Or better yet, Ted said that the UC Group had been to Battle Creek–why not have these “discussions” then, or invite them back again?
This is beginning to look like Dave Walters finally did find a way to go to China like Hee Kwan Lee had been wanting him to, and Dave also figured out a way to not pay for it himself either, and instead has forced his constituents and hardworking taxpayers to pay for his vacation with his karate instructor. But we are not done yet…it gets even more shady.
Battle Greek, City USA
What did we get from this trip? What was the result? What was the necessity of the trip? See below for yourself the signed document that Dave Walters (illegally and in violation of the city charter and other possible U.S.C. International Laws?) signed as Mayor:
Nothing in this document speak about the partnership between KCC and WMU or a delegation of 1000 students to come. Nothing about students living downtown, or the purchase of buildings or the building of dormitories. Nothing about observing a university being build by the South Koreans. This is just a very broad and ambiguous promissory note or contract. And the very broad and ambiguous nature of it is what make this so dangerous! Dave is going across the globe and making promises and signing agreements he is not authorized to sign! He even had the Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing there with him, why didn’t Ted sign this? Why not both? Or why didn’t City Manager Rebecca Fleury sign this? Regardless, Dave now has committed “Battle Greek” to this agreement. It doesn’t state for how long. It doesn’t state how its going to be managed, financed, funded, or continued. Looks like Dave didn’t take this very seriously–scary thing is, the Chinese Government most likely does take things serious and now we don’t know just what Dave may have gotten the city into or where this could lead if not followed or enforced. The document also mentions educational partnerships, again, something outside the jurisdiction and authority of the Mayor and/or city of Battle Creek. Why wasn’t this presented to officials at KCC or WMU? It would seem much more appropriate that they sign such a document since it obviously appears to have a focus on the educational partnerships.
However, it’s obviously too late now to go back–Moving forward, what we need to figure out and be concerned about is just exactly what laws, or policies Dave Walters may have broken. When dealing with International Treaties, only certain people are authorized to sign and enter into them and I can guarantee that Dave Walters isn’t one of them.
According to Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, includes the Treaty Clause, which empowers the president of the United States to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements, which must be confirmed by the Senate, between the United States and other countries, which become treaties between the United States and other countries after the advice and consent of a supermajority of the United States Senate. , Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution does distinguish between treaties (which states are forbidden to make) and agreements (which states may make with the consent of Congress).
We may have to let the Federal authorities sort that out.
Do you 126 Avenue C What I See?
The Board of Education voted Monday to allow Superintendent Kim Carter to negotiate the sale of Washington with developers associated with UC Education Group, an organization that is working with the city of Battle Creek to bring South Korean and Chinese students to the city to study at Western Michigan University and Kellogg Community College.
The UC Education Group wants to renovate Washington, at 450 N. Washington Ave., for teaching and classroom space and to hold support staff, according to board documents. It also wants to build dormitories for 300 students on land behind the school.
Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing said under the partnership, the hope is for the international students to participate in English as a Second Language courses and then continue their path to college degrees through KCC and WMU.
AMERICAN LEADERS EDUCATION GROUP? Who are they? Where did they come from? I thought we were dealing with “UC Group?” Who and where did this ALEG group come from? Who and where did the UC Group come from? And where did the UC Group go? What happened to them? When/How/Why did this ALEG group get involved? After a thorough google search of “UC Education Group” and “American Leaders Education Group” and at time of this publication; I could find nothing of the sort even close about a so called “UC Group” or “AMERICAN LEADERS EDUCATION GROUP” or a CEO by the name of Raymond Young; to what Dave has been talking about. No website. No contact information. No address, phone, fax, or email. Nothing.
Since there appears to be no information online about these groups and individuals in which Dave and Ted are doing business with, I decided to ask BCPS administration officials since they were the ones who had 3 elementary buildings that this ALEG group wanted to buy. After ALEG purchased Washington Elementary for $50,000, in January of 2017, ALEG submitted another Letter of Intent to Purchase, two more elementary buildings from BCPS-Fremont and Urbandale, for $50,000 each. According to the Battle Creek Enquirer
A California group in the midst of purchasing the former Washington Elementary School has added the vacant Fremont and Urbandale school buildings to its shopping list.
Representatives of American Leaders toured Fremont, 115 E. Emmett St., and Urbandale, 123 N. Bedford Road, on Jan. 27. They later proposed buying the two buildings for $50,000 apiece.
The BCPS board approved the Washington sale in November, also for $50,000.
The organization wants to renovate the three buildings for teaching and classroom space and support staff. It also wants to build dormitories for 300 students on land behind Washington, 450 N. Washington Ave. The first batch of students is expected to start the program in January 2018.
American Leaders plans to convert Fremont into a housing unit and Urbandale into a teaching facility, Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing said Thursday.Dearing said the city has been working on the development deal with the district and American Leaders for 18 months.
The plan, Dearing said, is to bring 50 to 100 students to Battle Creek in the initial phase of the project and between 500 and 800 students and possibly more over time.
“This is another step in bringing the whole project to fruition and we’re encouraged by the economic impact it could have in Battle Creek,” Dearing said. “If the entire plan comes together, there could easily be 1,000 students here.”
“A California group?” Really? That’s funny. On the document filed in September of 2016 with the State of Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, “AMERICAN LEADERS EDUCATION GROUP” has its listed address as being 126 Avenue C Springfield, Michigan. The California address listed on the form that was submitted to Michigan LARA
126 Avenue C is the address of the now former business PULVERDRYER. Why is this significant? Because the City of Battle Creek has been and currently is in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against PULVERDRYER–(CityofBattleCreekvPulverDryer) yet at the same time, the city–Dave Walters, Ted Dearing, and Rebecca Fleury, are doing business with what appears to be a possible “phantom” organization or possible “front group” that is licensed in a building that is still in the name of a business in which the City is in current civil litigation with. Also keep in mind that 126 Avenue C is in Springfield. So this company, if it ever were to come to the area, would not even reside in or benefit the city of Battle Creek!
(Follow link to read the City suit against PulverDryer>>> CityofBattleCreekvPulverDryer)
If none of this makes sense–it shouldn’t. If you are still a bit puzzled and confused you should be. Because if this were an honest, legit, straightforward operation as they are claiming it to be, you wouldn’t see the numerous contradictions and changes of story. Also, they want it to be confusing. That way they control the conversation. If this was a legit venture, they would have done this appropriately and had the college and university involved. The conflict of interest and co-mingling between Dave Walters and his HapKiDo buddy and board member/instructor would not have been allowed to stand. Certainly, we shouldn’t be engaging in business with an entity in which the city is suing. Since there has been no change of name in ownership of PULVERDRYER 126 Avenue C–then we may have; in fact entered into some sort of continuing agreement with PulverDryer while we are suing them.
According to BCPS FOIA documents, the “Business” listed as the purchaser for all 3 elementary buildings is a group called “American Leaders Education Group Inc.” A “Raymond Young” is listed as CEO but no contact info is provided. But the address listed for them is 126 Ave C Springfield Michigan, the PulverDryer location.
Upon my picking up of FOIA documents at BCPS administration building, Diane Hatley of BCPS told me that Ted Dearing and the City of Battle Creek have been orchestrating the sale of all their buildings. She admitted nobody has ever met, seen, or had any contact with the American Leaders Education Group or anyone named Raymond Young, CEO. She went on to say that Ted Dearing is handling the sale of the BCPS school buildings. I asked why is the city so involved in a private sale and why can’t BCPS handle their own liquidation of properties. She replied “because of the economic impact it’s going to bring to the city.”
NO. That’s not how real estate works. In the State of Michigan, unless you are the private owner of a property and are placing the property up for sale by owner, you have to have a licensed realtor facilitate the sale. After checking the real estate licenses via LARA, I found out that Ted Dearing doesn’t hold any of the legal licenses needed to sell third party property in the State of Michigan. The closest person to Ted that I could find that does have a Real Estate license happens to be his sister, Talia Champlin.
So sounds like the City of Battle Creek/ Ted Dearing have been [illegally?] acting as personal real estate brokers for the sale of BCPS buildings? Why would the city spearhead the selling of buildings to an entity [PulverDryer]in which they have a multi million dollar lawsuit against? Ted Dearing and Dave Walters and his karate buddy Hee Kwan Lee went to China and we footed the bill and now it’s possibly tied to PulverDryer?
Seeking answers to help clarify and sort all this out, staff inquired directly to PulverDryer to ask what was going on. All that was obtained from the people behind the counter was a bunch of vague “I don’t knows” and very suspicious, nervous glares. It seemed by the body language and answers as if they had been instructed by someone to not discuss something. Very “standoffish.” A name of the person who is in charge and whom I would need to speak with was given, (Ronen Hazarika), but no contact information as to how to get a hold of Mr. Hazarika and each further in person contact attempt came up empty-handed.
One quick google search of “Ronen Hazarika“ will show you his [former?] affiliation with PulverDryer. He holds many different patents to different types of technologies. It also appears that he has also sold patents to PulverDryer. In this 2011 article on PulverDryerUSA moves into Springfield, plans hiring, it tells of PulverDryers connections in Asian countries, including South Korea. In fact, PulverDryer owner Lee New stated in that article that they are in fact “looking to hire a project manager that speaks both Korean and English. ” Wow! What are the odds of that? A business that goes under and that the city is suing, morphs into another business that happens to be tied to a program that allegedly is meant to bring Chinese and South Korean students here to learn English as a second language? Yet, the only change at “126 Ave C ” appears to be in name only as PulverDryer still remain the owner and operator of that location.
Why then is a business guy that deals with patents and nanotechnology the go-to guy for a delegation of Chinese students? But then again why is a private martial arts business owner being allowed to spearhead this so called international education partnership with KCC, WMU and the City–especially since he doesn’t reside nor is his business within the city limits.
China, Espionage, and Missile Defense Site
Well for those of you that may have been following international news over the past 8-12 months, you may have heard about the problem that has been occurring between the US and various foreign Chinese companies and businesses who have been attempting to acquire US Patents. Like many things, there is a strict governmental regulatory process when one tries to acquire US Patents. However, what the government has been finding out is that to circumvent the SEC and regulatory agencies that oversee and authorize the purchase of patents, some Chinese companies and businesses, attempt to illegally obtain the patents by purchasing the very companies that own them, instead of buying the patents separately. Congress has deemed this a cause for concern and national security as the patent technologies they are trying to obtain are deemed State Secrets. That in turn is an obvious cause to be concerned about possible cyber-warfare and Chinese Espionage. Congress has been urged to bar acquisitions by China state firms.
Concern about these things should be taken considering the various governmental agencies that are home in Battle Creek, including the proposed Missile Defense System that could be coming to Fort Custer. 126 Avenue C is just a stones throw away from Fort Custer and W.K. Kellogg Airport. If we do not fully know what is going on at this business, and there’s even any possibility of ties to various patent technologies,or questionable possible foreign ownership/purchase of various buildings and “shady”registration documents with company name change–sounds a bit too questionable to ignore. What if there was possible espionage occurring? What if Battle Creek did win the missile defense site bid? We also are home to the Air National Guard and the Armory is also in the Fort. Not to mention all the factories and VA and Federal Center–all great possible targets for Chinese espionage.
Meanwhile, our Mayor, Assist. City Manager and the mayors karate buddy travel across the globe to visit China? Except according to Hee Kwan Lee’s own travel expense admission–Lee goes to South Korea and only spends one day in China with the Mayor and ACM. It’s questionable to say the least since Hee Kwan Lee is not a resident of the City of Battle Creek, nor is his business within the city limits. What we do know is that Lee makes a living traveling the globe to spread his martial arts of “Global HapKiDo” which also happens to be based in South Korea, where Lee is from and where we the taxpayers forked over at least $5000 for him to go visit. How many other small personal taxpaying business owners get this kind of treatment and money directed towards them and their business?Do we fully know the true purpose of whats really going on with 126 Ave C and this alleged delegation of Chinese and South Korean students? The Enquirer has reported previously that the delegation has made multiple visits to Battle Creek–yet nobody ever seems to see them, and we only hear about their visits, second or third hand from city officials, after the fact?
According to the certitude in which Dave Walters spoke on WBCK, by now, we should have already had the arrival of some of the students, yet not one student has come, nor one building or blade of grass has been sold to support this. WAIT–I stand corrected. Below is the purchasing agreement in which ALEG purchased Washington Elementary as of December 2016. Yet in a recent article in the Enquirer, BCPS is looking to sell Washington for a second time.
The Battle Creek Public Schools Board of Education agreed Monday to sell the former Washington Elementary School for the second time in less than a year, this time to a church group.
Board members tried selling the vacant building in November to UC Education Group, an organization that plans to bring South Korean and Chinese students to the city to study at local institutions.
Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing on Tuesday said UC Education group members determined that Washington was not the right fit for them, but did agree to purchase the former Fremont and Urbandale school buildings. Those sales are still pending, Dearing said.
How do you sell something you don’t own, TWICE? And there Ted goes again, back and forth can’t keep his story straight of what organization bought the building. In the BCE article he states it’s the UC Group, previous articles and documents state it was ALEG that bought it-either way–how can BCPS resell a building that they already sold? Curious also as to what happened with the purchase of Washington Elementary by ALEG? Why did it not go thru and what assurances do we have that the purchasing of the other two bulidings wont also fall thru? Or is this the back up escape plan for when things do eventually fall through they can just fall back on the “Golly gee, gosh darn, sometimes things just dont work out the way we hoped” argument, in hopes that that will excuse way the frivioulous spending of public money and resources.
“IN HAPKIDO…DAVE TRUSTS”
So where are we at now? According to Dave Walters, in a April 2017 appearance on WBCK’s “Richard Peit Show” seen HERE, at about the 8 minute mark Dave states that the Chinese delegation had visited a couple weeks or months ago (again hearing only from Dave, after the fact), he confirmed the sale of Washington Elementary and announced that this same group that purchased Washington Elementary, were interested in purchasing two more former elementary buildings from BCPS, Fremont and Urbandale. Dave also admits to have been working with BCPS and does state that they “phenomenal to work with” (another example of Dave going rouge and acting outside his authority and jurisdiction) He stated they toured both buildings with them (Who? When? Why no pictures or reports when these visits and tours by this delegation happens?). Dave states the group is looking at Fremont school to be used more for lodging of the students, whereas Urbandale would be used more for classrooms and education. Dave states the following:
“It is moving forward. We can tell you that the South Korean contingint which is part of this overall collabortive process, has indeed sent money this way. So things are happening!” Dave Walters | April 27, 2017 |WBCK Richard Peit Show |
Dave continues to explain how they purchased Washington Elementary and how that came with 10 acres and how they like the buildings as is, but they do plan to renovate them for their needs and also build dormatories on the property included. He also annouced that they are looking at office space downtown and also a business out a Fort Custer. Dave admits that this is “branching out to more than they anticpated.” Dave was then asked how this opportunity of these Asian studnets coming to Battle Creek came about:
“Initally it was a contact through Grand Master Hee Kwan Lee here in Battle Creek who is from Korea. And he/Hee had the idea and had the connections there.”
“And for whatever reason they had been looking at Marion Indiana in the midwest, as well as Battle Creek and at this point for whatever reasons…Battle Creek…and uh..at this point for whatever reason, and rightfully so, I am proud of Battle Creek, and I am glad they chose Battle Creek to land and develop.”
Now remember, in a previous appearance on WBCK in June 2016 following his return from the China trip, Dave stated this as the back story for how Battle Creek got this opportunity:
“It started about two years ago with a gentleman named Hee Kwan Lee who owns a martial arts business and who has connections to South Korea and such, and so he was approached by an investor and such from Los Angeles and a company called the UC Group, about brining South Korean students to the city of Battle Creek as many as 500 at a time, to study international studies in a partnership with Western Michigan University and Kellogg Community College.”
“Marion, Indiana was was actually looked at as a location as well, but they were taken out of the running and we [City of Battle Creek], bacame one of the focused areas at that point.”
If you notice, in both interviews, Dave mentions Marion, Indiana having been the original place where this Asian delegation of students really wanted to set up, yet for “whatever reasons” according to Dave Walters, they chose Battle Creek. What made Marion, Indiana a first choice option for this? Doing some brief research showed that there happens to be a strong martial arts and HapKiDo presence in and around the Marion, Indiana area. There are 58 martial arts “dojo’s” listed in Marion County Indiana.
Based on the preponderance of evidence this is what appears to be happening. Hee Kwan Lee may have attempted some sort of failed business venture in Marion, Indiana. Then his friend/martial arts student/ fellow HapKiDo board member Dave Walters becomes Mayor. So now they reattempt to start this failed business venture in Battle Creek in hopes using [abusing?] Dave’s role and connections as Mayor to help out a friend and buddy in need. Dave admitted it himself in the WBCK interviews. This was a personal business investment opportunity which was presented to a private business owner, Hee Kwan Lee. Dave admitted that Hee Kwan Lee had an “idea” and “connections.” Yet the only people putting up money for this is the City of Battle Creek. Again I ask, where is KCC and WMU and ALEG and the UC Group at in all this? The only voice we are hearing is coming from Dave and Ted. Does one of those “whatever reasons” have to do with he fact that the business owner happens to have a strong personal and professional relationship with the Mayor of Battle Creek? Did we really just spend thousands of taxpayer dollars and send city officals across the globe based on an “idea and connections” and a private business investment oppurtunity a buddy and friend of Dave Walters has?
So there you have it folks. This appears to have been a personal business investment for Hee Kwan Lee. Dave Walters appears to have somehow inappropriately co-mingled his role as Mayor/City Commissioner with his martial arts friend and business owner. Think about it. If this UC Group or ALEG were really interested in doing business with the City of Battle Creek, wouldn’t they approach the city of Battle Creek? Why would a private business owner who doesn’t even reside or have his business within the city limits of Battle Creek seem to be the appropriate vessel in which to do business with Battle Creek? This is not the appropriate way in which to do business. This give every appearance of friends abusing their positions and connections and doing things for personal and private gain with public resources.
Based on the information obtained, this sounds like nothing more than Dave acting rouge and co-mingling his role as Mayor to help out his buddies business and to get a nice free taxpayer funded vacation to China, a free/reduced cost to earn his black-belt, receive accolades for putting this together in hopes of being the hero and being able to take credit. This is what government fraud, waste, and abuse looks like. Most people understand that not all business plans work out exactly as initially planned. There are things that happen or go wrong or change from concept to execution and completion. But; there is a big difference between minor changes and outright lies. 16 months after the trip to China, the WHOLE reason and purpose for going appears to be changing.
UPDATE | September 25, 2017 | NPC 10 Meeting |Dave Walters was present and per citizen request, gave us the latest update on this “venture” See HERE
Dave now states that they are in the process of getting licensed via the State of Michigan. I will show again, below are the State of Michigan registered business license in the name of “American Leaders Education Group” with an address of “126 Avenue C Springfield, MI” which is still/currently licensed and in the name of PulverDryer, the business the city is currently suing.
Dave also stated at the NPC meeting that the purchase of Fremont and Urbandale is still in place but that “money has not been exchanged yet.” Which is direct conflict of what he previously said on WBCK April 27, 2017 when he said:
“It is moving forward. We can tell you that the South Korean contingent which is part of this overall collaborative process, has indeed sent money this way. So things are happening!” Dave Walters | April 27, 2017 |WBCK Richard Peit Show |
Dave stated that the plans are not dead yet, just on hold so they can get their licensing through the state. If that is the case then that can only mean that Dave and Ted have been doing business with a unlicensed business this whole time!!! Again, did ANYBODY BOTHER TO VETT ANY OF THIS? Perhaps if conflicts of interests were disclosed as they are required to be according to the City Charter, Code of Ethics and Roles_Responsibilites_CityOfficials things like this could be avoided. I am beginning to wonder of we are really waiting on the “licensing” or if its really a possibility that we are waiting on a certain private business owner to seek appropriate financing to fund this? Since the purchase of Washington Elementary has already fallen thru, was the intent to purchase Fremont and Urbandale a back up plan for something entirely different in case this fell thru? Who knows…
In June of 2016 Dave said in 12-18 months we can expect a delegation of up to 1000 Chinese and South Korean students to be living and going to WMU and KCC and here we are 16 months later and not one portion of the delegation has come over nor has any renovation of buildings downtown, or building of dormitories begun. In fact, on September 27, 2017, when contacted WMU offical Jane Blyth stated that nothing has been happening on WMU’s end, they were waiting to hear back from the City of Battle Creek. She went on to state that last they had heard was from Ted Dearing in July of 2017, and he informed WMU that they were no longer pursuing the higher educational end of this proposal and we do not have anything further than that. Ms. Blyth affirmed that if there was no longer any higher education portion to this being pursued, then that would remove WMU from the entire equation. She also stated WMU does not have any signed contracts, agreements, or proposals and nothing signed and in writing that would link WMU with the City of Battle Creek and this venture. She stated there was “absolutely nothing.” I asked if she was aware of a Proposal titled “Education Partnership and Economic and Cultural Exchange Between UC EDUCATION GROUP AND UC GLOBAL GROUP INC and WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY and KELLOGG COMMUNITY COLLEGE and CITY OF BATTLE CREEK” She was not familiar with this document.
Below are copies received via FOIA of a proposal titled “Education Partnership and Economic and Cultural Exchange.” This proposal does not list who authored it nor are there any signatures on it.
Below I have included a list of of the various polices, rules, and ethics that it appears Dave Walters has violated. The writing in red gives at least one example of how that policy/rule/code was violated. The saying around the City of Battle Creek has always been “see something, say something.” Which translates into the city encouraging residents to report any suspicious activity, behavior or possible criminal or unsafe activity to the Battle Creek Police. It is hoped that upon publication, more than enough people will have had their eyes opened and can no longer claim ignorance to what the facts of the matter are in regards to the very questionable circumstances surrounding this entire venture. Hopefully this will force the hand of the complacent commission to actually do something about these actions. The citizens also have a right to be up in arms about this and demand accountability. There appears to be some municipal violations that Dave clearly did violate. Starting with; Battle Creek City Charter Chapter 212.03 C (1 & 3) along with multiple Roles_Responsibilites_CityOfficials
c) Responsibilities of the Commissioner are:
(1) A written synopsis covering the salient issues, within thirty days of return, presented to the full Commission; and(3) Failure by any City Commissioner to provide the written synopsis required by paragraph (c)(1) hereof shall result in no reimbursement for said travel, meeting or representation, or, if expenses have been paid by the City, such expenses shall be reimbursed to the City by the Commissioner promptly, upon request.Further, a City Commissioner failing to provide the synopsis required by paragraph (c)(1) hereof may be further sanctioned at the discretion of the City Commission.(Res. 57. Passed 1-7-97.)
Upon return from the trip to China, Dave never presented his written synopsis of the salient issues within the 30 day time fame to the commission as required per the City Charter. The travel committee and rest of the commission has also failed in their duty to hold Dave accountable and properly sanction him in accordance to the City Charter.
Sounds like there is no oversight going on at city hall. It’s just a free for all. Whatever they can get away with because they know that the citizens don’t pay attention and wont hold them accountable. The Commission and individual commissioners have proven they wont hold themselves or each other accountable. Yet, how quick do you think–if a citizen violated the Charter or ordinance–the citizen would be issued a citation or held accountable? This is just one example of the double standard hypocrisy that make people lose much needed faith and trust and breaks down the integrity of our government. If there is an ounce of integrity left in the Commission, then upon publication of this article the citizens should expect that this be properly resolved in accordance with the City Charter. Dave Walters should have to pay back the entire cost of the trip. (Not the cost that was approved–as we had a play on numbers earlier).
212.03 TRAVEL AND MEETING EXPENSES AND REPRESENTATIONS; TRAVEL COMMITTEE.The Mayor shall appoint a Travel Committee composed of three City Commissioners and one alternate.The following rules pertaining to travel and/or meeting expenses and representations of the City by City Commissioners are hereby adopted:(a) All requests for travel expenses exceeding four hundred dollars ($400.00) shall be forwarded to the Travel Committee for prior approval, accompanied by a detailed agenda and itemization of expected expenses.If direct representation of the City through votes is involved, the voting delegate shall be the Mayor or Vice Mayor or, in his or her absence, a Commissioner designated by the full City Commission.(Res. 95. Passed 3-20-07.)(b) Allowable expenses are limited to:(1) Transportation to and from the specified location. Air fare within the continental United States shall be coach class.(2) Hotel accommodations and meals, for the time period of the meeting, including travel there and back; and(3) Registration fees and other charges incidental to the meeting or seminar.(c) Responsibilities of the Commissioner are:(1) A written synopsis covering the salient issues, within thirty days of return, presented to the full Commission; and(2) Reconcilement of all travel advances, within thirty days of return, with receipts, except for miscellaneous items. Additional transportation, hotel and meal expenses incurred by extending the time and/or scope of the travel are the Commissioner’s personal expense.(Res. 588. Passed 1-20-87.)(3) Failure by any City Commissioner to provide the written synopsis required by paragraph (c)(1) hereof shall result in no reimbursement for said travel, meeting or representation, or, if expenses have been paid by the City, such expenses shall be reimbursed to the City by the Commissioner promptly, upon request.Further, a City Commissioner failing to provide the synopsis required by paragraph (c)(1) hereof may be further sanctioned at the discretion of the City Commission.(Res. 57. Passed 1-7-97.)(d) The Committee shall be guided in its disposition of travel requests by the validity of the trip, the Commission travel budget and the fiscal year total of expenses incurred by the requesting Commissioner. In the event of travel outside the State, the voting delegate should be given preference.The Committee shall provide, in a timely manner, a written summary of each request and its disposition to each City Commissioner, accompanied by an updated accounting of the travel expenditures approved for the fiscal year in total and for individual Commissioners.(e) Any Commissioner may request a full Commission review of any travel request and disposition by requesting the City Manager to prepare a resolution approving the request and placing it on the next Commission agenda. The decision of the Commission on the resolution shall determine the final status of the travel request.(Res. 588. Passed 1-20-87.)212.05(b)(1) Acts in the public interest. Recognizing that stewardship of the public interest must be their primary concern, City Commissioners will work for the common good of the people of Battle Creek and not for any private or personal interest, and they will assure fair and equal treatment of all persons, claims, and transactions coming before the Battle Creek City Commission. City Commissioners shall also abide by the model of excellence provided for in below 212.05 (c).–conflict of interest, HapKido, working for UC Group, ALEG, KCC and WMU. Has no authority over any of these entities to speak or sign contracts on their behalf.212.05(b) (2) Compliance with law. City Commissioners shall comply with the laws of the nation, the State of Michigan, and the City of Battle Creek in the performance of their public duties. These laws include, but are not limited to: the United States and Michigan constitutions; the Battle Creek City Charter; laws pertaining to conflicts of interest, contracts with public entities, election campaigns, financial disclosures, employer responsibilities, and open processes of government; and City ordinances and policies.-conflict of interest, HapKido, working for UC Group, ALEG, KCC and WMU. Has no authority over any of these entities to speak or sign contracts on their behalf. Also, possible violations of international law.212.05(b) (6) Full disclosure.A. A City Commissioner in the performance of their public duties shall not act upon any matter in which they have a material financial interest, or where they have a legal or fiduciary duty to another organization or entity or personal relationship that may give the appearance of a conflict of interest, without disclosing the full nature and extent of the interest to the other members of the City Commission on the official record. Such disclosure must be made before the time to perform their duty or concurrently with the performance of the duty.–RelationshipS with Hee Kwan Lee- board, student, friend. Hee stated himself that his whole life is to promote HapKiDo worldwide. And now Dave brings him to China to do the only thing that Hee does.B. The disclosure required by this subsection shall not supplant, but instead shall supplement, any disclosure of a personal, contractual, financial, business, employment or pecuniary interest required by state statute.-Dave Walters is HapKiDo board member and Martial Arts student and Instructor of Hee Kwan Lee and his business Korean Martial Arts.212.05(b) (7) Gifts, favors, and loans. A. A City Commissioner shall refrain from financial and business dealings that would tend to reflect adversely on the Commissioner impartiality, interfere with the performance of their public duties or exploit their official position. A City Commissioner should not take any special advantage of services, goods or opportunity for personal gain that is not available to the public in general.-No right to enter into contracts. (ACM Ted Dearing was there and he even didn’t sign this “contract”. Speaking publicly on behalf of WMU and KCC without their interest or express written consent to do so.212.05(b) (10) Representation of private interests. In keeping with their role as stewards of the public interest, a City Commissioner shall not appear on behalf of the private interests of third parties, including their spouses and family members within the third degree of consanguinity to the City Commissioner or their spouse, before the City Commission or any board, committee, commission or proceeding of the City.(This is all Hee Kwan Lee. Hee stated himself that his whole life is to promote HapKiDo worldwide. What did Walters get out of this? Reduced fee for that black belts he has been wanting to go after and a free trip to China?)212.05(b) (11) Advocacy. City Commissioners shall represent the official policies or positions of the City Commission to the best of their ability when designated as delegates for this purpose. When presenting their individual opinions and positions, City Commissioners shall neither state nor imply that they represent the opinions or positions of the City Commission or the City of Battle Creek.212.05(b) (12) Policy role of members.A. City Commissioners shall respect and adhere to the Commission-manager structure of Battle Creek City government as outlined by the Battle Creek City Charter. In this structure, the City Commission determines the policies of the City with the advice, information, and analysis provided by the public, subordinate boards, committees and commissions, and City staff.B. City Commissioners therefore shall not interfere with the administrative functions of the City or the professional duties of City staff; nor shall they impair the ability of staff to implement City Commission policy decisions.
This is an example of why it is important to hold your public and government officials accountable. Who knows what is really going on with all this, but what the facts show doesn’t make sense and in my opinion, if this were as straightforward and legit as they are claiming it to be, why are their so many convolutions, commingling, inconsistencies, “phantom” organizations” etc. When you are left with more questions than answers, numbers that don’t add up, confusion, and inconsistencies; it becomes your patriotic duty to question your government and public officials; to hold them accountable. They do not get to act with impunity just because they are a public or government official. In a true, free and open and democratic society, the government is supposed to fear its people not the other way around.
We are owed honest explanations about what is really going on with our money and we should only be paying for necessities that are needed and benefits the city as a whole, not taking advantage of the very large general fund and spending money just because its there or an opportunity presents itself. That is not your money Mr. Walters, Mr. Dearing, and Mr. Lee. That is the money of the citizens of the city of Battle Creek who have entrusted you to properly manage city business. When a public breach of the trust is committed by people in trusted government positions it brings the whole integrity of the entire organization into question. This is why our taxes are high Frivolous, hobby-horse spending, just to spend instead of returning unused funds back to the citizens in the form of a tax break.
And remember: “What if Humpty Dumpy was pushed?” –Dave Walters
Election is coming up in November. Be sure to hold those accountable at the ballot box.
***Authors Note: It is my opinion and belief that the City of Battle Creek and/or various employees/government officials, have a pattern of retaliating against people who speak up and out against them. They [ab]use their bottomless pit of resources and legal power to falsely accuse and go after people in hopes that it will silence them. It is my belief that during the past 13 months I have been directly retaliated against specifically in regard to my “FOIAing” documents for this very Op/Ed. If what I had to say had no merit, why would they waste taxpayer resources to go after me? Certainly a document that is false would discredit itself on its face and most certainly wouldn’t be able to be supported and backed up with over 50 citations, multiple pages of documents obtained from the very entities involved: City of Battle Creek and Battle Creek Public Schools. The information contained in this investigative Op/Ed are the opinions of the author and staff based on the facts, research, documents, and information gathered.***
One more thing to think about: if this China trip was really about what they were saying it was about, then why hasn’t the city been promoting it? They are always telling their citizens to speak and think positive of Battle Creek! And if this is such the positive opportunity that they are saying it is–so much that we spent thousands of tax payer dollars to go across the globe, then don’t you think we would be promoting it?