In 2006, Ohio politician Betty Montgomery reported a $500 contribution to her 2006 campaign for attorney general from U.S. Navy Veterans director Bobby C. Thompson. His address was listed at 934 Smiley Ave., Cincinnati.
A Bobby Thompson did live there, just not Bobby C. Thompson. It was Bobby no-middle-initial Thompson, a 67-year-old retired metalworker who says he lived in that Smiley Avenue house with his wife, Ernestine, during all of 2006, but he never wrote a campaign check to anyone.
"I ain't never been in the Army, ain't never been in the Navy, ain't never been in the Air Force, ain't never been in the Marines, and I don't make contributions,'' he said. "And I have a problem with this."
Now Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray has taken notice of the questionable campaign check as his office continues its investigation into the Navy Veterans group and its founder, Bobby C. Thompson.
Calling the group "illegitimate from the get-go,'' Cordray has shut down the Navy Veterans nonprofit in Ohio and has asked a judge to freeze its bank accounts. He said there is little evidence that the $1.9 million the group reported getting from Ohio residents since 2003 was used to help veterans.
Montgomery was Ohio Attorney General from 1995 to 2003 and was running for that office again in 2006 when her campaign reported Bobby C. Thompson's $500 check.
She lost that election and now works at Mac Murray, Petersen & Shuster, the law firm that represented the Navy Veterans until this week. Helen Mac Murray had been general counsel for the Navy Veterans since last June. While Montgomery was attorney general, Mac Murray was chief of Montgomery's Consumer Protection section.
Neither Montgomery nor Mac Murray responded to requests for comment.
Tax returns show that the Navy Veterans made a few cash grants in Ohio during 2008 and 2009, including $1,000 to the city of Columbus to assist needy veterans, $1,899 to the Columbus mayor's community prayer luncheon and $1,800 to CET-TV, a public broadcasting station in Cincinnati.
CET station manager Jack Dominic said Thompson called him out of the blue and offered to send the $1,800 to sponsor a TV series. Later, the Navy Veterans website featured a thank-you from CET that said, "Thank you so much for the good work you do for veterans here in the Cincinnati area... God bless you!"
Dominic said his station did send a general thank you note to Thompson's group, but he said the note was altered to make it look like the station was thanking the group for doing good deeds for Cincinnati veterans.
"We have no idea what he was doing for veterans in Cincinnati,'' Dominic said this week. "I sent him a letter asking them to delete that quote, but I'm not expecting to hear back any time soon."