RFT Reporters Make Milton "Skip" Ohlsen's Shit List, Court Records Show

Aug 26, 2009 at 9:15 am
Milton H. "Skip" Ohlsen
Milton H. "Skip" Ohlsen
Milton H. "Skip" Ohlsen is in federal custody awaiting sentencing on weapons and bank fraud charges. As has been reported in recent days, Ohlsen is also a person of interest in the bombing that hurt attorney John Gillis last year. No charges have been filed in that case.

So what makes the feds think that Ohlsen, the one-time mixed martial arts promoter and restaurateur wannabe who dabbled in campaign work, may be good for the crime?

During a search of Ohlsen's North Thirteenth Street loft on December 19, 2008, as investigators were busy collecting evidence that would build the bank-fraud and weapons cases against him, they found an aerial photograph that intrigued them.

Three days later, investigators went back into Ohlsen's bachelor pad and confiscated an array of intriguing items, including a smoke grenade -- though, apparently, no smoking gun.

Among the pieces seized was a large poster-board with my colleague Chad Garrison's and my name attached to it.     

The poster-board outlines Ohlsen's, you could say, shit list.

Ohlsen apparently stuck post-it notes bearing the names of his enemies to the three-panel-wide board. At the top are the names of his ex-wife, her attorney in their divorce case, and Joel Hollenbeck, an acquaintance with whom Ohlsen has a longstanding beef. Chad Garrison and I made it onto the second row of post-its, presumably for two short stories ("Phantom Punch" and "Seeing Red: Partners battle over a Wash. Ave. eatery's ownership") in which he figured and which we wrote last year.

According to court records, federal investigators seized the poster-board, along with at least one other. The latter poster-board bore a type-written time-line of events in Ohlsen's extra-marital affair and divorce from his wife. It also included a Microsoft Virtual Earth aerial photograph of Hollenbeck's house.

According to court records, the feds also took EMS badges; several cell phones; a plastic-enclosed body bag; a tape recorder; camouflage outerwear; gear labeled with "POLICE," and a bright-orange smoke grenade from Ohlsen's loft.

The federal prosecutor believed to be handling the Clayton bombing case declined to comment earlier this week.

Paul D'Agrosa
, the defense attorney who represents Ohlsen in the weapons and bank-fraud cases, tells Daily RFT, "I'd speculate there isn't any evidence connecting Skip to the bombing--just conjecture. Will he ever be charged? In my opinion, no."

Ohlsen has made news all week for his pivotal role in the downfall of former State Sen. Jeff Smith and State Rep. Steve Brown.

Ohlsen produced the campaign flier critical of Russ Carnahan during the 2004 U.S. Congressional race between Carnahan and Smith. Smith yesterday admitted to violating campaign regulations in the production of that flier -- and to covering up his role, not once but twice.

Last week various local media suggested that Ohlsen had ratted out Smith and Brown to the feds -- a claim D'Agrosa strenuously refutes. "It was completely false and reckless to make these claims which have endangered my client's life."

Yesterday it was revealed in federal court that it was Steve Brown who provided, in the words of U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson, "substantial assistance" to the FBI agents looking into the case against Brown and Smith.   

Ohlsen will be sentenced in September.

Smith and Brown will be sentenced in November.