Monday, August 24, 2009

What the Post-Dispatch Missed About Milton "Skip" Ohlsen

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 8:07 AM

click to enlarge Ohlsen's mug shot as it appears in an arrest report from March 2008 when police in Ladue found him in possession of a stolen .40 caliber Glock handgun.
  • Ohlsen's mug shot as it appears in an arrest report from March 2008 when police in Ladue found him in possession of a stolen .40 caliber Glock handgun.
If you didn't see it yesterday, the Post-Dispatch ran a front-page article on Milton "Skip" Ohlsen, the man behind a federal probe into state Sen. Jeff Smith and state Rep. Steve Brown.

The P-D article brings to light many of Ohlsen's previous criminal transgressions as well as his work with the Missouri Democratic Party.

As the daily reported, Ohlsen and former Missouri governor Bob Holden were acquaintances in 2003 and 2004, with Ohlsen and his now ex-wife, Michelle, having dined at the Governor's Mansion on at least one occasion. (Campaign records show that the Ohlsens were also contributors to Holden, donating $2,350 to his campaign in April 2003.)

The newspaper also chronicles how Ohlsen -- a convicted drug dealer -- came out of nowhere to serve as a political consultant to Missouri democrats. The paper leaves out, however, a couple key details about the 37-year-old Ohlsen.

For starters, the daily is fairly vague on exactly what Ohlsen did as a "political adviser" for the Missouri Democratic Party and its candidates.

Those who worked with Ohlsen, say he was more of a videographer than an operative.

"We were hired to film press conferences and stump speeches that candidates could use on their websites or for their campaigns," says Jason Wathan, a camera and sound technician who worked part-time for Ohlsen on campaigns for Bob Holden, Jeff Smith and former state Sen. Maida Coleman. "For the most part, it was stuff that I'd expect any candidate to do."

Prior to getting into politics, Ohlsen made a living running a janitorial service called Complete Contract Management (CCM) that cleaned Wal-Mart stores in the Midwest, according to those who know him. On June 20, 2002, Ohlsen registered CCM in Nevada. That very same day, another company tied to Ohlsen -- Studio O Productions -- was also incorporated in Nevada.

Ohlsen would use Studio O and yet another company -- Democratic Strategy Group -- as the names of his fledgling political-media operation that began shortly after he volunteered for Jean Carnahan's 2002 U.S. Senate race. Ohlsen made several political connections during the race and -- as the Post-Dispatch noted yesterday -- the United Auto Workers was one of his first entities to hire Ohlsen to record its events. 

Besides the UAW, Ohlsen also shot film for the Missouri Democratic Party, says Wathan. In 2004, the party hired Ohlsen and his camera crew to fly with them to Boston to attend that year's Democratic National Convention.

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