When last we heard of The Rev. Robert Farah -- Pastor Bob to his parishioners -- he was walking out of a courtroom after his son Scott was convicted of masterminding the Financial Resources Mortgage Inc. Ponzi scheme.Well, Pastor Bob is back. This time the founder and pastor of the Center Harbor Christian Church is asking officials of the city of Laconia for permission to sell raffle tickets on the boardwalk at The Weirs to benefit his church's food pantry.The pantry can use the money. While no criminal charges were ever lodged against Pastor Bob in connection with the Ponzi scheme, he was forced into personal bankruptcy and lost his Moultonborough home.And the trustee overseeing the FRM bankruptcy has claimed that Pastor Bob's "assets or interests and/or those of the Center Harbor Christian Church are intertwined" with FRM funds.The result: The trustee is seeking to recover some $382,000 funneled to the church by FRM -- most of it in weekly payments of $2,000 made by Scott Farah for more than three years.Working out right to workIs there something in the water at House Speaker William O'Brien's office?The speaker, whose effort to override Governor Lynch's veto of O'Brien's beloved right-to-work bill has taken on the stuff of obsession, has managed to turn the whole endeavor up a notch with a letter to House members.O'Brien starts off his "Dear Colleagues" letter with the usual claims, including the one that says that "states that have adopted Right to Work protections for their workers are much more attractive to employers and see significant job growth." The speaker, and his like-minded "colleagues" have been repeating that one for so long that it's taken not only as fact, but as gospel.Is it, though?Looking at the glass as 13.6 percent full, the speaker is right. In June, the three lowest unemployment rates in the country belonged to three of the 22 states with RTW laws. That puts them all above New Hampshire, which, as we know, had an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent in June.Not far behind New Hampshire, with rates in the 5's are four other RTW states -- Oklahoma and Wyoming, both states with energy-based economies, and two in the 6's (Virginia and Iowa).But what about the other 15? Not such a pretty picture.In fact, Utah's 7.4 percent jobless rate is the lowest of the remaining 15. The highest belongs to Nevada, at 12.4 percent -- a rate that's the worst in the entire nation, RTW or not.But putting unemployment rates aside, the speaker in previous pleadings on behalf of RTW actually made the false claim that New Hampshire had at one time seriously been in the running for a Mercedes-Benz plant that ultimately was built in the RTW state of South Carolina (which has an unemployment rate of 10.5 percent, FYI).In his "Dear Colleagues" letter, he holds out the equally false hope that the German automaker Audi, which is said to be looking to build a plant in the U.S., would actually consider building in New Hampshire, (except, of course, for the unfortunate fact that the state doesn't have a RTW law).Sounds great -- just pass the law, and a thousand Audi jobs will come.The problem with that claim can be explained a little more succinctly: Carmakers don't build factories in little states in the upper right hand corner of countries with essentially zero rail service and most suppliers hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. RTW or not.F&J TOTE BOARDChip Cravaack: The freshman GOP congressman from Minnesota announces that he's moving from Minnesota to New Hampshire with his family in tow so that he and his wife -- who Cravaack says often had to spend three days a week in the Boston area for her work with a medical supply company -- can spend more time with their children. Kevin Smith:The head of the conservative activist group Cornerstone Action NH says he's thinking about seeking the GOP nomination for governor.Gary Lambert:The state senator from Nashua wins a court case that overturns his forced retirement in October 2009 as a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves.
Tony Soltani:The state rep from Epsom pens an op-ed piece in which he claims House Speaker William O’Brien has "tainted honor of the House" with his "brute intimidation, petty retaliation and open bullying."Tim Pawlenty:The former Minnesota governor and GOP presidential hopeful picks up four endorsements from New Hampshire state reps.Jon Huntsman:The former Utah governor and GOP presidential hopeful picks up three state rep endorsements.Lynne Blankenbeker:The Concord Republican and nurse in the Navy Reserves emails lawmakers about her training as a gunner at Fort Dix, N.J.: "The .50cal is quite a gun! I was never ascared of the unions but they better not F#%k with me again!!! Just saying."
Rich Ashooh:The former 1st C.D. Republican hopeful is elected chairman of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, the free-market think tank.It's been making the rounds...• Whatever happened to Sarah Palin?• So if Kevin Smith runs, does Ovide Lamontagne have to move further to the right?• Seems like old times: In the July 25 Union Leader, the article about Michelle Obama and Jill Biden's visit to New Hampshire was on page A2. The article about the first day of same-sex marriage in New York? The obituary page.• Note to Dan St. Hilaire: It's not always a good thing when an executive councilor's constituents learn his name for the first time.• As per usual, the state has no fallback position if it loses -- as it usually does -- the hospitals’ Medicaid funding suit.
This article appears in the July 29 2011 issue of New Hampshire Business Review