Written By: Jeremy Baumhower
With the barrage of information iHeartGlassCity has been unleashing while covering the Perrysburg Heights Community Association’s fundraising festival, a.k.a The OG BBQ Fest– We wanted to present our case against the PHCA, it’s Board Members including Director of Operations and Treasurer Harold Jason Craig and his wife Kristie Koester.
The OG BBQ Fest
Director of Operations/ OG Fest Organizer Jason Craig knowingly and fraudulently deceived the public while promoting a concert happening at the Community Center inside Perrysburg Heights. Mr. Craig sought out and went into business with Michigan native and concert promoter Tim Corser. Mr. Corser was recently convicted of two felonies for fraud for a failed concert in Jackson County, Michigan called Rockapoolaza. The OG BBQ Fest fundraising event was sold to the public as a concert featuring National Recording Acts– Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Naughty By Nature and Coolio.
Mr. Craig told Perrysburg Township Police Department that 10,000 plus people were expected at the Community Center. Mr. Craig also produced paperwork showing he had contracted a private firm hiring 20 security guards at a rate of $26 per hour. PTPD spent three weeks preparing for the date due to potential gang activity. Numerous local artists, who were billed as performing were believed to have gang connections and the department wanted to make sure they were adequately prepared.
According to PTPD Deputy Chief of Police Mike Gilmore– on the morning of the OG Fest, Jason Craig informed Gilmore the TEN hired security guards were not coming because they were all involved in a “car accident”. iHeartGlassCity has investigated and cannot confirm that a car accident involving ten people happened anywhere within the state of Michigan. PTPD with the help of neighboring police departments provided a safe environment inside and out of the venue. The low ballpark estimate of cost to the taxpayers of Wood County is at least $37,000. Mr. Craig promised to pay for 30 police officers at $30 per hour, at a total cost of $10,800. The PTPD has yet to receive a payment.
Mr. Craig admitted days before the concert that only Coolio was coming. Mr. Craig and Mr. Corser received a Cease-And-Desist letter from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s manager demanding they stop using the group’s name to promote the concert. Mr. Craig offered a deliberately confusing trail of paperwork blaming numerous people and accusing some of theft. He also gave two interviews stating exact opposite views on concertgoers’ ability to receive a refund.
On Friday August 29th, the day before the OG Fest and opening night of the Mexican American Fest–Mr Craig posted on Facebook that Naughty By Nature was going to perform the following day and that Comedian George Lopez was going to make an appearance at the Festival that night. George Lopez never appeared, although he did meet Mr. Craig’s family privately for a picture off site. Naughty By Nature failed to appear the next day.
Naughty By Nature has since stated publicly that the group was never contacted, nor booked to perform and warned promoters to not use the group’s name/image in fraudulent capacities.
On Saturday August 30th, the day of OG BBQ Fest, witnesses saw Jason Craig collect cash from the various areas generating income and combining it all into one general pile. There wasn’t a single attempt made for any accountability. Mr. Craig would simply take piles of cash, shove it into his pockets and disappear.
Perrysburg Township Deputy Chief of Police Mike Gilmore told iHeartGlassCity that “Jason Craig was offered police escorts to the bank on numerous occasions during the day, but none happened. In fact we had a car pull up to take him but Craig said he had to pay an artist, pulled out a wad of cash from his pocket and walked away.” Chief Gilmore added “Police escorts to the bank are a very common procedure for festivals like these” and it was “highly unusual” that they did not take place during the festival. During previous PHCA Festivals prior to Jason Craig, a PTPD Officer would escort a volunteer through out the center as they collected cash and would act as a witness when two separate volunteers would count the money in a secure room. PTPD would act as a escort for numerous trips to the bank.
This cash-in-pants process happened the entire time money was coming into the festival up until Mr Craig’s medical emergency which required an ambulance ride out of the venue and to a local hospital.
Over 1,500 people attended the concert with zero accountability handling the cash.
PTPD ended the concert at 11:30 PM after the show went 30 minutes longer than the agreed upon 11 o’clock ending. None of the promised National Acts performed or appeared.
iHeartGlassCity asked co-promoter Tim Corser for a comment on the arrangement made between Jason Craig and himself. The following was received: “This email is to clarify that the beginning of the week before the show I was on the phone with Jason Craig and told him we should cancel this event and that it wasn’t a good idea to go through with it. I was then threatened with legal proceedings if i canceled. Our original agreement was i would get 80% of the alcohol, parking and the door but when the show was looking highly successful it became that i would only get my restitutions paid off from a past engagement i still owed. I had some volunteers handling parking but all funds that were collected were given to Jason Craig or a member of the community center. I have lost a few thousand dollars on this event as i am refunding tickets to unhappy concert goers. I am doing this because i believe it’s the right thing to do as i would be upset if i was in the consumers position. Please let me know if you need anything else. Sincerely, Tim Corser”
During an interview a Toledo Free Press Reporter and myself on Wednesday mentioned above, Jason Craig repeatedly informed us that Tim Corser was not getting paid red cent and he was volunteering his services because of the love of the Community Center.
The PHCA is a registered 501c3. Since May of 2013 there has been shown zero transparency with anything related to the organization. There has been no public documents showing anything regarding it’s 2013 finances and taxes. There has been no open meetings, no public documents and no information as to anything internal.
Jason Craig and Kristie Koester
During the Summer of 2012 Harold Jason Craig was sworn onto the PHCA’s Board of Directors. He immediately volunteered to run the Community Center’s daily activities and became it’s “Director of Operations”. He also pushed hard to become the PHCA’s Treasurer telling then Board President Anita Serda, “Although I haven’t finished college, I’ve taken an accounting class”.
As Director of Ops, Mr. Craig often states that he volunteers 50+ hours a week working unpaid at the center. When asked how can he afford to be so generous with so much of his time, Mr. Craig has stated numerously to numerous people that “he won the lottery”. iHeartGlassCity has yet to be able to confirm a lottery win.
Mr Craig is in a relationship and lives with a woman named Kristie Koester. Ms. Koester is currently listed as serving on the Board of Directors. Since 2009, Jason Craig and Kristie Koester have been buying parcels of land all located within Perrysburg Heights, 16 in total. For reasons unknown, all sixteen parcels of land are titled in Kristie Koester’s name.
Jason Craig has been very vocal about his plans of bulldozing the Heights and profiting of a future development deal. The Heights location is the only underdeveloped area in all of Perrysburg proper and sits just feet away from Levis Commons, an incredibly coveted retail location. Many believe that if the PHCA Community Center is closed the neighborhood will be redeveloped, displacing a lot of families.
If you were to do a google search on the names Harold Jason Craig and Kristie Koester you will find an extensive history of civil and criminal issues, with most dealing with complaints of fraud. In 2002 the couple was successfully sued for $75,000 over allegations of forgery and grand theft.
What Should Happen Next:
A complete investigation by the Attorney General’s office in regards to the OG BBQ Fest– to what degree of fraud was committed with how the concert was promoted, what contracts were signed, what money was spent and how much money came in. Where is the cash today?
A complete and through aggressive financial audit of the PHCA covering the last two years.
Investigate the PHCA compliance– check to see why the transparency completely ended. Are meetings happening?
Investigate conflicts of interest as determined by the mandated by-laws for members sitting on the Board of Directors: Investigate all business and rental arrangements between Board President Jesse Spier and the Community Center.
Has there been any changes to the by-laws that pave the way for Board members to receive an income from the PHCA?
I believe that the above is a lot of information, because the con was designed to be grandiose in nature. There are suppose to be way more questions than answers and I think those behind the con are safer than others because only one office has the ability to investigate consumer fraud and nonprofit abuse.. and that’s the Attorney General’s office.