• Is Something Smelling A Little "Horsey" In Milton?

    By Staff
    September 19, 2023
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    Earlier in the year, Milton City was applauded after making the decision to move away from elections managed by Fulton County and to operate their own elections with hand-marked paper ballots and hand counting.

    Now there may be a group coalescing who seem to oppose the change and in fact may be working to remove some of those who fought for accurate, auditable election processes.

    What’s going on?   

    Earlier this month, a member of the City Council found that their official City email account had been accessed and at least one email sent out late at night to a range of recipients including the mayor, city manager and others.    

    The email content was odd, it was comprised of a years-old previous email invite, originally received from another person, for an unrelated event in 2021.  The email content had been modified to contain a mixture of old and new data and then sent out without the valid account owner even knowing.     The owner learned of the breach when asked about the bizarre email by several recipients.   

    While the purpose of this breech isn’t fully clear yet, some are speculating that a potential purpose might have been to create a situation which could cast doubt on the VICTIM of the crime.

    As we are seeing with others – President Trump is a notable example – sometimes you can judge peoples motivation by their actions (or lack of action.)  So lets take  a look at who is involved and their actions surrounding this email breech that occurred within the City of Milton email system.

    City Councilman Rick Mohrig’s email account is the one that was breeched and who is currently aiding investigators in pinpointing the source of the intrusion.

    Mr. Mohrig currently serves on the City Council and was a member of the original City of Milton Organizing Committee which brought the City of Milton into being.  He first joined the City Council in 2006 and returned to the Council in 2013.

    He has been one of a number of proponents who have recommended the City cease having Fulton County run the City's elections and for Milton to take on the elections themselves.    A study delving into that choice confirmed that the City was capable of implementing their own election processes and could save approximately $250,000 in the first year.

    Steve Krokoff

    Milton’s City Manager is one Steve Krokoff.  Security intrusions in the city’s email and other systems come under the City Manager's area of responsibility.   A NY native, Krokoff has served as City Manager since 2016.

    Like many kinds of electronic cyber crime, hacking an email account can trigger investigations at the local, State and Federal levels.  Penalties for cyber crimes can be harsh, with Federal guidelines often recommending a sentence of 20 years for those convicted. 

    Clearly an official email account being penetrated by a bad actor is quite concerning and needs to receive complete investigation.

    At the organizational level it would fall to Mr. Krokoff to investigate the system breach and cooperate with authorities during their investigations.

    Adam Hollingsworth

    Mr. Hollingsworth, is a former Chief of Staff for Rick Scott (former FL Gov.) transplanted to Milton from Florida.

    Hollingworth is listed as President of an organization called Milton Families First (we’ll come back to this.)

    Sources report that in the most recent City meeting, Hollingworth appeared to be calling Mr. Mohrig into question and in fact has asked him to step down. 

    Why would this be a priority at this time?     Keep reading…..

    Stephen Lawson

    Another interesting connection in Florida is Stephen Lawson who also worked with Rick Scott and joined DeSantis campaign in 2018.

    Did Lawson and Hollingworth meet during their time with Rick Scott or while in Florida politics?

    Lawson now runs Full Focus Communications, a firm he launched after his work with Brian Kemp and with Cody Hall.    (Hall was recently announced as being assigned by Kemp to aid the DeSantis campaign while continuing some of his work with Kemp.) 

    Lawson and Hall’s firm continues to be connected to Brian Kemp.  See the below from Full Focus Communications website:

    Now lets take another look at Milton Families First

    The Secretary of States website shows the organization's address as 3000 Heritage Walk, Suite 301, Milton, GA.    It appears to share that address with Berkeley Capital Partners, Inc., Access Private Capital, and Aberdeen Steakhouse.

    The Secretary of States website shows BCP SERVICES INC. listed at 3000 Heritage Walk, Suite 301, Suite 430 Milton, GA.

    The GA Secretary States website lists Anthony Palazzo (alternatively Anthony F. Palazzo) as as CEO, CFO and Secretary.

    Anthony Palazzo

    Is Milton Families First associated with BCP and/or Berkely Capital Partners?

    Does Mr. Palazzo have connections to other parties herein cited?  He apparently does.

    Palazzo and Hollingworth both live in the same neighborhood and in fact both sit on the Board of White Columns HOA:

    One more person we should speak of is City Council person Carol Cookerly.

    Carol Cookerly

    Sources say that following discovery of the email breach Ms. Cookerly seemed less interested in the potential for the City’s systems to have been compromised and more focused on accusing Councilman Mohrig of some sort of misdoing. 

    Wouldn’t the top priority be to make sure the City wasn’t being set up by bad actors for a bigger more costly hack or ransomware event?

    What is the common thread behind these folks being linked?  Is there some agenda in play? 

    There may be a clue in a recent City Council meeting:

    Keep in mind that the key reason for the City choosing to run its own elections was to eliminate concern about exposure to the flaws and mistakes that have been demonstrated in Fulton’s election systems and processes, and to save cost estimated at $250k in the first year.  Perhaps most importantly the goal is to implement elections which would allow voters to regain confidence in the accuracy of their elections.

    When asked if the City could successfully operate their own election separate from Fulton, City Manager Krokoff answered that operationally they could, so long as it had the FULL TRUST OF ELECTORS.   Why would Krokoff state it this way when the point of operating its own elections was to to ensure exactly this?

    Moments after Krokoff made the above comments Cookerly mentioned that she thought there might be a need to go back to having Fulton implement the City’s elections.   

    Many who have heard about Cookerly’s comment wonder why such a thing would be said.  

    Rasmussen reported in the last week that 62% of Georgians are concerned that Georgia’s election system is rigged.  An educated community such as Milton could be expected to share these concerns.

    Given that the majority of Georgians are concerned about rigged elections why would Cookerly (or anyone) suggest going to back to having a County such as Fulton run their elections.

    What is Kemp’s role, in all this?   

    Sources in touch with certain elected officials report that within the General Assembly it’s widely known that if a legislator dares speak of paper ballots and hand counting he/she can expect to be removed from committees, lose leadership support and essentially be shunned because Kemp wishes zero discussion of hand-marked ballots.    

    This was obviously evident at the infamous Perry Fish Fry where organizers actually blocked VoterGA and those with “Paper Ballot Please” t-shirts from attending, especially while Kemp was in the building.   

    Thankfully Kemp apparently preferred Chick-Fil-A to fish and left early.

    Milton began this year being praised by people across the State for having to courage to seperate from Fulton. In the past months, Fulton County for the first time ever, has blocked a key GOP nominee from being appointed to the Fulton Election Board.

    Is it coincidence we now see a key advocate for separating for Fulton elections being targeted after being the victim of a cyber crime?

    So we've seen Stephen Lawson and Adam Hollingsworth appear to share background with Rick Scott and that Adam Hollingworth is connected to Milton Families First. Lawson is also connected to Kemp and Cody Hall via Full Focus.

    This story has a lot more coming. For the moment, having pointed out just some of the odd connections and statements made to date,....

    The Georgia Record invites readers to do their own research to learn (expose) more – as will we.

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