NACHI Members Take a Stand/KC Star Reports


****Jim ****Bushart **couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

There he was last month crammed into the tiny third-floor office of state Rep. **Curt Dougherty **in the Missouri Capitol with eight other home inspectors.

Their aim: to fight legislation that they felt would undermine their independence as objective evaluators.

But Dougherty, an Independence Democrat in his final term, thought some education was in order. In short order, he laid out the facts of life under the dome.

As Bushart remembers it, Dougherty said: “You might as well put a ‘for sale’ sign in front of this Capitol building.”

Dougherty said that advocates for the bill were powerful and would “spend lots of money here,” and were planning to take the entire General Assembly out for dinner the following week.

Dougherty wasn’t done. According to Bushart, the lawmaker advised the group to hire a lobbyist who “gets things done for you.”

As some of the home inspectors exchanged glances, Dougherty concluded with a wallop.

“It is not about being right or wrong,” Bushart remembers Dougherty saying. “It is all about money. I hate to put it this way, but it’s the truth.”

Asked about all this, Dougherty admitted that he can be blunt at times, but said his comments were taken out of context. He said he was trying to be honest by underscoring the importance of hiring a lobbyist.

“Anybody who doesn’t understand that you need to have a hired gun who keeps their issues in front of legislators has their head in the sand,” Dougherty said.

Bushart, of Cassville, Mo., insisted that he got the conversation right. His account was backed by **Steve Wessler **of Lake of the Ozarks, and **Patrick Carter **of Kansas City, who said they were in the office with Bushart.

A fourth home inspector, **James Braun **of Jefferson City, at first confirmed the remarks, and then demurred, saying he wouldn’t go there.

Bushart said Dougherty didn’t hesitate as he laid down the way of the dome, acting as if he’d said the same thing many times before.

“I guess I had been pretty naive,” Bushart said. “I was shocked.”

Carter admitted he also was “kind of taken aback” by Dougherty’s words, but said he appreciated the straight talk.

“We all know that money runs politics,” Carter said. “He was just being truthful. If anything, I respected him more for telling us.”

The measure in question, H.B. 1714, would regulate home inspectors. The inspectors fear that a new licensing board the bill sets up might cause them to pull their punches to stave off complaints from real-estate agents.

The particulars of the bill are almost beside the point. What matters is the reality check that an elected member of the House blurted out in front of a group of citizens he hardly knew.

In essence, Dougherty was saying the Missouri House doesn’t represent the little guy or the consumer. What it does represent are those interests willing to pony up for a lobbyist, or make strategically placed campaign donations.

Dougherty’s comments are astonishing in another way: That he would talk so openly about the “for sale” aspect of the House at a time when it is so widely known that the FBI is sniffing around the Capitol in its ongoing “pay for play” probe is mind-blowing.

It speaks volumes about the culture inside the Capitol.

One of the inspectors present that day, **Steve Wessler, **called Dougherty’s admonitions deeply disappointing.

“I’m not naïve,” Wessler said. “I’m 56 years old. That is the way it is. I’m not blind to that fact. You can argue ‘till the cows come in, but money does talk.”

Yes, it does.

Dougherty understands that. Last year, he issued a fund-raising invitation which said: “Just remember you don’t gotta’ like me to donate, you just gotta’ deal with me.”

FBI investigation or not, that seems to be the way things still work in Jeff City. The most important element of any dealing in the state Capitol is writing a check.

Bushart said unfortunately Dougherty wasn’t the only lawmaker who delivered that message to his small band of inspectors.

Said Bushart, “When a representative can say these things to a roomful of nine people,” then state government “is owned by someone.”

Yes, it is.

From the Kansas City Star

There were about 8-9 home inspectors from around the state in the Missouri Capitol last month that met with Representative Curt Dougherty.

Like Pat Carter another NACHI member present that day already said - I personally appreciated the straight talk from Curt. He did not tap dance around the flag pole like I’ve seen some Kansas Legislators do. He’s been an electrician himself and worked in the trenches with us.

In several other meetings with the states home inspectors in previous years, he’s already said he thinks the Bills they keep throwing at us are UNNEEDED / BUT he’s emphasized that the BIG interests have $$$$, lobbyists and political clout AND eventually the special interests will have their way with us - UNLESS we can try some of their own tactics. One of which is having OUR own lobbyist, etc to talk for us.

Representative Dougherty almost single-handedly helped fight the previous Bills off our heads for the past 2 years. I find this article to be a really cheap shot at somebody telling us whats really going on.

You’ve always thought it - But Curt just tells it like it is. Good, bad or indifferent - KINDA like a professional home inspector. If you don’t like the truth, go stick your head in the sand AND hope the tooth fairy comes by.

No one is denying the “truth” that money buys laws.

What we are doing is objecting to it…and bringing light to it.

Silence…compromise…playing all sides…gets you a licensing board with Jeff Barnes running it. We don’t want that in Missouri.

This was another bonehead move done by Bushart. He lied to me to get me to speak to the reporter. He assured me that no names would be named. He has betrayed my trust and most inspectors in Missouri. He is a disgrace to our industry.
I only agreed to talk to the now know lying bastard of a reporter because of Bushart’s assurances. After I realized what the reporter was up to I told him that this is not what me and Bushart agreed upon. I explained to the reporter and Bushart how running a story like this would harm the home inspectors of Missouri. It appears they do not care and just want their story. Well they got it and it showed us that they are no better than the special interests pushing licensing. I do not like it when I get lied to, Bushart lied to me and especially that piece of crap reporter. What in the hell ever happened to honor and keeping your word.
Also Curt Dougherety did not disserve his words to be twisted like this.
This is a sad day for Missouri inspectors.

As the article points out, James Braun confirmed everything that was printed…and then attempted to back out. I’m sure he felt he was doing the right thing then as he feels he is doing now.

The reporter did not lie to me. I know of none of the others interviewed who are claiming that the reporter lied, other than Mr. Braun. Since I was not on the line when he spoke to the reporter, I cannot validate whether the reporter was honest with him or not, but he did not print anything that was false.

There is no harm done to the home inspectors of Missouri by having the truth brought to light. The harm comes from the backroom deals between the money holders, their lobbyists, and the politicians that the FBI are currently investigating along with a Grand Jury in Kansas City.

No one lied to anyone regarding this meeting or “twisted” any words, as is obvious from the report. It was not private, off-the-record or held in confidence. It was held publicly with nine inspectors and a Missouri representative who had an appointment to speak to him about HB 1714, which he had indicated support for. Even the Representative himself admitted to the reporter his “bluntness” in attempting to educate the common man of his need for a “lobbyist” to get the job done.

How can the home inspectors of Missouri expect to come close to spending…through a lobbyist…the kind of money that is thrown at the Missouri legislature by the Missouri Association of Realtors?

I can understand why the guy who wants to have a school (should there be a law) to want to step lightly around the issue. I can understand the embarrassment of the guy who has his change of heart included in the article. But these are not reasons to give in and give up…and accept a law that does not serve our profession or the consumer.

As for the representative who told us “how it is”…this is his last term. He is gone on election day. We oppose him, today, because of his announced change of heart…but more than this, we oppose the system that he told us about. We oppose it…that is…unless we can come up with the millions of dollars that those who are paying to pass this legislation have to back them up.

HB 1714 is still just as bad as it ever was and we need to continue to fight it on every front and by every means available to us.

On a side note, this Representative is an electrician in his civilian capacity. He argued to us that “Anyone can hang a sign and call himself a building inspector.” I jumped in and told him that, in Barry County where I live, anyone can hang a sign and call himself an electrician. He started to argue…and stopped in mid-sentence. Outside of Missouri’s big cities…there is no licensing of builders or contractors which is a fact that seemed to escape him at that moment, until I reminded him.

There are some of my fellow inspectors who are fighting this legislation with one hand behind their backs…just in case we start to lose…so they can quickly recover and use the legislators siding with the MAR to get a school approved or some other favors. I am not one of them and I am not interested in cutting side deals for myself in the middle of this battle. I know it pisses a few guys off. So be it.

You know damn well it was no change of heart, I had assurances from you and the reporter that if names was going to be named, my name would be left out. Now that is lying no matter how you spin it. You bottom feeding BASTARD.

Good job Jim. Licensing solves nothing!!

Thanks, Linus.

That’s a pretty catchy line. Mind if I use it?:wink:

Jim -

NOT TO BE RUDE, but to call a spade a spade - Theres a half dozen to a dozen people in Missouri that have been instrumental in fighting off the UN-NEEDED and UN-NWANTED licensing over the past 8 years since it was 1st introduced in 2002. Their fight included literally hundreds of man hours driving to the state capitol - meeting with legislators, talking to other groups that helped us in our fight, writing to the entire legislature, holding at least 7-8 meetings for the state inspectors to keep them informed of what was going on and invoke their support in letter writing or phone calling campaigns, and writing or talking to the media when applicable.

Allow me throw out just a few of the inspectors names that have generously donated their time and energy to this battle:

Mark Adams of Joplin Missouri; Stacey Van Houtan of Liberty Missouri; David Moriconi of Blue Springs Missouri, Todd Kirkpatrick of Springfield Missouri, Mike Ptitchett of Lees Summit Missouri, Pat Carter of Kansas City Missouri, Buck Hartley of Shawnee Kansas, John Kurtz of Independence Missouri, myself (Dan Bowers of Kansas City), Mike Greenwalt of Kansas.

There are others like James Braun in Jefferson City, etc but the above guys have all been at the forefront AND none of US have fought with 1 hand tied behind our backs.

We sure didn’t do this by insulting or demeaning those that have helped us like Curt Dougherty. Because when you do that to somebody you cut off the help that they’ve given us in the past - PISS them off and they think we’re all a bunch of back-stabbing pricks. The ONLY thing you really accomplished is getting your name in print and pissing off a few more more people.

Do I need to remind you that the reason we were crammed into his office this year was because he had announced that he was going to support the MAR’s bill this year?

And your own representative who you did a home inspection for — who also was on the record in the past as opposing these laws as being without a demonstrated need — was also suddenly opposing you and telling you that he was supporting this bill, this year?

I have no allegiance to a representative for what he did for me LAST YEAR…when he tells me THIS YEAR…that I don’t have enough money for his support.

If you do, that is your business.

If there are any “back stabbing pricks” in the picture, it is the representative that you are portraying to be the victim. Remember, he left us…we didn’t leave him.

As for all of the people that you mentioned, and for many others who you did not name throughout the state who have been working to fight the annual attempts of the real estate lobby from imposing restrictions on how we inspect and report, we have all worked hard in our varied ways of keeping the wolves at bay. Somehow, as you and I and seven others discovered on January 14, the legislators who have been working with us are now working for the other team. The only explanation we received came from Dougherty…and it had to do with money.

So…what do we know? We know that what worked every year in Kansas…this year…failed. Sticking to that Kansas plan in Missouri is just plain stupid. We know that the MAR has bought our supporters right out from under us, according to what we were told…and we were all there when he said it. What is suddenly so wrong with letting others read what we heard? If we are going to win, it will not be by protecting the wolf who told us he was going to eat us. We need public support.

Jim, This is nothing but a cheap shot to get your name in print. This is not the way to get things done. You have lost the war!!

I’ve had my “name in print” on a pretty regular basis, Buck.

I’ll not publish the reasons you gave me for not wanting to talk with the reporter…but you know as well as I do, it had nothing to do with “honor”. Right?

As far as a “cheap shot”, I am not aware of what you are referring to.

Kansas lost the war, Buck…

We’re not dropping our knickers and bending over in Missouri. Sorry that this bothers you.

It’s very easy for you to sit here, after the fact, and be critical…but you were given the opportunity to speak to the reporter, yourself, and declined. You could have defended Representative Dougherty from the “cheap shot”, but you didn’t. You took no position at all, Buck. That’s the kind of “do nothing” activity that brought Jeff Barnes into power in Kansas. Don’t tell me about “losing a war”, pal.

You were there, Buck. Did the reporter tell the truth?

I have no political ambitions. Putting my “name in print” in a battle against the MAR probably costs me more business than makes it for me.

I’m fighting another attempt by a special interest to interfere with the way I do home inspections. That’s all.

You are totally wrong in the way you have handled this!!! I told you this when you wanted me to speak with your reporter. You do not try to destory people, too make yourself look GOOD!

I recall our conversation differently. Since you opened it up for discussion, I’ll elaborate enough to say that you declined because of what you described as your personal involvement in your local politics and the harm it may cause you, locally. Then you mentioned “back room dealings” and things of that nature.

I have no knowledge of anything in our discussion about “destroying people” for you were simply asked if you wanted to talk to a reporter about our meeting with Dougherty. You apologized for not being able to help and wished us “good luck”.

As for your implication of my personal gain, there is nothing in the article that I believe makes me look “good”. In my opinion, it presents me as a naive fool believing in Santa.

95% of what I provided for the article had to do with the Missouri Assoc of Realtors…which were never named…and their infrastructure…and their continued attempts to control how we conduct a home inspection and write a report. None of that appeared in the article…but everything that did appear is exactly as it happened.

If it were written the way I preferred, it would have painted a picture of a corrupt and powerful lobby group attempting to use its political influence to interfere with unbiased inspection reports to increase the number of home sales to the public…at their expense. But as Steve Kraske pointed out in his article…if there was a state legislature that put the interests of the “regular guy” and the “consumer” first, these groups like the MAR would have less power and control over the process.

Dougherty told us…the “regular guys”…to forget it. Without a lobbyist, we were up against big money. He even named a price…“There are nine of you? For a thousand dollars a piece you can buy yourself a lobbyist to come here and oppose this bill. People will listen to a lobbyist,” he continued, “but not a handful of unhappy home inspectors.”

Kraske is there every day and knows every one of these guys better than we do. His article was truthful and he was careful to validate the information with a variety of sources. Nobody “destroyed” anybody.

Well, I sure in the hell got lied to.