"When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck
and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck."
--James Whitcomb Riley, Poet
To use political power to manipulate enforcement and deliberately skew justice by maliciously destroying a good person's livelihood and reputation is criminal. The actions taken by local and federal officials against Paul Vernier at Community Counseling Treatment Services Center in Ironton, Ohio, as well as at two facilities in Portsmouth and at the owner's home seem to reveal some "dirty ducks" bent on destroying Mr. Vernier.
Reports months ago about the raids said the officials were looking for evidence in drug trafficking and money laundering cases they claim had been in the works for more than a year. Yet, to date, no formal charges have been made although the searches tore apart all premises in the process of their investigation while all but shutting down the businesses. Such lack of legal action seems unprecedented. It certainly leaves questions in the minds of many.
Meanwhile, many people remain convinced that Vernier had operated a legal, extremely beneficial business that greatly aided the drug counseling communities in the Tri-state. Given the climate of competitive services and the need for treatment with Suboxone, these supporters are convinced politics, not drug trafficking, was the real reason for the raids.
I hear from many people that Mr. Vernier was targeted out of suspicion for his own generosity and overwhelming concern for his clients. Sources say he was meticulous in dotting every "i" and crossing every "t" in his operations to insure compliance with the law. Perhaps certain connections were used to instigate investigations aimed at ruining his legitimate treatment centers in order to benefit their own interests.
The damage to Paul Vernier, his businesses, and his family is so regrettable because of the accusatory effects. No innocent individual who dedicates his life to saving others should suffer such a fate at the hands of those who merely "suspect" wrongdoing. This is a man who turned his own life around, completed several college degrees, and then accepted the noble responsibility of using his experience and education to impact positively the culture of addiction.
Back to the idiom of the duck -- I see lots of "walking, swimming, and quacking" that suggests a frame job was spitefully enacted. Scioto County is a place where collusion often displaces justice. I believe this is evident to many of us who live here. If one follows the money and influence trails, he or she will find some ugly truths that support the existence of political corruption.
If these raids and intrusions into the life of Paul Vernier bring to light some real criminals in our area, then the unfortunate sacrifices of Mr. Vernier may benefit us all. At this point, I must admit all the "smoke" about Vernier's illegality has produced no "fire," but it has flushed out some fowls who seem to be crying "Foul!" without proper provocation.
I wonder if anyone has solid proof of what looks like the actions of dirty ducks that have been committed by those with true, filthy Anatidae D.N.A.? Perhaps we should require those in authority to heal their own ranks and call out these crooked, political cohorts with self-serving agendas.
You may fairly ask me why I should speculate about such a matter entrusted to several authoritative agencies. I have good reason to believe that even when conducting the raids, some of the officers participating in the proceedings believed that undue processes were being used and that Vernier had committed no crimes.
"Quack! Quack! Quack!" As long as the commotion goes unwarranted, I will believe I have witnessed some ducks, some dirty ones with ulterior motives.