by Bob Fitrakis
We all know that the Wolfe Family Newsletter, aka The Columbus Dispatch, has other relatives in the industry. There’s the staid uncle who secretly reads Hustler, who publishes The Ohio Magazine, the bastard stepchildren who put out This Week, and the flashy niece who flaunts herself over at Today’s Columbus Woman.
So, when you see Farah Majidzadeh’s splashy cover photo on July’s Today’s Columbus Woman, you can bet that she’s a Wolfe Family fave and politically connected. Her air-brushed, spin-doctored puff piece sent more than one investigative reporter running to their “deep throat” sources and their “top-secret” data banks. The Wolfe spin portrays Ms. Majidzadeh as one of Columbus’ leading female entrepreneurs, the head of Resource International, Inc., a Columbus-based engineering and construction-testing firm. Lest we suspect that Farah could be a female Tommy Banks-you know, one of those ersatz affirmative action front owners-Today’s Columbus Woman points out that Farah owns 67 percent of the business, while her husband Kamran owns the remaining 33 percent.
What the article doesn’t mention is that Resource International is a leading pay-to-play firm in Ohio politics. Between 1990 and 1994, the Majidzadeh family and in-laws gave at least $8,250 to Governor George V. Voinovich’s campaign coffers. Like Banks, the Majidzadeh bunch have gotten more than their share of state contracts, and not just in the construction field.
Recall that the Dispatch’s best investigative reporter, Bob Ruth, was hot on the trail of Farah’s daughter, Marcia, two years ago, when the Big D powers that be muzzled him. Marcia Majidzadeh and her husband owned Nationwide Equipment Enterprises. Ring a bell? The company that allegedly bilked a program to aid the blind out of some $253,900. In March 1993, Nationwide Equipment received a six-month contract from the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission to operate vending machines at rest stops. Thirty-seven-and-a-half percent of the gross receipts were to go to the state of Ohio to be used to help blind people establish their own food and beverage businesses at state rest stops. Ruth broke the story on July 24, 1994 that state records showed that Nationwide Equipment owed $120,395 in underreported receipts, had bounced $104,588 worth of checks, and had failed to pay the state $28,917 for cleaning bills at the 13 rest stops. On July 30, Ruth reported that the company had failed to “post a performance bond” even though their state contract called for it. And at the same time the state canceled her contract, in her zeal to serve the disabled, Marcia changed the name of her company to Consult-Systems, Inc. and signed a false name on another state Rehabilitation Services Commission contract bid application. Now she was the more waspy-sounding “Marsha May.”
But, Marcia had a pretty good explanation. You see, “people often had trouble pronouncing and spelling her real name,” particularly when they’ve been reading it in the paper in relationship to someone allegedly stealing from the blind. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Things got so bad that the Department of Aging canceled a contract that she and her husband were scheduled to sign to cater meals to senior citizens at the Ohio State Fair. Let’s see, the blind…the elderly…no doubt handicapped children breathed a sigh of relief after that.
Here’s the story of a lovely lady, who was building up a business of her own. And then one day when that lady met the governor, she knew that it was much more than a hunch. That if she gave him a lot of money, he could probably help her business out a bunch. Damage control time. Farah and Kamran pulled a George Voinovich and wept openly about their bum son-in-law, Ali Sharifrazi (aka Ali S. Razi), who deceived their daughter and allegedly forged her name. Actual quote: “Majidzadeh’s parents fought back tears as they described their surprise…” They were “shocked,” shocked, I say! The distraught parents failed to explain how their poor, duped, 30-year-old daughter who had nothing to do with any wrongdoing, not only submitted a bid in the name of Marsha May, but showed up for a “coin-toss ceremony” at the Ohio Division of Purchasing. The coin toss broke a tie between “Marsha May” and another bidder over the state contract.
Poor Marcia; she emerged a double loser. Not only did she lose the toss, but state officials realized that Marsha May was a fraud. Now, we know who Marsha May really is and we know her game. The question remains, who is Farah Majidzadeh and what is her financial relationship, if any, with the disgraced former Chief of Staff Paul Mifsud? Let’s toss a coin: heads-it’s contract steering, tails-it’s just another one of those funny Voinovich coincidences.