On June 5, when Scott Esserman held his official kickoff to run for Denver Public Schools Board At-Large, embattled board member Tay Anderson was there. Anderson’s presence at Fuller Park backing Esserman is far from the 2021 candidate’s only tie to Tay, however.
For months, Scott Esserman has been paying Tay Anderson.
According to Esserman’s state campaign finance reports, on Aug. 15 he made a $1,000 payment to Good Trouble Consulting for “social media management.” Yet, Good Trouble Consulting wasn’t established with the Secretary of State until three days after the payment. It was registered by Auontai M. Anderson on Aug. 18.
Esserman, a candidate for at-large DPS board member, has paid Tay Anderson — a sitting at-large DPS board member — $5,000 for social media work since Aug. 15. Campaign finance records thus far show no other clients for GTC. Was the trade name registered so Esserman could pay Anderson in a way that might conceal his role?
You have to wonder what Esserman was thinking. In DPS’s report concerning its independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Anderson, investigators substantiated two instances of intimidation by Anderson toward witnesses during the investigation — on social media. As a DPS employee in April 2018, Anderson was found in violation of district policy concerning retaliation — on social media.
Moreover, the DPS report substantiated allegations that Anderson had inappropriate and “flirtatious” exchanges with underage schoolchildren…on social media! Anderson’s colleagues on the board censured him on Sept. 17 for this “unbecoming” behavior.
Esserman knows all of this, yet he still hired Anderson to manage his social media. Is he looking to gain access to students or seeking an intimidation strategy? What other social media expertise does Anderson have?
Esserman has also paid thousands of dollars to two of Anderson’s closest allies. Based on his campaign filings, it appears Tiffany Caudill and Hashim Coates are co-managing his campaign.
Caudill ran Anderson’s unsuccessful 2017 bid for school board and his successful 2019 campaign. She’s the registered filing agent and campaign manager for his 2023 reelection bid.
Caudill has helped Anderson in other ways. For example, on July 29, 2020, she organized a GoFundMe for Anderson after he claimed he was “pushed” by Denver Police officers at a protest and needed medical attention. They raised $13,036 in total donations from 340 individuals. As of deadline Wednesday, we still don’t know how much went to cover his medical bills or how much was “donated to others who were injured in this event and to the family of #ElijahMcClain.”
Coates has mentored and worked for Anderson as well. As I’ve documented previously, Coates repeatedly defended him on social media and at Anderson’s multiple press conferences after the sexual misconduct allegations were first made public in March. Coates repeatedly and viciously maligned young, teenaged women who spoke out against Anderson. In 2017, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to prohibited use of a weapon after having sex with a prostitute and firing a gun into a car in which the prostitute and three others were seated.
Unless Coates or Caudill have another LLC or DBA that I can’t find, Secretary of State’s Office records indicate they have both been paid for work on only three campaigns in total — and the very same three: Anderson, Esserman, and State Rep. Stephen Woodrow’s 2020 state House campaign.
Esserman has paid Caudill $3,500 since May. He’s paid Coates $11,064.72 since June: three payments of $3,500 and a $564.72 “reimbursement for campaign literature.” Payments to Coates were made to his LLC, The HTC Solutions, which was established in 2019.
In Esserman’s quest to be the newest at-large member of the DPS school board, he has shown himself utterly lacking in basic judgment and good sense. He’s hired Anderson for his campaign’s social media — a serial predator who’s used social media to intimidate witnesses and flirt with teen girls.
Esserman is letting direct allies and confidants of Anderson run his campaign. He’s actively paying unethical people thousands of dollars to work for him. Is Esserman’s goal to serve DPS students — or to serve Anderson while lining their own pockets and bolstering their buddies?
Anderson didn’t even have his business set up when Esserman cut him his first check. Either Esserman failed to do his due diligence to see if Anderson had a legit business before paying him — or he knowingly paid him money for a nonexistent enterprise. Regardless, Anderson accepted payment before his business was established.
Esserman can’t even handle his campaign finances responsibly. If he joins Anderson on the DPS board, the rampant, ceaseless failures of judgment and unethical behavior will only fester. They will inevitably misuse taxpayer money while putting the financial health of the school district in jeopardy.
The teacher’s union also has a lot to answer for. In 2019, the union contributed more than $65,000 to Anderson’s campaign despite knowing there were allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
Now, they’ve done it again, donating more than $50,000 to Esserman. For an organization representing educators, the union is awfully incapable of learning good judgment.
Denver’s school board is thoroughly weak, feckless, and unproductive. They persist in failing students, teachers, and administrators at every turn. The last thing students need is another Tay Anderson.
Jimmy Sengenberger is host of “The Jimmy Sengenberger Show” on News/Talk 710 KNUS. He also hosts “Jimmy at the Crossroads,” a webshow and podcast in partnership with The Washington Examiner.