“That is the state of politics in America today. They want power and control so badly that they are willing to say and do anything to get there. If you don’t have the integrity to just be you and run on what you’ve done, then I don’t want you in Congress. And so that’s how I present myself to you.”
— Rep. Andrew Ogles (R-Tenn.), speaking to supporters while running for election, July 23
Ogles, a newly elected member of Congress, has been the subject of news reports by a Nashville television station for having exaggerated his background. When Ogles was one of the holdouts to approving Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as House speaker, he claimed he was “an economist” — a claim he has made several times — along with other embellishments. But NewsChannel 5 in Nashville found that he had taken only one course in economics, at a community college, and received a C. Ogles first entered college in 1990 and did not get a degree until 2007.
Now The Fact Checker has uncovered more evidence of résumé inflation by Ogles — this time about his business career — that sheds light on a politician who said in his recent congressional campaign that you shouldn’t be in Congress “if you don’t have the integrity to just be you and run on what you’ve done.”
Our reporting shows that Ogles’s résumé enhancement is not a recent development. In a 2009 résumé submitted for a job, he claimed numerous roles with businesses and on boards of organizations that were exaggerated or could not be corroborated. A consulting firm he claimed to run from 2003 to 2010 cannot be found in Tennessee corporate records. Indeed, during his various bids for public office in this period, local newspapers described him as a restaurateur, not a business consultant.
Ogles now tends to skip over this period of his past. His LinkedIn page lists job history starting only in 2011, when he was about 40. In a January C-SPAN interview, when asked what he did before he came to Congress, Ogles said: “I was an entrepreneur young in my career. Fast-forwarding to my midlife crisis, I was in law enforcement and international sex crimes.”
As NewsChannel 5 documented, Ogles was sworn in as a volunteer reserve deputy with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in July 2009 but lost that position two years later for not meeting minimum standards, making no progress in field training and failing to attend required meetings. The “international sex crimes” referred to a part-time position as chief operating officer of an anti-trafficking group, Abolition International, that paid a total of $4,000 in 2011, according to the tax filing of the organization.
We sent a long list of questions to Ogles’s communications director and then to his staff director but did not get a response.
In response to the NewsChannel5 coverage, his staff had said that he had condensed his résumé on the campaign trail and that the reporting was fueled by political bias. In a statement, Ogles acknowledged he had wrongly claimed to have earned a college degree in international relations.
Now let’s look at his entrepreneurial claims, using a 2009 résumé originally posted by NewsChannel5 that covers the period now not listed on Ogles’s LinkedIn bio. (Ogles has not disputed that this is his résumé.)
Ogles lists impressive achievements as an executive at E. Net Media & Consulting of Nashville from 2003 to 2010. (The résumé says he was an executive vice president, but his 2015 LinkedIn profile described him as president and owner.) The résumé states that at E. Net Media he represented “a variety of clients ranging from small start ups to Fortune 500 companies.” We could not corroborate his assertions.
No corporate record exists for E. Net in Tennessee state records, although Ogles has set up other corporate entities, public records show. Tennessee corporate records show two companies with similar names were formed by other people before 2003, but neither was associated with Ogles.
Ogles claimed that while with E. Net Media, he:
- “Developed recruiting and training program to reduce attrition for Merrill Lynch, saving up to $15 million annually.”
- “Evaluated management structure of Merrill Lynch and recommended reducing regional districts from 19 to 12, with projected savings of up to $30 million annually.”
Neither of these statements can be verified. Bill Halldin, a spokesman for Bank of America, which acquired Merrill in 2008, said that Ogles for less than a year worked as a financial adviser for individual investors — a stockbroker — in a Merrill Nashville office from November 2002 to September 2003. (Ogles had lost his first race for Congress in 2002.) Halldin declined to comment on whether Ogles would have performed consulting work for Merrill.
As a stockbroker, Ogles would have needed to acquire Series 7 and Series 66 licenses, which are required by law. On his résumé, Ogles listed having those licenses, but he does not mention having been a stockbroker at Merrill. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has an online record of Ogles holding an “insurance producer” license for one year, from March 25, 2003, to March 24, 2004. Kevin Walters, the communications director for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, said the one-year license was for selling life and accident/health insurance.
The résumé also claims Ogles “secured [a] $10 million tax incentive, for film industry positioned VR Limited, to negotiate $35 to $50 million development package in Tennessee.” But no such deal can be found in a search of Tennessee news clips, let alone a company called VR Limited in the film industry. Bob Raines, the executive director of the Tennessee Entertainment Commission, has been with TEC since 2002 and said he was unfamiliar with any such deal.
Other claims on the résumé, such as guiding a $15 million Korean venture fund, are too vague to verify. Not a word about E. Net appeared in Tennessee newspapers, despite the significant deals that Ogles has claimed the company made.
The Tennessean reported in 2009 that Ogles had started a company with a partner called “Clipazine.com,” described as an online portal for coupons for local restaurants. That business is not mentioned on the résumé. An online mention of Clipazine from 2009 leads to a dead domain name, and Ogles’s partner does not list it on his LinkedIn page. Archived webpages exist only up to 2011.
Ogles’s 2009 résumé says he was vice president of another Nashville company, called Franklin Investment & Holding, from June 1995 to January 2002. The résumé says that the company had “varied investments in retail, restaurant, real estate, hotel, and apartment properties” and that Ogles “increased portfolio share” by 25 percent and achieved continued growth of 18 to 25 percent a year.
But Tennessee corporate records show the firm, formed with Ogles’s brother Justin and a third partner, was in existence only for a fraction of that time. It was created in August 2001 and then dissolved a year later.
Ogles did create a company called Ogles Enterprises Inc. in 1996. This was a short-lived travel agency that was part of Travel Professionals International. The company and Ogles were sued by a landlord in 1997, and the company was cited by a travel arbiter for having “failed to pay for dishonored sales drafts worth $7,123.” It was dissolved by the state the same year.
With his father-in-law co-signing a loan, Ogles bought a doughnut shop in 1997. Then, in 2001, he expanded it to serve three meals a day, with his brother Justin as full partner, according to a June 10, 2001, Tennessean article.
In 2002, before being dissolved, Franklin Investment received a business license to operate the Mason Jar Café in nearby Brentwood, Tenn. In April 2003, during Ogles’s first, unsuccessful run for Congress, the Ogles brothers’ Daylight Donuts was put up for sale, with owner financing offered. That same year, the state issued a tax lien on the business.
The LinkedIn page for Justin Ogles lists him as owner/operator of Daylight Donuts and Café from June 1998 to February 2010. Reached by phone to explain his brother’s role in the company, Justin Ogles demurred. “I’m not in politics or anything,” he said. “It’s best you take it up with my brother.”
The 2009 résumé also says Ogles served on the boards of directors of the YMCA of Franklin from 2005 to 2006, Nurses for Newborns in Tennessee from 2002 to 2007, the City of Franklin from 2004 to 2008, and something called “DDCA” in Franklin from 2006 to the present.
The YMCA in Franklin is a branch — not a distinct legal entity — of the Young Men’s Christian Association of Nashville & Middle Tennessee. The Association’s IRS filings for 2005 and 2006 do not show Ogles as a member of its policy/governing board. “Rep. Ogles wasn’t ever a member of that board,” said Jessica P. Fain, the chief strategy officer of YMCA of Middle Tennessee. She said it’s possible he was on a non-policy advisory committee, with no fiduciary or policy authority, at the local branch. Fain checked with the most tenured Franklin staff member, who arrived in 2007, and confirmed that Ogles was not a volunteer board member at that time.
The city of Franklin has no “board of directors.” The city is governed by a board consisting of an elected mayor and eight elected aldermen (four from city wards and four at-large). Ogles never served in any elective position, and he does not appear on any of the various city advisory committees where citizens serve alongside aldermen, according to archived lists from 2004 to 2008.
Ogles claimed to have served from 2002 to 2007 on the board of Nurses for Newborns — an organization based in Missouri that has a second office in Nashville — but according to IRS filings, Ogles has never served on the board of directors. Matt Robertson, the executive director of the Tennessee office, said Ogles was a member of a nonvoting advisory board for the local office from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006.
As for DDCA, which stands for Dallas Downs Community Association, in Franklin. Ogles’s mother, Beverly, had helped Ogles and his wife buy a house there in 2002; the home was known for its Christmas lighting display. Archived webpages show Ogles was briefly president (and in charge of the pool) toward the end of 2008, but in 2009 his name disappears from the list of board members.
The Pinocchio Test
Ogles’s résumé suggests that he was a savvy business consultant and investor with a number of board memberships. But even as he was supposedly saving Merrill Lynch millions of dollars through his consulting work, he was also briefly a stockbroker there and co-owned a doughnut shop. He also exaggerates or invents his service on various boards.
He earns Four Pinocchios.
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