By Corinne Murdock |
More questions of Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg’s involvement in a secret dossier of parents and other political opposition created by his father, Mark Greenburg, have arisen due to a documented history of him sharing a computer with his family members. Jann-Michael has denied any knowledge of or connection with the dossier. However, there are two instances in the past where his shared computer activity became evident.
In an August school board meeting, Jann-Michael admitted that his brother, also named Mark, was the one who set up his Microsoft Word account. He didn’t explain further why his brother’s profile and name continued to be on his computer.
“[M]y brother originally set up my Microsoft Word – my brother’s name is Mark Greenburg that is why it says Mark Greenburg as opposed to my name Jann-Michael Greenburg,” stated Jann-Michael.
Nearly 50 parents and political opponents were targeted in the dossier, which reads like opposition research (“oppo research” for short) – a practice of gathering intelligence on political opponents. Folders were either given the names of their subjects, themes of where they fell in his mind (such as “crazy” or “faith-based”), or musings of what kinds of action the creator could take with their contents: for example, “false and defamatory” follows after the names of some parents.
This wouldn’t be Mark’s first foray into conducting oppo research and attacks against Jann-Michael’s political enemies. According to AZ Central, Mark created a parody website and Twitter account in 2018 for previous SUSD Governing Board President Barbara Perleberg. At the time, Jann-Michael was running to join the board; Perleberg wasn’t a candidate. Jann-Michael defended the website, and criticized Perleberg for initially pursuing a defamation lawsuit against his father.
That would count as the second instance of shared computer activity. According to a court subpoena, Mark’s computer was also used to purchase the website for Jann-Michael’s campaign. Yet, Mark denied both purchasing the website for and being involved in his son’s campaign.
That parody website is still active, though the Twitter account was deleted. In fact, it appears that Mark (or another individual granted access to the site) continued to post on the blog after Jann-Michael’s election; the latest post was published August 2020.
YIKES: Here's the father of Scottsdale Unified school board president Jann-Michael Greenburg, secretly taking bodycam footage of parents on school property and saying he hired a "private investigator who is writing down all their [license] plates." pic.twitter.com/CXt5dJDtKg— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) November 11, 2021
Mark’s latest creation, the dossier, went into great detail. Beyond collections of political Facebook posts, Mark collected records of nursing licenses, divorces, mortgages, family trees, bankruptcies, civil and criminal charges, and a slew of other personal information. It appears that Mark went so far as to file a complaint against one nurse for opposing masks, according to a screenshot. He also included pictures and videos of the children of his perceived political opposition. Mark made sure to note in one file name that the wife of one of his political opponents had an elementary school student. The associated picture was from a social media post highlighting the child’s disability.
Parents and children weren’t the only targets: acclaimed black conservative radio host James T. Harris appeared in the dossier. Harris’s picture with children outside a school board meeting was included, as well as a video he’d posted. Harris addressed his inclusion in a video on Wednesday, likening the dossier to another incident recently uncovered in Chandler where Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) board members coordinated with police to address parents against masks.
“Today on my radio show I found out how deep this thing goes,” said Harris. “Why do these school board members feel the necessity to get information on tax-paying citizens. All we want to do is make sure that our kids are being taught, […] that our kids aren’t being indoctrinated.”
One of the mothers targeted, Amy Carney, called for Jann-Michael’s resignation. A mother of six, Carney is also running for a seat on SUSD’s governing board in 2022.
“I am calling for the immediate resignation of our board president Jann-Michael Greenburg,” asserted Carney. “We cannot allow anyone in a leadership position to secretly compile personal documents and information on moms and dads who have dared speak out publicly or on social media about their grievances with the district.”
Another mother, Heather Rooks, was in complete shock upon discovering the dossier.
“Calls into question: who the real domestic terrorists are here?” said Rooks. “I didn’t know anything about this until late last night. Me and my husband looked it over. It was pretty shocking to see that much information on a file about multiple parents… I wouldn’t even know where to begin because I’m still processing it. I get it, with people who are running for school boards now, but this is completely different. This is parents and their kids, background information, very personal stuff that is all shared on the file. What was he planning on doing with it? What purpose does this serve, to go after parents who are concerned for their kids?”
After the Greenburgs were confronted about the dossier, reports show that someone changed accessibility from public to private. SUSD confirmed in an email to parents on Wednesday that Mark was behind the dossier. They also assured parents that their privacy would be protected.
The dossier does have one other direct tie to Jann-Michael: a PDF download of an email sent to Jann-Michael’s SUSD email account through Outlook, a web app often used by professionals and organizations for email and file storage. The PDF download identified Jann-Michael as the original source – all of the emails and links are clickable, which occurs when an email is downloaded as a PDF from Outlook. The bottom of the PDF also shows the source as this link, https://mail.susd.org/owa/#path=/mail/inbox, which is an SUSD professional email account.
Legal experts say that the dossier may be a violation of Arizona’s Parents Bill of Rights. In a statement, lawyer Alexander Kolodin explained that even Jann-Michael’s tacit consent of certain personal items in the dossier such as those obtained through Mark’s bodycam video would pose a violation.
“These allegations are deeply troubling, especially as concerns the photography of a minor child without parental consent and the taking down of license plate numbers of parents who Mr. Greenberg supposedly perceived as political opponents. Mr. Greenberg is an elected member of the school board. If such a photograph was taken with his express or tacit consent, he would potentially be liable for violations of Arizona’s Parents’ Bill of Rights, which recognizes a parent’s “fundamental” right to consent before the government makes a video or voice recording of the minor child. In addition, it has been reported that Mr. Greenberg’s father undertook these acts while he kept his face hidden under a helmet and was wearing motorcycle gear. Both Arizona and the federal government have laws prohibiting both intimidation generally and voter intimidation in particular such as ARS Titles 13 and 16, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. If these allegations are true, Mr. Greenberg and his father might be liable for violating one or more of these laws – though it is difficult to say from the limited facts that have been reported and they must, of course, be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.“
The dossier also included multiple uncategorized bodycam videos recorded by Mark doing various things: eating in a cafe, riding his motorcycle, and even waiting outside a school board meeting. In one video, Mark adjusted his motorcycle gear with his helmet on.
The incognito Mark then walks into a kitchen, where Jann-Michael is seen eating at a table; he looks up at Mark and says “Hi, Dad.” The conversation that follows sounded like Mark and Jann-Michael were talking about legal strategy about a parent.
“We can file a verified complaint,” said Mark. “In other words, like it would start out with her allegation about Frank Graham saying, ‘Of course this isn’t true.’ She messaged Frank Graham.”
“Why not just go solely on the complaint that she filed?” asked Jann-Michael.
“That’s in her letter,” said Mark. “Way before that are her statements about how she’s, like, doing anything she can do to, like, ruin you.”
Jann-Michael received a law degree from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He passed the New York Bar upon returning to the U.S., and assumed a position as Director of Legal Services at an international music licensing firm based in Arizona: Tresona, the company his father chairs.
In one screen recording of a parent advocacy Facebook group, Mark and Jann-Michael were recorded discussing what Mark was doing. Mark explained that he was recording Facebook parent commentary on Jann-Michael’s critics and political opponents.
“I’m making a movie, a screen movie for you,” explained Mark.
Jann-Michael doesn’t question why. That’s consistent with his other responses to Mark’s actions against political opponents. Jann-Michael hasn’t questioned why his father would create the dossier. He’s only categorically denied his involvement.