Denise Hubbard’s “Qualifications”


“The evidence before the court is incontrovertible

There’s no need for the jury to retire

In all my years of judging I have never heard before

Of someone more deserving of the full penalty of law…

But since, my friend, you have revealed your deepest fear –

I sentence you to be exposed before your peers”

-Roger Waters


    Among the hundreds of pages we received from the ODJFS files we requested on BBAS initial application and recertification paperwork from 1997-2000 was one very, very interesting document.

   The state requires that anyone who serves as an adoption agency director file proof of their qualifications with ODJFS. Since the only one required is a clean criminal record and college degree (and the implied high school diploma), that’s usually not too difficult.

   Most agencies, we suspect, simply pass along a copy of the director’s employment application. BBAS did for Kimberly Piccolo, director at its inception.

   When her husband got a job in another part of the country, she had to leave. The alert reader will recall that Denise was installed as “acting director,” the job she dearly wanted to have but couldn’t due to her lack of higher education (Of course, she’s effectively been BBAS’s director ever since, no matter who was allegedly in charge).

   She thus had to fill out an employment application to herself for formality’s sake.

   When we got it, that gave us a chance to peek at her employment background and credentials for running an agency and making some of the statements she had made about children to prospective parents.

   And then attempt to verify it.

   We had the information we needed, right there on that one piece of paper, to call up her previous employers and educational institutions and verify them as if she were applying for a job with us (Oh, as if! As if!)

   She had included her Medina Senior High School Diploma to prove that she had indeed graduated in 1983. But even that included one significant tidbit.

   It gave her maiden name: Denise Lynn Harding.

   Yup ... Harding. As in Sandi Harding, BBAS’s longtime office manager ... her own mother?

   And as in “Owen and Sandi Harding,” the purported BBAS clients who claimed to be going to Russia for another one after their first adoption, yet have never bothered to list as BBAS clients on any registry despite their sheer ecstasy with adoption in general and Building Blocks in particular?

    Continuing on to college, Denise claimed to have completed far more college credits than she actually did. Listed are three semesters at Cuyahoga Community College in “Nursing”: September 1983 – June 1985.  No degree earned.

    CCC, when we reached their records department, confirmed that she had attended for three semesters but could not give out which ones or confirm what degree program, if any, she was enrolled in.

   From there, she seemed to have moved a little closer to home, claiming to have spent her next two years at the University of Akron majoring in “Secretarial Science.”

   This is an exaggeration. When we called Akron the week of April 15, 2002, they told us that Denise attended one semester at the University of Akron in the field of Office Management. Part-time, to boot.

    One semester of college does not equal two years of work.

    After the one semester there, Denise officially entered the working world.

   Under “Employment Experience”, Denise lists her first job beginning in October 1985 at the Ohio State Highway Patrol as a dispatcher, earning $16.00/hour. Her duties in that position?  “Dispatch control, typing, customer service coordinator.” 

    It was probably in this capacity that she met Gary, a deputy sheriff several years her senior. She claimed “pregnancy” as her reason for leaving the OSHP in July 1991.

    We never were able to contact the OSHP to verify this, since their website gives no telephone contact information, but it wouldn’t surprise us if she fudged this one, too.

    Denise then claims to have re-entered the work force a year later in July 1992. Her next job was as a Unit Coordinator for Medina General Hospital, at the rate of $12.50 an hour. Her job duties are listed: “Coordinating unit, typing, reception, orderly, computer analyst.” 

    The Unit Coordinator job at Medina General Hospital lasted, she claimed, until September 1996.  Her reason for leaving was listed as “child care.”

    This, too, turned out to have been ever-so-slightly amended. Daniel called the hospital and was told that their records showed her both starting and finishing roughly a year earlier than she claimed — from Aug. 23, 1991 to Oct. 5, 1995.

    So she worked the same length of time she claimed, but not when she claimed.

    What reason would she have had for doing this? We can’t figure it out, except maybe to speculate that she was trying to conceal her tenure (which she freely acknowledged in various other contexts, including to ODHS) as an adoption facilitator for Simona Wirtz, something she may not have wanted ODJFS to know about.

    This also puts her reason for leaving the OSHP in a different light, as it now appears she took a mere month or so off from work due to her pregnancy, which seems a little short to us. Was there some other reason?

    The hospital confirmed, however, that she was indeed a unit coordinator, a position they described as being largely clerical in nature.

    So, combined with her brief nursing education, this is probably what she would claim gave her the ability to speak authoritatively about the health problems of children in Eastern European orphanages.

    It might be a bit more than the average person off the street has. Still, it does not make her qualified to review children’s videos and pick out and disregard FAS, FAE, cystic fibrosis, mental retardation, ear infections, head banging, RAD, ADHD, urinary tract infections and central nervous system disorders.

    It most certainly does not qualify her to dismiss, as she has several times, the opinions of pediatricians who have been evaluating videos and medical reports from overseas orphanages for years.

    There was another puzzling discrepancy with what we have learned from other official paperwork filed with her name on it.

    Deliberately omitted from her “Employment Application” was her foray into the world of small business in March 1991 (shortly before she started at the hospital, and while she was still at OSHP, at least if that aspect of her employment history can be trusted) with “Moms Office Cleaning Service” (also run out of her home) whose purpose was, well, office cleaning. It looks like Denise wanted to moonlight.

    Whether anything came of it is not certain, but apparently she was serious enough about it to keep it going and even expand on the offerings. In 1996, she incorporated “Home and Office Inventory Service.

   This would have been around the time that she had begun her association with Simona Wirtz, if indeed she was so associated, and started adopting Emily. Mercifully, “Home and Office Inventory Service” was “Cancelled by Operation of Law” on March 13, 2001 by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office when the five-year term expired, so it seems she never went anywhere with it.

   Yet, Denise never mentioned having begun any sort of business on her own employment application. 

    Why? It certainly would give her more credibility as an agency director, even a temporary one.

    To recap:

Denise’s claims



Three semesters of nursing between 1983 and 1985

Three semesters; dates and degree program not given


Two years study of “Secretarial Science” A single semester in the Office Management program, part-time

Medina General

Unit coordinator 1992-96

Unit coordinator 1991-95

    Neil F. Hassinger, the Medina County sheriff (and thus Gary’s boss), Michelle L. Colon and Melissa Leuchtag submitted reference letters.

    Mrs. Colon’s handwritten letter is intriguing. She appears to have been a neighbor of the Hubbards, her home address that of the Hubbard’s street at the time. Starting with Aug. 21, 1999 Mrs. Colon would be attending various BBAS Board Meetings. 

   We quote Michelle L. Colon’s reference letter in its entirety, highlighting some of Denise’s characteristics that Mrs. Colon relates:

            March 16, 1998

            To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing in regards to the character of Denise L. Hubbard.  This will be a pleasure as well as an easy task because she has so many positive qualities.  I have known Denise for three and a half years.

As a mother, Denise is very warm and loving.  The fact that her children are such fine individuals reflects her attention and involvement in their lives.

As a member of our community, she is invaluable.  Denise is always willing to help others in need.  Because of her outspoken personality, she is a leader for moral and ethical standards in our community.

Finally, as a professional, she is admired by her peers.  Denise is self-motivated and ambitious.  This may be displayed by her abilities to initiate her own businesses.  She is highly organized.  Denise is consistently reliable.  She is always accountable to contribute her talents to various causes!

I have seen Denise in many roles and find her to consistently be conscientious and trustworthy.


Michelle L. Colon

   Oddly enough, under “References” on her application, Denise lists the following three people: Antonio Colon, Police Officer; Melissa Leuchtang, Nurse; Lynn Meyers, Secretary.  

    Was this “Antonio Colon, Police Officer” Michelle’s husband?

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