Contribute
CONNECT:

research

Meet Ed FitzGerald: Ohio's “Amateur Hour” Candidate

- May 7, 2014

Democrat Candidate For Ohio Governor Ed FitzGerald Is Not An “A” List Candidate And Was “Was Definitely Farther Down The List Of Potential Recruits The Party Was Looking At.” “Democrats struggled to find what they thought would be an ‘A’ list challenger. Not saying Fitzgerald can’t win, but he was definitely farther down the list of potential recruits the party was looking at.” (Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann, NBC News’ First Read, 5/6/14)

Political Handicapper Larry Sabato Said FitzGerald’s Selection Of Former Running Mate Eric Kearney Gave Voters The “Impression Of Incompetence” And “Not Being Ready For Prime Time.” “‘It’s been amateur hour,’ Sabato said. ‘It’s rare to beat an incumbent in Ohio, and to beat an incumbent you almost have to do everything right. What FitzGerald has done here gives the early impression of incompetence, of not being ready for prime time.’” (Joe Vardon, “FitzGerald’s Path To Governor’s Office Looks Rocky Now, Experts Say,” The Columbus Dispatch, 12/12/13)

  • Sabato: “It’s Been Amateur Hour.” (Joe Vardon, “FitzGerald’s Path To Governor’s Office Looks Rocky Now, Experts Say,” The Columbus Dispatch, 12/12/13)

OHIOANS CAN’T TRUST FITZGERALD TO BE TRANSPARENT

Despite Campaigning In The Past On The Promise Of Transparency, FitzGerald’s Record Has Been Called Into Question By The Media And Fellow Democrats

2011 Cleveland Plain Dealer Headline:  “Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald Promised To Promote Transparency.” (Robert Higgs, “Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald Promised To Promote Transparency, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7/22/11)

But Just Last Week, “The County Executive And Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate, In A Move That Marks A Departure From Longtime Precedent, Refused Last Week To Release Keycard Records That Document His Comings And Goings From County Premises, Citing Unspecified Security Threats And Opening The Door For His Critics.” (Andrew Tobias, “Ed Fitzgerald Muddies His Transparency Message By Keeping Keycard Records Secret,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/6/14)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Cuyahoga County Executive Ed ‘Ethics’ FitzGerald Trumpets Transparency And Accountability. Except When It Pertains To Certain Public Records.” (Editorial, “Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald Must Release Public Key-Card Data,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/4/14)

  • FitzGerald’s Denial Of A Public Records Request “Is Unconscionable.” “His denial last week of a Northeast Ohio Media Group public records request filed in February is unconscionable. The request sought information on when FitzGerald enters and leaves county premises that would help quantify how much time he spends on the job taxpayers elected him to do.” (Editorial, “Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald Must Release Public Key-Card Data,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/4/14)
     
  • FitzGerald’s Justification Of Denying The Request Was “Weak-Kneed” And “Does Not Withstand Scrutiny.” “The county has supplied similar information on other county employees. It's clearly a matter of public record. The weak-kneed justification from FitzGerald's office for denying the request -- security concerns -- does not withstand scrutiny.” (Editorial, “Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald Must Release Public Key-Card Data,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/4/14)
     
  • FitzGerald’s Credibility Is “Going South.” “By not turning over these public records, the giant sucking sound you hear is FitzGerald's credibility going south.” (Editorial, “Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald Must Release Public Key-Card Data,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/4/14)

Bob Reid, Former Democrat Sheriff Of Cuyahoga Count: “[It] Sounds Like [FitzGerald] Has Something To Hide.” “As Cuyahoga County executive, Bob Reid says he would release the keycard swipe records that current County Executive Ed FitzGerald has decided to keep secret. Reid, a former sheriff and candidate for Cuyahoga County executive in the May 6 Democratic primary, said on Thursday that records tracking the comings and goings of elected officials in county offices would be made available ‘at all times’ if he were elected. ‘[It] sounds like [FitzGerald] has something to hide,’ Reid said in an email.” (Andrew J. Tobias, “Former Sheriff Bob Reid: Does Ed FitzGerald Have Something To Hide?” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/1/14)

Former Democrat Mayor Thomas O’Grady: “These Records Should Be Available To The Public.”  “Former North Olmsted Mayor Thomas O’Grady, a Democrat, said FitzGerald should release the keycard records. In an email, O’Grady said: ‘Open government is good government. These records should be available to the public, and they would be in my administration.’” (Andrew J. Tobias, “Former Sheriff Bob Reid: Does Ed FitzGerald Have Something To Hide?” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/1/14)

OHIOANS CAN’T TRUST FITZGERALD TO BE A STEWARD OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS

FitzGerald Has Consistently Mismanaged Cuyahoga County’s Operations, Leading Citizens To Question Their Local Government’s Integrity

Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial Headline: “Cuyahoga County Fumbled Property Tax Mailings Last Year.” (Editorial, “Cuyahoga County Fumbled Property Tax Mailings Last Year,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/22/14)

Under FitzGerald’s Stewardship, “One-Third Of Cuyahoga County’s Property Tax Bills For 2013 Weren’t Mailed Until Dec. 30.” “Roughly one-third of Cuyahoga County’s property tax bills for 2013 weren’t mailed until Dec. 30, making it harder for taxpayers to pay their obligations by the end of the year so as to claim them as deductions on their 2013 tax forms.” (Editorial, “Cuyahoga County Fumbled Property Tax Mailings Last Year,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/22/14)

  • Over 100,000 Cuyahoga County Residents Missed Deductions On Their 2013 Income Taxes Due To The County’s Lack Of Oversight. “Cuyahoga County is blaming a vendor for failing to mail more than 108,000 property tax bills in time for residents who wished to pay before the end of the year and deduct the payments on their 2013 income taxes.” (Andrew J. Tobias, “108,000 Property Tax Bills Sent Late Vendor Blamed As Deductions Missed,”Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/10/14)

Cuyahoga County Resident Dave Maschak: “I Feel Like The County Left Me To Hang Out To Dry. … ” “I feel like the county left me to hang out to dry because, if I was relying solely on them, I wouldn’t have been able to pay it in time.” (Andrew J. Tobias, “108,000 Property Tax Bills Sent Late Vendor Blamed As Deductions Missed,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/10/14)

Cuyahoga County Resident Kimberly Yuhas: “It Just Doesn’t Seem Right.” “It just doesn’t seem right that we didn’t get our bill until after 6 p.m. on the 31st of December.” (Andrew J. Tobias, “108,000 Property Tax Bills Sent Late Vendor Blamed As Deductions Missed,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/10/14)

Cost Overruns At Cuyahoga County’s Government Building

The Completion Of The Interior Of Cuyahoga’s County Government Building Increased By 56 Percent, Costing Taxpayers An Additional $25 Million. “Completing the interior of a new headquarters for Cuyahoga County government is expected to cost taxpayers $25 million, a 56 percent increase from what County Council members said they were told in January.” (Karen Farkas, “Cuyahoga County Council Questions Latest Cost Estimates For Interior Work On New County Headquarters,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/13/13)

  • The Project Was Initially Set To Cost Cuyahoga County $16 Million. “Greenspan said he recalled a meeting in January when council was told the county's cost for finishing the space and the furniture was about $16 million, or $75 a square foot. … A video of the Jan. 15 meeting confirms that a county consultant told the council that two estimates put the finishing costs at $75 per square foot, leaving the county to pick up $25 per square foot, or a total of about $5.6 million.” (Karen Farkas, “Cuyahoga County Council Questions Latest Cost Estimates For Interior Work On New County Headquarters,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/13/13)

FitzGerald Cost Cuyahoga County Taxpayers Over A Million Dollars To Modernize The County Jail’s Kitchen

In 2011, Acting On The Advice Of FitzGerald, County Officials Declined To Approve A $5.5 Million Contract To Modernize The County Jail’s Kitchen. “For three years, Cuyahoga County has planned to replace the leaking, outdated kitchen at the county jail with a modern facility that would allow inmates to learn cooking skills. On Tuesday, the project got pushed back again. The County Council took no action on a resolution for a $5.5 million contract with Cleveland-based Infinity Construction Co. to do the entire project because county Executive Ed FitzGerald thinks the work can be done for less.” (Harlan Spector and Laura Johnston, “Cuyahoga County Holds Off On Jail Kitchen Project,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/13/11)

Over A Year Later, FitzGerald Was Unable To Explain Why Additional Bids Came In Higher Than The $5.5 Million Contract. “Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald’s administration has given conflicting explanations for why the latest bids for a jail kitchen far exceed bids FitzGerald rejected last year as too expensive.” (Laura Johnston, “The Kitchen At The Cuyahoga County Jail At The Justice Center In Cleveland,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/9/12)

  • FitzGerald Attributed The Higher Bids To Inflation, But When Pressed On His Explanation, “Administrators Said Fitzgerald Was In Error.” “Fitzgerald stated in a memo last month that the $900,000 spike reflected inflation and an expansion of kitchen plans by 2,500 square feet. Then, after the Plain Dealer sought records to document the expansion, administrators said Fitzgerald was in error.” (Laura Johnston, “The Kitchen At The Cuyahoga County Jail At The Justice Center In Cleveland,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/9/12)
     
  • A Lowellville, OH Contractor Called The Controversy “Troubling” And Noted That He Is No Longer Interested In Bidding For County Work After Seeing How The County Operates. “But Greg Haren, a Lowellville contractor and one of the bidders in 2011, recalled the project as being 53,000 square feet. Haren said the most recent controversy is troubling. ‘they do things the way they want to around here,’ said Haren. ‘When we see how Cuyahoga county operates, we’re not interested in bidding any of their work anymore.’” (Laura Johnston, “The Kitchen At The Cuyahoga County Jail At The Justice Center In Cleveland,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/9/12)

The Eventual Cost To Taxpayers Was $1.43 Million More Than The $5.5 Million Bid That Officials Rejected. “County council approved the extra spending earlier this week, bringing the project’s overall construction cost to $6.93 million. That’s compared to the $5.5 million bid that officials rejected as too expensive in 2010.” (Andrew Tobias, “Cost Of Jail Project Rises $493, 000,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/17/14)

AND FITZGERALD’S FIRST LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR PICK WAS A DISASTER

Just Two Days After FitzGerald Announced Ohio Democratic Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney As His Running Mate, It Was Revealed That Kearney Had Been Slapped With A $73,559 Tax Lien In 2010. “Just 48 hours after FitzGerald unveiled his new running mate, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Kearney had received a tax lien for $73,559 in 2010. At the same time, his wife and business partner owed more than $144,000. Kearney blamed financial problems at the company the couple owned, which publishes several small newspapers, and on a former executive, since deceased.” (Reid Wilson, “Worst Rollout Of The Year? Ohio Candidate Owes $1 Million In Back Taxes,” The Washington Post, 11/4/13)

  • “Kearney Led Reporters To Believe That Was All He Owed, And That The Couple Was Paying The Taxes Off In $1,000 Increments Every Month.” (Reid Wilson, “Worst Rollout Of The Year? Ohio Candidate Owes $1 Million In Back Taxes,” The Washington Post, 11/4/13)

A Few Days After Kearney Told Reporters That The 2010 Tax Lien Was All He Owed, Nearly $1 Million In Additional State And Federal Tax Liens Surfaced. “But a few days later, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported (Update: The Columbus Dispatch broke this part of the story. Sorry, Joe Vardon) more tax bills: The Kearneys’ company owed $683,000 in federal taxes, $105,000 in state taxes dating as far back as 1996, and the couple had personal tax liens adding up to $218,000, of which they still owed $84,000.” (Reid Wilson, “Worst Rollout Of The Year? Ohio Candidate Owes $1 Million In Back Taxes,” The Washington Post, 11/4/13)

The Day After Kearney’s Additional Tax Debts Were Reported, A Lawsuit Against Kearney For $13,000 In Unpaid Credit Card Debt Was Uncovered. “The following day, court records unearthed by the Enquirer showed Kearney had agreed to repay $13,000 in outstanding credit card debt.” (Reid Wilson, “Worst Rollout Of The Year? Ohio Candidate Owes $1 Million In Back Taxes,” The Washington Post, 11/4/13)

It Was Clear That The Fitzgerald Campaign Did Not Properly Vet Kearney

FitzGerald’s Campaign Claimed That They Knew About Kearney’s Massive Tax Debts And Insisted That He Had Been “Fully Vetted.” “Aides to Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive and gubernatorial hopeful who chose Kearney last week as his running mate, also have not been able to provide complete details. But they say Kearney was fully vetted and that FitzGerald was aware of all the financial problems, including the credit card suit, before offering him the No. 2 spot." (Henry J. Gomez, "More Money Problems For Eric Kearney, Ed Fitzgerald's Candidate For Lieutenant Governor," Northeast Ohio Media Group, 11/27/13)

  • “A Spokesman Had To Admit The Campaign Couldn’t Say What Portion Of The Back Taxes Had Been Paid; The Campaign Had To Ask The IRS For Documentation.” (Reid Wilson, “Worst Rollout Of The Year? Ohio Candidate Owes $1 Million In Back Taxes,” The Washington Post, 11/4/13)

“What Could Have Been A One-Day Story Raged On Because Kearney And Team Fitzgerald Were Not Forthcoming About His Debts. And When Reporters From Across Ohio Kept Asking Simple Questions About How Much Kearney Owes In Unpaid Taxes, The Campaign Not Only Had Incomplete Answers, It Had To Seek Additional Documentation From Outside Sources.” (Henry J. Gomez, “Messy Running Mate Rollout Tests Ed Fitzgerald's Political Mettle In Race For Ohio Governor: Analysis,” Northeast Ohio Media Group, 12/3/13)

  • “That Raised Another Question: Why Didn't Fitzgerald Have That Information Already?” (Henry J. Gomez, “Messy Running Mate Rollout Tests Ed Fitzgerald's Political Mettle In Race For Ohio Governor: Analysis,” Northeast Ohio Media Group, 12/3/13)

Previous post

Reliving Hillary’s History: When Clinton Fundraisers Found Themselves In Court

Next post

Keystone Conundrum For 2014ers
Republican National Committee

Connect With Us

Republican National Committee
Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
News & Videos
  • 310 First Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
  • 202-863-8500

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply 80810-info.com.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee. www.gop.com

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply 80810-info.com.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee.
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee. www.gop.com