Friday, November 22, 2013

Eric Kearney, Ed FitzGerald's candidate for lieutenant governor, owes thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes

A publishing company owned by Ed FitzGerald's new running mate in the race for Ohio governor owes the IRS tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes dating back a decade.

Eric Kearney received notice of the federal payroll tax lien in 2010, records reviewed by Northeast Ohio Media Group show. The unpaid balance at the time: $73,559.60.

Around the same time, his wife and business partner, Jan Michele Kearney, received notice of a lien for more than $144,000. And seven years earlier, a mortgage company initiated foreclosure proceedings against the couple, though the case was soon dismissed.

Eric Kearney, the Democratic leader in the Ohio Senate, said Friday that their financial issues are tied to past problems at Sesh Communications, which publishes the Cincinnati Herald and other newspapers aimed at black readers. The tax liens resurfaced this week as FitzGerald chose the Cincinnati lawmaker for the No. 2 spot on the ticket.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ed FitzGerald picks State Sen. Eric Kearney of Cincinnati as running mate for Ohio governor's race

Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive and probable Democratic nominee for governor in 2014, balanced his ticket Wednesday by selecting Eric Kearney, the Ohio Senate minority leader from Cincinnati, as his running mate.

Kearney, 50, brings racial and geographic diversity – a prominent black politician whose base sits in an important slice of the state where FitzGerald is largely unknown.

The announcement came not through a flashy rollout but in drips, first through party sources briefed on FitzGerald's choice, then on Twitter in a post by his campaign. The announcement also followed a fresh round of reporting, by the Northeast Ohio Media Group, on the challenges FitzGerald has had attracting support from black leaders.

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The story behind Ed FitzGerald's struggle to win endorsements from black political leaders: Analysis

CLEVELAND, Ohio – When Ed FitzGerald announced his run for governor, he turned to Louis Stokes, revered former congressman and civil rights leader, to introduce him.

Stokes obliged, sending a signal that only the dean of Cleveland’s influential black political community can. For FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive in need of a strong Democratic showing on his home turf, it seemed an unshakable boost.

But seven months later, support from other black leaders is lukewarm at best.
Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Democrat from Warrensville Heights and in many ways an heir to Stokes’ legacy, has very publicly withheld her endorsement, even though FitzGerald is the only Democratic candidate. Another Democrat, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, has forged a friendly working relationship with Republican Gov. John Kasich.

And C. Ellen Connally, ostensibly the county executive’s partner as the Democratic president of the County Council, has made a habit of criticizing FitzGerald’s leadership. She also recently accepted Kasich’s appointment to a state board and is on record worrying that FitzGerald’s campaign will distract from county business.

The lack of enthusiasm, which extends beyond these examples and reaches beyond Cleveland, says less about who FitzGerald is and more about who he isn’t.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

5 takeaways from President Barack Obama's Thursday visit to ArcelorMittal in Cleveland

President Barack Obama sought refuge here Thursday in an old political comfort zone – a region that hosted many boisterous re-election rallies in 2012.

With no campaign in his future, the two-term Democrat didn't come to sell voters, despite public opinion polls that show his job approval rating at an all-time low.

Rather, Obama returned to feed off a friendly vibe while attempting to move his administration beyond the maelstrom of his signature health care program's debut.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Three terms and out for Frank Jackson? An early preview of the 2017 mayoral race in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Mayor Frank Jackson has clinched a third term.

Those close to him doubt he will seek an unprecedented fourth.

The thinking goes like this: Jackson will be 71 in 2017. He probably wouldn’t have run for re-election this year if not for his desire to see through his school transformation plan. So even before Tuesday, when Jackson claimed his anticipated victory over businessman Ken Lanci, Cleveland political watchers were buzzing about who his successor might be.

A wide-open race will draw interest from state lawmakers looking to move up, City Council members stuck in place for more a decade and outside-the-box business and civic leaders sniffing for the right political opportunity. So, who’s next?

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Gordon Gee wanted to seek donation from Mark Kvamme after Ohio State deal was done, records show

With Brent Larkin

Ohio State University invested $50 million in a well-connected businessman's unproven venture capital fund, despite concerns raised by top officials.

Records released Friday detail how Drive Capital co-founder Mark Kvamme began discussing the fund with OSU administrators, including close friend and then-President E. Gordon Gee, while he was still running the state's economic development agency.

Gee, who backed the deal vigorously, even as his July 1 retirement neared, has served on the board of directors of that agency, JobsOhio, since Gov. John Kasich – another Kvamme friend – created it in 2011. Emails show that Gee, who remains on campus in an emeritus position and as a law professor, months later talked about seeking a $1.5 million contribution from Kvamme to help establish a higher-education policy center.

The revelations came in response to reporting and a public-records request from Northeast Ohio Media Group, which began seeking information on the deal Oct. 1.

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