Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Power tends to corrupt;
absolute power corrupts absolutely

Much has been made about Ney, Noe, Abramoff, Taft and other Republicans as a sign of corruption that should encourage people to vote Democrats into office, not just here in Ohio but nationwide. Yet the problem is not really Republicans, it is that Republicans have held power long enough to be corrupt. I’m crazy you say? How dare I dispute the facts surrounding these wicked, bad Republicans?

Take a short adventure with me into Toledo, Ohio…Yes, the hometown of the now infamous Tom Noe. Democrats are and have been the majority party for quite some time. Yesterday a former Toledo Councilperson, Bob McCloskey pled guilty to two federal counts of bribery and no contest and was found guilty of one of two unrelated felony counts of bribery in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

It’d be easy to just point to McCloskey as just one “bad apple” yet there were signs that went ignored by other City Council members and in at least one particular situation City Council votes were changed. That’s a big situation, the City of Toledo is involved in a ten million dollar civil lawsuit as a result of accusations made against Bob McCloskey.

Four people changed their vote that created this situation; one of those was Bob McCloskey. The other three are not mentioned often in articles concerning this situation. However if you go back into the Toledo Blade archives, since the City of Toledo does not provide online City Journal information back to 2002, Wilma Brown, who is still a current Toledo City Council person changed her vote. Peter Ujvagi who is now the 47th District House Representative for this area and Tina Skeldon who is now Tina Skeldon Wozniak, a current Lucas County Commissioner, also changed their votes.

We also know now that Wade Kapszukiewicz a former Toledo City Council person, now Lucas County Treasurer was approached by Bob McCloskey in what he felt may have been an attempt at a bribe. Even Republican George Sarantou is publicly stating he also experienced a similar experience. It’s also now been stated that former City Council President Louis Escobar was aware that McCloskey had asked EJS for the money before the vote took place in 2002. Mr. Escobar said he told him it would “look strange” for McCloskey to change his vote after he had previously supported the developer.

Escobar was not present on August 27, 2002 when the vote took place. Yet we do not know why Wilma Brown, Peter Ujvagi or Tina Skeldon Wozniak changed their votes, most of them will not comment because of the “on going civil case”. While that’s understandable it’s also hard to just blame Bob McCloskey. While he may bear the ultimate responsibility in all of this none of these people stepped forward.

Wilma Brown made a comment in today’s Toledo Blade in another article that was about Councilman Frank Szollosi’s attempt to strengthen ethic requirements for Toledo City Council members:

"If you're gonna be a crook, you're gonna be a crook no matter how many pieces of paper you have,"

That’s true, especially if you are surrounded by public officials that will look the other way. There have been many excuses made as to why no one reported this. Many of us feel, rightfully so that these elected officials did have a duty, a moral one since it’s been stated they had no legal duty to report this.

So it’s not just a Republican issue of corruption, it’s an issue that can happen anywhere when one party is allowed to remain in control, and too many of it’s own members are not willing to speak out. Until the day comes when political parties demand ethical behavior from their own party members rather than finger pointing at the other side this will never change.

(This article was written for the Carnival of Ohio Politics hosted by Paul Miller of Northwest Ohio Net where every Wednesday you can read what some of Ohio's best bloggers are writing about)