THE latest troublesome emanation from the Lucas County treasurer's office indicates strongly that Ray Kest remains in a war with himself that only he can understand. The rest of us are just weary of hearing about it.
Why else would a veteran public official, even one under investigation for a string of improper and troublesome acts, go out of his way to attempt to sully the reputation of other officials in such a petty and vindictive manner?
In a routine news release about collection of real estate taxes, Mr. Kest gratuitously noted that a local judge and a member of the state legislature who are up for re-election this year owe back taxes - even though both had already entered into routine payment agreements with the treasurer's office.
If this was an attempt to divert attention from Mr. Kest's personal transgressions, it was a clumsy one. It only served to remind the treasurer's constituents that he dipped into county funds to pay his college tuition, got arrested in his county car for drunken driving (a charge later reduced to reckless operation), and has been using a county cell phone to service his extracurricular mortgage broker's business in Florida.
As investigation into these questionable activities unfolds, Mr. Kest's political future is in serious doubt. He won't be running for re-election as a Democrat, since the filing date is past and the county party has endorsed Toledo City Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz.
Having taken out petitions to run as an independent, he seems to be threatening to inflict himself on the electorate once more.
And who has forgotten his inept run for mayor in 2001 on a platform of responsible stewardship of tax dollars while he was neck-deep in personal credit card debt?
We've already suggested that Mr. Kest admit his transgressions, pay back the county for his personal expenses, and resign. But he is obviously not capable of departing the public arena gracefully.
Trying to taint the reputation of others as he heads toward his dark and uncertain exit only reminds taxpayers of how tired they are of this continuing sorry saga.
Mr. Kest should do himself and the rest of Lucas County a favor and not make things any worse than they are.
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