Cuyahoga County Executive and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald,left, and running mate state Sen. Eric Kearney, left.
COLUMBUS — In a conference call today with reporters, state Sen. Eric Kearney supplied financial disclosure to show details of the more than $800,000 in back state and local taxes that he, his wife, and his newspaper publishing business owe.
The Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor from Cincinnati also insisted that the tax issue should not disqualify him as Ed FitzGerald’s running mate on the gubernatorial ticket.
“It goes to something every Ohioan can understand,” he said. “Our small business went through tough times. We faced those challenges. We accepted responsibility and didn’t take the easy path of just shutting our doors and hiding.
“We faced the facts,” he said. “We came through with a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service. That’s something the average Ohioan can understand and will accept.”
The total outstanding tax bill, including penalty and interest, was set at nearly $826,000, and includes:
- — $561,069 owed in federal taxes by the publishing business he and his wife own, known alternately as KGL Media and Sesh Communications.
- — $83,074 he and his wife owe in federal taxes through their roles with the business.
- — $95,121 owed in state taxes, an amount Mr. Kearney stressed is under dispute.
- --- $86,512 in payroll liabilities owed by Gite/Hanover/Presse, Inc., a since dissolved affiliate of Sesh.
“This disclosure is unprecedented and goes beyond what is required by state ethics law,” Mr. Kearney said.
He said Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald has not asked him to walk away from the ticket.
Mr. FitzGerald did not participate in the call.
“We’ve learned that FitzGerald thinks his running mate’s tax issues aren’t a big deal,” said Ohio Republican Party Chairman spokesman Chris Schrimpf. “We’ve learned that FitzGerald allowed his running mate to lie to the media about the extent of his problems. We’ve learned that FitzGerald did not fully research his running mate before announcing his selection."
-- Jim Provance