Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016
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Republican lawsuit aims to keep tabs on FitzGerald

Candidate refuses to release key-card records

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FitzGerald

THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
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COLUMBUS — The Ohio Republican Party on Wednesday followed through with its threat to sue Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald to force the release of key-card records documenting his comings and goings at his Cuyahoga County office.

The public-records suit was filed with the Ohio Supreme Court against the county and Mr. FitzGerald as its executive.

“For months, FitzGerald has been hiding records from the public about where he is and when,” party Chairman Matt Borges said. “Even FitzGerald’s predecessor, Jimmy Dimora, who is in federal prison for public corruption, would release these records.

“FitzGerald is so desperate to hide these records from the public that he won’t even respond to public-records requests and is wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars in a fruitless attempt to keep his secrets,” he said.

Mr. FitzGerald, who is taking on Republican Gov. John Kasich in November, accused the GOP of hypocrisy, noting Mr. Kasich’s office has also refused to release his prospective work schedules out of security concerns.

“We think we’ve actually been more forthcoming about information, because there have been time periods when the governor has not released his schedule for periods of time …,” he told reporters. “We both have staff and security apparatus that take that seriously.

“If the governor’s office has a newfound seriousness about open public records, it’s curious to me why they’ve had to be sued on a number of occasions to release records,” he said.

The Northeast Ohio Media Group originally requested the records. The group, however, has not sued.

Mr. FitzGerald said he has received death threats and expressed concern about releasing information that documents his travel patterns. He recently began taking advantage of highway patrol security that also protects the governor.

He cited lawsuits challenging the confidentiality of Mr. Kasich’s private nonprofit JobsOhio economic development corporation and The Blade’s lawsuit against his inspector general to force the recent release of his investigative report on the Coingate scandal.

More recently, work hours became an issue when two staffers of Mr. Kasich’s lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor, resigned after it was discovered that the time they claimed to have worked and were paid was substantially more than the time that electronic records showed their cars were in the parking garage.

That action was forced by a records request made by the liberal blog Plunderbund, which has also sued to get Mr. Kasich’s work schedule.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

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