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Friday, December 19, 2014
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Published: Friday, 6/13/2014

Republicans demand records to trace FitzGerald’s footsteps

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Republican Party on Thursday fired the latest shot in the expanding battle over work records and schedules in the race for Ohio governor.

The party said it will sue to force Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald to release electronic keycard records documenting his comings and goings to government buildings as the county’s chief executive.

A lawsuit filed by the liberal blog Plunderbund that is awaiting a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court is trying to force Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration to document the security threats that prompted it to deny release of his daily schedule.

In both cases, security has been cited as the reason for refusing to release the information.

“I’ve also had a death threat against me in the last year … ,” said Chris Redfern, Democratic Party chairman and a state representative from Catawba Island.

“To have a township police officer parked in your driveway for a period of time, and you have children, you take those threats seriously. I think the sheriff of Cuyahoga County has pointed out eight death threats that have been leveled against Ed FitzGerald during the course of the last couple of years.”

The Northeast Ohio Media Group has sought the FitzGerald records that the Republican Party seeks.

“We hope that FitzGerald is busy compiling the required public records and not playing more politics by ignoring our request,” Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges said. “If he is playing politics by ignoring our request, he should send us the denial so we can proceed to court and have these records released through a court order.”

Last week, Mr. Kasich’s lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor, announced that her chief of staff and former campaign aide, Laura Horowitz Johnson, and her assistant, Heather Brandt, had resigned after it was discovered the hours for which they’d claimed they had been paid were “significantly” more than the time their cars were recorded as being in the state office tower parking garage.

Ms. Taylor said she had tried to be flexible with the work hours of her employees, but believed the two women had taken advantage of that. She referred the matter to Inspector General Randall Meyer, her former chief investigator when she was state auditor, and the highway patrol.

Mr. Redfern said the party will file its own public records request seeking similar information for Ms. Taylor herself.

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



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