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Published: Thursday, 7/31/2008

Port Authority board meets 4 hours without Hartung decision

BLADE STAFF

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority s board of directors Thursday afternoon adjourned from a more than four-hour executive session without announcing a decision involving agency President James Hartung.

Port board members said they would resume the executive session Friday morning.

Before their 1 p.m. executive session began, port board members did agree to place a 0.4-mill renewal tax on the Nov. 4 election ballot. It generates about $2.2 million annually. The levy is due to expire at the end of 2009.

The executive session involving Mr. Hartung stemmed from an investigation, led by the law firm Spengler Nathanson, into publicized allegations that Mr. Hartung had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist who was doing work for the port authority and other governmental agencies in the area.

The investigation was prompted by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner s July 11 accusation that Mr. Hartung steered lobbying funds to Kathy Teigland, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine (R., Ohio) who was hired as a lobbyist for a consortium of Lucas County governments, colleges, and economic development agencies.

The mayor said he learned of the purported affair from "recognized persons in our community."

The mayor had called for an independent investigation of the matter, and the city of Toledo is conducting its own probe into the situation. Mr. Finkbeiner has said the law firm did not qualify as an independent investigator.

Spengler Nathanson has been the port authority s "outside counsel" on numerous matters, including a review earlier this year of the agency s handling of a separation agreement with James Mettler, the vice president for new project development who resigned in January and received a $40,000 buyout plus six months health coverage.


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