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Finkbeiner backs into vehicle in city garage

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Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, running late after City Council's override of his veto of two charter school permits, backed his city-leased sport utility vehicle into a car parked in the Government Center parking garage Tuesday evening.

A report on file with Securitas, the security firm that protects the government building and the adjacent garage, said the fender-bender occurred at 6:15 p.m. It said the mayor had his assistant contact the car's owner to assure her that "they would take care of everything."

A photograph attached to the report shows a dent in the rear bumper of a 2001 sedan belonging to Deb Schwirzinski, a member of the Advance Cleaning staff who began her shift at 5 p.m.

There was no noticeable damage to the mayor's vehicle, a 2006 GMC Envoy.

Mr. Finkbeiner, 68, said he apparently backed out farther than he usually does. When he hit the other car, he got out, recorded the license plate, and then assigned his assistant, Ryan Reiter, who was present, to find the owner and inform her of what happened.

The mayor said that, between leaving Government Center later than he intended and the mishap in the garage, he missed a scheduled appointment and went home. When he got there, he received a call from Mr. Reiter telling him the car owner's name.

"I just backed up deeper than I normally do. I was running late. That's probably the reason I backed up and hit the lady's car," Mr. Finkbeiner said yesterday.

The accident occurred shortly after a council vote to override the mayor's veto of two permits for charter schools at 1000 Monroe St. and 1517 Madison Ave.

Mr. Finkbeiner issued a statement chastising council for the vote, saying the schools don't belong in an area that he said was more suited for commercial or entertainment functions.

He also said the move would take valuable properties off the tax rolls. The city gets a small proportion of its revenue from property taxes.

Councilmen who approved the permits said they would bring tax-paying individuals into downtown, and that the applicants had met the legal criteria for the permits.

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