Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Monday, October 30

Auditor: ODP Files Elections Complaint Against Taylor (R)

The Ohio Democratic Party announced tonight that ODP Chair Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission alleging that state auditor candidate State Rep. Mary Taylor (R-Green) purposely made false statements to voters about owning a construction business, Welty Building Company. A hearing on the complaint will be held on Wednesday at 11:30 am.

Seventeen press releases on Taylor’s campaign web site claim that “Taylor and her husband Don own and operate a construction management firm in the Akron area.” An additional press release quotes her as saying that she is a “small business owner.” However, in a letter sent to the ODP, Welty’s lawyer stated that Taylor "owns no interest in her husband’s business, and has not since December 31, 2004."

According to the ODP, these statements of ownership and Welty Building Company’s disavowal of same lead to larger questions of Taylor's honesty on the campaign trail and as a state representative. “Mary Taylor is intentionally misleading voters about her qualifications and just can’t be trusted," said Redfern. "Ohioans do not want more scandal and deceit and she should be ashamed by her campaign tactics.”

The complaint comes as Taylor has struggled to explain her role in "Letter-gate." In brief, she wrote and distributed to legislative colleagues a letter on official House stationary noting that "several of the Ohio Republican Party’s biggest supporters" supported restoring funding to University of Akron’s Global Business Institute. It was later revealed that Welty Building Company was supposed to receive a $331,000 contract to build the Global Business Institute building. In addition to the issue of false statements to be considered by the elections panel, the question of Taylor's criminal liability under Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.42 needs to be considered. That statute defines the following conduct as a fourth degree felony:
§ 2921.42 - Having an unlawful interest in a public contract

(A) No public official shall knowingly do any of the following:

(1) Authorize, or employ the authority or influence of his office to secure authorization of any public contract in which he, a member of his family, or any of his business associates has an interest; ...
The ODP has launched a website called SomethingAboutMaryTaylor.com, detailing Taylor’s many ethical lapses.

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