Friday, July 18, 2014

People will abuse powdered alcohol, Ohio lawmakers say


My latest at Ohio Watchdog...


By Maggie Thurber | for Ohio Watchdog

PALCOHOL: In a YouTube video,
Palcohol inventor Mark Phillips
 shows how the product works
and addresses what he calls
the “completely false” claims
about his product.
We have powdered coffees, powdered juices, powdered soups, powdered eggs, powdered milk.

Why not powdered alcohol? After all, it’s light, portable and convenient.

But we’ll abuse it, two Ohio lawmakers say.

Reps. Ron Gerberry, D-Austintown, and Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, introduced House Bill 594 to prohibit the sale of powdered or crystalline alcohol in Ohio.

Alaska and South Carolina have already banned the substance while New York, Vermont and Minnesota have pending legislation to do the same.

“The potential for abuse of this product far outweighs any value it may have in the marketplace,” Gerberry said in a news release.

“The public health risk of powdered alcohol is too great for our state to ignore,” Buchy said in the same release. “We have to do our part in putting forth reasonable laws that protect our children and prevent the availability of drug forms that have a higher potential for abuse.”

Their concerns mirror those of U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban it.

In April, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates taxing and labeling of alcohol products, approved seven flavors of Palcohol. They then temporarily rescinded those approvals due to a technical issue with the package fill levels. Palcohol made some changes and resubmitted the labels for approval.

According to Schumer, the FDA supersedes the TTB approval in the presence of significant health concerns.

He said “experts” should “step in before this mind-boggling product, surely to become the Kool-Aid of teen binge drinking, sees the light of day” and “stop this potentially deadly product in its tracks” to avoid the “hospitalizations and death that are likely to follow.”

Nonsense, says its inventor.

Read more

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ohio Democrats plan to challenge Jack Ford's independent run for Senate


Gongwer-Ohio is reporting that Democrats will file a challenge to get former Toledo mayor and current city councilman Jack Ford off the ballot. He is running as an independent against Sen. Edna Brown in the November election.

Jack Ford
The issue, Democrats say, is that Ford voted in the Democrat primary AFTER he filed his Senate candidacy petitions as an independent. They worry that the three-way race could split the Democrat vote in the traditionally Democrat district and allow Republican Ernest McCarthy to win the seat.

Here is the Gongwer story:

Democrats are preparing to file a challenge to get former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford off the ballot in his race for the Senate, where he is running as an independent against Sen. Edna Brown.

The party is concerned that Mr. Ford, a former House minority leader who currently serves as an at-large Toledo city councilman, could split the Democratic vote and hand the 11th Senate District to Republican Ernest McCarthy.

At a minimum, his entry into the race could force the Senate Democratic Caucus to spend money in a district where it otherwise wouldn't likely have to devote a significant amount of resources.

Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) said Mr. Ford was trying to get around Ohio law that requires candidates of the same party to square off in a primary election.

"You can't circumvent the system to try to make it more convenient for you. And in my opinion, that's what he's currently trying to do," he said in an interview Friday.

Sen. Schiavoni said Mr. Ford voted in the most recent Democratic primary election after filing his Senate candidacy petitions as an independent.

Mr. Ford couldn't be reached for comment before deadline.

Independent candidates have had success at the Toledo ballot box in recent years. Current Mayor D. Michael Collins and his predecessor Michael Bell both ran as independents.

No formal candidacy protest has yet been filed with the Lucas County Board of Elections and any such challenge will have to come from a registered voter in the district.

Sen. Schiavoni said the caucus might help pay for the legal expenses to help protect Sen.
State Sen. Edna Brown
Brown (D-Toledo).

"We have an incumbent state senator that's worked incredibly hard, is being challenged by another Democrat that did not want to run in a Democratic primary. So he's trying to circumvent the system to go in as an independent. That's illegal and we're trying to protect Sen. Brown," he said.

The law requires candidacy protests to be filed with elections officials by July 30. For legislative races, county boards of election hear the case and determine the validity of the candidate's petition.

One complicating factor, however, is the fact that Secretary of State Jon Husted recently removed three of the Lucas County Board of Elections' four members after years of what he called "a deep-rooted culture of dysfunction." Earlier this week, he rejected the local Republican Party's two recommended replacements and is still awaiting a nomination from Democrats.

Sen. Schiavoni acknowledged that Mr. Ford has good name recognition after decades of running for various offices in the district.

Sen. Brown won 60% of the vote in a two-way race in 2010. The addition of a well-known third-party candidate is a serious threat to her re-election in a district that was previously considered safe for Democrats.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

City of Toledo can't maintain what it has, but wants to add more


These are two letters to the editor published in today's Blade:

Use inmates to upkeep cemetery

When I visited the burial sites of several family members in city-owned Forest Cemetery on Memorial Day, I was shocked beyond belief.

On a day where the cemetery would have more visitors than most other days, you would at least expect mowed grounds. The condition of this cemetery is deplorable. The grounds in some sections have ankle-high weeds. Some of the grave markers have sunk and have been swallowed by weeds so that it’s hard to read the inscribed names.

When my family made arrangements for my mother’s burial, we were told the fees included the upkeep of the grounds. We are able to locate my family members’ graves because we maintain them.

I sent a letter to Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins and City Council members to express my concerns and to make a suggestion.

I proposed that city leaders employ inmates to maintain the grounds. This will give inmates an opportunity to pay it forward, where otherwise they will just sit behind bars.

FRANCES SMITH
Eaglebrook Road

Forest Cemetery’s condition sad

Visiting Forest Cemetery on Memorial Day to pay respects to my family, I found the cemetery to be deplorable. The only sections that were mowed were the ones along the perimeter.

The grass was so tall in the cemetery’s interior that grave markers were obscured. How sad, especially on Memorial Day.

GEORGETTE ROBERTS
Pasadena Bouelvard

Forest Cemetery is a city-owned property and as Frances Smith wrote, the fees paid are supposed to cover upkeep of the facility.

The problem is, Toledo spends a lot of money doing unnecessary things while the basic services for existing things suffers.

Here is the editor's note published along with the letters:

Editor’s note: A City of Toledo spokesman said: “The grass at Forest Cemetery was high in some areas, but is being cut. We do not have funding to allow the staff level necessary to cut more frequently during the high-grass season. The Collins administration understands the frustration expressed by a few who have visited the cemetery.”

First, it does not matter how "few" or many might express frustration. Those are just the "few" who chose to take the time to write or call. The city made a promise to the families of those interred there that the property would be maintained - and it's not, at least, not very well.

But the bigger issue is that the city is struggling trying to perform all the mowing and the pothole filling while members of council are debating how to spend money they don't have to open pools and pay for painting murals.

They keep finding new ways to spend instead of ensuring that the limited funds can cover the ongoing costs of what we already have.

Oh - and just to pour salt in the wound, one councilman suggested that grieving families should actually pay more for grave sites - so they can fund the pools.

No wonder the population of Toledo is declining.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Higher premiums coming to Ohioans using Obamacare federal exchange


The Ohio Department of Insurance is reporting that Ohioans who purchase health care through the federal exchange will see premium increases in 2015.

Individuals can expect a 13 percent increase and small businesses can expect an 11 percent increase for health plans sold on the exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare.

The average premium from the 16 companies who filed to sell plans in the individual market is $374.42 per month compared to $332.58 per month for the same coverage in 2014.

In the small group market, 8 companies filing to sell plans proposed average premiums of $446.78 compared to $401.99 in 2014.

“It’s bad news, no doubt, but it’s what we expected and it’s what the research we did in advance predicted would happen. Ohio has traditionally had a very competitive insurance market which meant our rates were lower than a lot of other states. That means that Obamacare is hitting us harder and driving our costs up significantly,” Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor said in a press release. “Higher premiums will continue to put a strain on consumers and small businesses at a time when our state’s economy is showing strong signs of recovery and growth. Continued and unnecessary headwinds out of Washington are making it more difficult for job creators, hard-working Ohioans and their families to purchase health insurance.”

In 2010, the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law. It included the creation of health care exchanges in which individuals and small business owners in every state can purchase qualified coverage. The federal government launched open enrollment in October 2013.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cleveland makes list for site visits for RNC Convention


Yep, Cleveland made the finalist list for the Republican National Committee Convention and will receive a site visit to evaluate the city and facilities. They are one of four finalists, in the running with Dalls, Denver and Kansas City.


Here is the press release from the RNC:

RNC Selects Cities for 2016 Official Site Visits

WASHINGTON – Today, the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) Site Selection Committee for the 2016 Republican National Convention, met via conference call, selecting Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, and Kansas City to receive official site visits from the RNC’s 2016 site selection delegation. The official site visits represent the next phase in the site selection process and will allow key RNC officials and the full Site Selection Committee to tour cities and venues vying to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. The committee’s decision was based on an extensive review of bids, presentations, and reports compiled from technical visits to each city.

Prior to the site selection committee vote, Cincinnati respectfully withdrew their bid from the process based upon the criteria set forth by the RNC for the main arena. Las Vegas also respectfully withdrew their 2016 bid based on the RNC’s criteria for a traditional arena facility and enough on-site preparatory time to accommodate the 2016 convention.

After receiving notification from Cincinnati and Las Vegas, the committee conducted votes on the remaining cities and determined each would receive a visit.

Timing and dates for official visits will be coordinated with Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, and Kansas City and an announcement will be forthcoming with more details for each visit.

Following today’s meeting of the Site Selection Committee, Chairwoman Enid Mickelsen issued the following statement:

“Today the committee determined that Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, and Kansas City will receive official visits from the full RNC site selection delegation. All cities excelled in nearly every aspect of their bids and presentation this year, but these four cities stood out from the field from the start of this process and deserve a deeper look by the full committee.

“Prior to the committee’s vote, Cincinnati and Las Vegas notified the RNC that they would no longer pursue their bid to host the 2016 convention. While the committee understands their decision, both cities made a compelling case for 2016 and would make excellent hosts should they pursue efforts to host a future RNC convention.

“I applaud the effort and commitment shown by all cities involved, and I thank all parties for their dedication to this endeavor. The 2016 convention will provide a unique opportunity to showcase our Party as well as the host city itself, and I’m confident we will choose the best possible setting to nominate our next Republican president.”

###

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lucas County sees lower unemployment rate, but what's the rest of the story?


The headlines read:

"Lucas County unemployment rate dropping"

"April’s jobless rates at lowest in over 10 years"

Yes, the unemployment rate in the county dropped to 5.7 percent, but that's not the lowest it's been and the drop really isn't due to people finding jobs.

The county is facing the same issue as the state, as I wrote at Ohio Watchdog. The statistic is easily manipulated by changing the number in the workforce.

As a commissioner, I rarely looked at the unemployment rate. Instead, I tracked employment - the number of people actually working - as I thought it a much better gauge of the health of the economy.

The last time Lucas County saw an unemployment rate this low was October 2006 when the rate was 5.4 percent. It was 5.6 percent in September and November that year.

But here's the catch: the number of people employed in October 2006 was 214,400.

The number of people with jobs in April 2014 was 192,400 - 22,000 less!

The loss of people in the workforce is even greater. In October 2006, there were 226,700 people counted. But in April 2014, there were only 204,100. That's a difference of 22,600.

To put that in perspective, that's more people than live in the cities of Maumee (pop. 14,129) or Oregon (pop. 20,291) or Sylvania (pop. 18,892).

So even though the unemployment is down, it's not because there are more people employed - it's because we have 22,600 who aren't being counted in the workforce. And the number of people with jobs is actually less.

Here's a chart showing the declining workforce and the historical employment numbers from January 2006 to April 2014:


As you can see, the number of people in the workforce has steadily declined, even as the number of employed fluctuates up and down, though still not reaching pre-recession numbers.

Certainly, loss of population, retiring baby boomers and others who are no longer counted in the workforce contribute to the declining numbers - but they cannot account for all of the drop. At least some of the loss of workforce is due to individuals who are no longer seeking work because they don't believe there are any opportunities for them.

The key is to understand how much of the loss of workforce is due to what factor.

So rather than celebrate or tout the declining unemployment rate, elected officials, policy makers and citizens should insist on good analysis to find out why the number of employed people has not returned to historic levels. This is a critical factor as the cities make long-term decisions about taxation and services.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Panel dismisses election complaint over Stainbrook, Gallagher flyer


The Ohio Election Commission dismissed a complaint from Ohio Citizens PAC that charged the Ohio Republican Party with making a false statement on flyers supporting Jon Stainbrook and Meghan Gallager (and others) for state central committee.

The flyers said that elected the two would "stop Obamacare." Ohio Citizen PAC said that was false. The dismissal came from the OEC's probable cause panel.

In filing the complaint, Tom Zawistowski, president of the PAC, said the statement was "clearly an intentional attempt to mislead voters by make a false claim of some legislative authority being held by Republican State Central Committee members, which simply does not exist."

OEC Executive Director Phil Richter recommended the dismissal as not rising to the level of a false statement, Gongwer reported. The panel agreed that there was no probable cause to believe the statement would be found to be false and dismissed the case.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Elections complaint filed over Stainbrook and Gallagher flyers


Ohio Citizens PAC filed a complaint against the Ohio Republican Party for the state central committee campaign flyers it sent out on behalf of Jon Stainbrook and Meghan Gallagher.

Here is the flyer I received, which is the same one in the complaint:



The complaint alleges that the claim of being able to stop Obamacare is patently false and intended to mislead voters.

Stainbrook and Gallagher weren't the only ones. The ORP sent the same flyer in other districts as well.

The complaint asks for a hearing prior to the May 6 election date which is when the central committees of the state and local parties will be elected.

Here is the press release:

Ohio Citizens PAC files Complaint with Ohio Election Commission against Ohio Republican Party Flyers

Akron, OH – Today, the Ohio Citizens PAC filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission concerning the mailers produced and sent out by the Ohio Republican Party claiming that endorsed Republican State Central Committee candidates can “Vote Republican’s Stainbrook and Gallagher to Stop Obmacare.” A statement that the Ohio Citizens PAC says is patently false and is intended to mislead voters. Multiple versions of the mailer were sent out around the state with the names of the endorsed State Central Committee candidates changed to match the district.

Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, said “This type of unethical behavior by ORP Chairman Matt Borges and others within the Ohio Republican Party has got to stop. The statements on these mailers are clearly an intentional attempt to misleads voters by making a false claim of some legislative authority being held by Republican State Central Committee members which simply does not exist. Not only are their actions unethical, they are insulting to the educated Republican party base who will vote in Tuesday’s primary election. We are asking the Ohio Elections Commission to hold a hearing on this issue before the election and to force the Ohio Republican Party to take action to inform voters of the truth.”

Zawistowski concluded by saying, “Unfortunately, this incident is a part of a pattern of unethical behavior that resonates from the ORP Chairman right through to the local level. The people endorsed by the Ohio Citizens PAC for State Central Committe who are listed on our website at www.OhioCitizensPAC.org are running for two simple reasons. First, they have all pledged to vote, if elected, for the Ohio Republican Party to adopt the National Republican Party Platform, because the ORP currently has no platform of its own. Second, to hold Republican elected officials accountable to the values and principles within the National Republican Party Platform, which is why the ORP currently does not have a platform because they do not want Republican elected official to be held accountable to anything. Sending out this flyer shows the desperation of the ORP leadership to keep control of the state central committee and that they will do anything to keep their power – including lying to voters. We are hopeful that primary votes will see the truth and vote in our candidates to restore the Ohio Republican Party to Republican values and principles.”

##

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Non-existent address on Stainbrook voter registration raises too many questions


When it comes to getting your address correct, you'd think most people would be pretty good at it.

Admittedly, there are some people who are dyslexic and might have trouble writing down their own address, but they at least know what it is and take steps to make sure they are accurate when communicating it.

Apparently, that's not the case with Robert C. Stainbrook II and the forms that have been submitted to the Board of Elections in his name.

Robert is the brother of Jon Stainbrook, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party and a member of the Board of Elections. He moved from Ottawa County and registered to vote in Lucas last year.

He's not registered to vote in both places, which is a good thing.

He's registered to vote at 2526 Amara Drive, Toledo, 43615.


But there's a problem: there is no such address, according to the Auditor's AREIS system:


If you drive down the street, you won't find a house or dwelling - or a part of a house or dwelling - with that address on it.

When you register to vote, the BOE sends you a postcard telling you the ward and precinct numbers and your polling location. The postcard they sent to Robert was returned as undeliverable.


That wasn't the only one.

The Fallen Timbers Republican Club invited all candidates for precinct committee to attend a training/educational session. Their postcard to him was also returned.


Trying to give Robert the benefit of the doubt that perhaps he had the numbers mixed up, the FTRC reversed the numbers and sent a notice to 2625 Amara, which is in the Auditor's AREIS system. That didn't work. That postcard was also returned.


The returned mail isn't enough to make a fuss over, as there are many reasons such items are returned. However, combine the returned mail with the fact that no such number exists in the AREIS system and there is no such number on any dwelling and now you have too many questions with not enough answers.

The range of possibilities go from innocent to nefarious.

On the innocent side, Robert made a mistake when he put his address on his registration card. That's simple enough to fix - he just corrects it with the Board of Elections.

On the nefarious side, he doesn't live on the street and is fraudulently registered - with or without his knowledge.

To complicate matters, I've been told that the handwriting on Robert's voter registration card and his petition for precinct committee belongs to Meghan Gallagher.

Gallagher is the former executive director of the BOE who was recently removed. She is also known as a 'sometime' girlfriend of Jon Stainbrook.

Now, it's not too uncommon to have someone else fill out your forms so they're ready for your signature. But then there are what appear to be discrepancies in the signatures themselves.

Here is the signature on the voter registration card:


Here is the signature on Robert's petition for central committee:


And here is his signature on his voter registration card in Ottawa County:


I'm not a handwriting expert but I think there are enough differences to raise the question of whether or not all three are really Robert's.

Combining the signature discrepancy with the non-existent address, the information that the handwriting on the registration and petition forms is Meghan Gallagher's and even non-doubting people might begin to wonder.

I share this information not to cast dispersions on Robert Stainbrook II, but to ensure that the correct address is recorded for him and that he votes in the correct precinct.

And if the worse case scenario is true and the voter registration card and petition were NOT signed by him, the person who did so can be held accountable.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Ohio AG certifies petition for Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment


The Ohio AG has approved the petition
filed by Freedom to Marry Ohio. The
next step is the Ohio Ballot Board.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has certified the petition for the Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment.

This means that it will be sent to the Ohio Ballot Board to ensure the amendment contains a single issue and, if so, petitioners can begin to gather the signatures necessary to put the measure on the ballot.

Interestingly, today a federal judge is expected to issue a ruling on whether or not Ohio must recognize the marriages of gay couples who marry in other states.

Ohio voters approved a state-wide gay marriage ban in 2004.

According to the summary, the amendment would repeal and replace Section 11 to Article XV of the Ohio Constitution to:

  • Allow two consenting adults not nearer of kin than second cousin, and not having a husband or wife living, the freedom to enter into a marriage regardless of gender.
  • Define religious house of worship as one where the primary activity is religious worship and provides that no house of worship or its clergy shall be required to perform a marriage.
  • Provide that all legally valid marriages shall be treated equally under the law.

Here is the press release with a link to the petition:

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today determined that the proposed Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment seeking to amend Article XV, Section 11 of the Ohio Constitution submitted the required 1000 valid signatures of Ohio electors and a summary of the amendment that is a "fair and truthful "statement of the proposed law.

Attorney General DeWine has sent letters to both the committee that represents the petitioners and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

"Without passing on the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred but pursuant to the duties imposed on the Attorney General's Office under Section 3519.01(A) of the Ohio Revised Code, I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed constitutional amendment," Attorney General DeWine stated in a letter to the petitioners.

Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment contains a single or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures in 44 of Ohio's 88 counties, equal to 5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the vote cast for the office of governor in the last gubernatorial election

The full text of today's letter and of the amendment petition may be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/BallotInitiatives.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Public records raise questions about employee fired by BOE


Gina Kaczala being sworn in as the new
executive director of the Lucas County
Board of Elections. Her first act: fire one
 of the temporary employees in the office.
(Toledo Blade photo)
You might have heard about the recent shake-up in staff at the Lucas County Board of Elections, but you probably didn't know some of the details ... details revealed by a public records request.

The Blade has the story about Republican booth official Melissa Brogan being fired by the new Republican executive director, Gina Kaczala, and Democrat deputy director Dan DeAngelis.

She was a temporary employee, subject to employment "at will," so she could be let go without any cause or reason.

Jon Stainbrook, Lucas County Republican Party Chairman and one of three members of the BOE, strongly objected, as the news story reported:

“The only reason they did it is because they don’t like it, and they don’t like her,” Mr. Stainbrook said. “She did an exemplary job for more than two years and was an intricate part of the election process. They are abusing their new-found authority right off the bat.”

But public records tell a different story.

Brogan's time sheet
According to her time sheets, Brogan reported for work on Monday, Feb. 3rd, at 8:30 a.m. She signed in the time, but then crossed it out and wrote "sick" in the comments.

That's not an unusual event, but that's only part of the story.

On Feb. 5th, nominating petitions for five candidates were turned in to the BOE. The circulator was Melissa Brogan.

In total, she collected 25 signatures on the petitions - all on Feb. 3rd.
One of the petitions
Brogan turned in.

Now, it is conceivable that she gathered these signatures after she was feeling better, but if you're going to take a sick day and then turn in petitions all signed on the day you call off sick, you should expect questions to be raised.

In fact, I'm surprised that no one asked about it at the time the petitions were filed.

 Certainly others in the office would have known she'd gone home sick. At the very least, the director and deputy director should have asked for an explanation.

Perhaps, though, such 'oversights' in managing the staff are what contributed to the Board deciding to fire Meghan Gallagher and replace her with Kaczala? Who knows?

One insider commented that they wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing had been coordinated by Gallagher. But that speculation is probably more indicative of the lack of trust in Gallagher and Stainbrook, than of the truth.

Regardless, the existence of the questionable circumstances definitely belie Stainbrook's comment that she did an "exemplary job."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ohio legislature agrees to four extra snow days


Gongwer is reporting that a conference committee dealing with the House and Senate version of calamity days has agreed to four extra snow days and no teacher in-service requirements.

According to the report, House language was that would have required teachers to go to work for extra professional development as a condition of the extra days was eliminated.

The committee also increased the number of days from the three in the Senate version to four. Schools are still allowed to make up missed days in 30-minute increments added onto regular days.

Final votes in both bodies are expected Wednesday.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Salt companies fail to bid on Ohio state contract


This is not good news for drivers on Ohio roads....

The Ohio Department of Transportation put out a request for bids on 10,000 ton increments of salt. They hoped to get at least 150,000 tons of road salt that they planned give to local communities that are running low. The expectation was that the localities would return the salt to the state once their own supplies were replenished.

But no salt companies responded to the bid, ODOT announced today.

They said they would continue to explore alternative ways to get salt into Ohio and onto Ohio roads.

They also provided the following statistics:

* since the beginning of winter, ODOT alone, has used more than 880,000 tons on Ohio roadways.
* they've treated 11 million miles of roads
* this is one of the most active seasons in history.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Monroe car dealership sued by Ohio AG


Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has sued Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Superstore in Monroe, MI, accusing it of using deceptive advertising.

Essentially, the lawsuit says that advertising to Ohio residents did not follow Ohio laws - and numerous attempts to get the dealership to comply have failed. In fact, it says previous agreements with the firm regarding Ohio laws were not honored.

Here is a copy of the lawsuit.

Here is the press release:


TOLEDO, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a lawsuit against Monroe Dodge-Chrysler, Inc., which does business as Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Superstore, of Monroe, Michigan. The Attorney General’s lawsuit accuses the dealership of using deceptive advertisements.

“Businesses that advertise to Ohio consumers must follow Ohio’s rules,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Otherwise, it’s not fair to consumers or to businesses that do follow the rules. The office has worked with this dealership on many occasions to address advertising violations, but the problems continue to resurface.”

Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Superstore is located at 15160 S. Monroe St. in Monroe, Michigan. The dealership sells new and used vehicles and advertises online and in print to consumers in Michigan and Ohio.

According to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, the dealership violated Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act by advertising prices for which not all consumers qualified, failing to disclose all required terms, and failing to clearly disclose important exclusions or conditions of a sale. The Attorney General seeks an injunction to stop further violations, reimbursement for any affected consumers, and civil penalties.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office had entered into past agreements with the dealership to address similar advertising violations, but the Attorney General’s Office found that violations continued.

To assist dealerships in complying with Ohio law, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office offers a publication called “Guidelines for Motor Vehicle Advertising,” which is available on the Attorney General’s website, and works cooperatively with dealer associations to provide advertising compliance presentations.

Consumers who suspect unfair or deceptive advertising or other violations should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.

A copy of the lawsuit is available on the Attorney General's website.

–30–

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Waniewski 1 of 4 recommended to fill PUCO seat


Toledo city councilman Tom Waniewski, R-District 5, is one of four individuals recommended to fill a seat on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).

The others, all Republicans, are former Rep. Thomas Johnson, Stacey Polk and Patrick Donlon.

Gov. John Kasich has 30 days to select one of the nominees to replace Todd Snitchler, or he can request a new list of recommendations from the Nominating Council.

The open position is a five-year term beginning in April. The governor's nominee will have to be confirmed by the Senate.

Johnson, who was a state rep from 1977 to 1999, also served as director of the Office of Budget and Management.

Polk is an attorney based in Cleveland who works as a sustainability consultant helping businesses implement green and advanced energy measures. She previously served as an assistant director in the City of Cleveland's of the Department of Economic Development.

Donlon currently works for the PUCO as a utility rates and tariff administrator. He previously worked for American Electric Power and for Time Warner Cable.

Waniewski, who is also a member of the Ohio Public Works Commission, chairs the Environmental Services Committee.

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