January 22, 2009

Dispatch: Kasich’s Time at Lehman Relevant, But Not State’s Possible Knowledge of Former Employee’s Illegal Activities

It’s on. 22 months remain.

“It” is “Ohio Media v. Any and All Viable Republican or Conservative Politicians.”

The first suckerpunch comes from Joe “Hack” Hallett and Jonathan Riskind of the Columbus Dispatch (“Wall Street ties might hamstring GOP hopeful Kasich”). The recipient is former congressman and current Fox weekend show host John Kasich, who is frequently mentioned as a possible GOP challenger to Buckeye State Governor T-Shirt Ted Strickland.

It takes the pair 14 paragraphs to tell us that there’s no story here — that is, unless they want to accuse Kasich’s spokesperson of lying:

“John had absolutely no role in the holding or underwriting of mortgage-backed securities or with the proprietary real-estate investments which led to the downfall of Lehman Brothers,” (Kasich adviser) Chabria said, adding that Kasich received no bonus or “golden parachute” when Lehman went under and he left.

“John was one of 30,000 employees of Lehman Brothers and, like many others, he lost much equity after years of hard work for the firm.”

The Dispatch duo then goes back eight years (!), “catches” Kasich praising former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld (see Update below), and doesn’t bother to tell us why that praise should trouble readers.

Fuld may have been overpaid, and may have mismanaged Lehman in its final years. However, as of this moment, he stands accused of no crime.

The same cannot be said for a certain former associate of Ted Strickland. The Dispatch duo kindly gave “I’ll Turn Ohio Around, But Let’s Wait Two Years” Ted their fourth paragraph:

“If he becomes a candidate for governor, I’m sure that will be part of the discussion, as will the way I’ve handled my job,” Strickland said. “I don’t know how engaged he was, what his responsibilities were. Would that likely be something I would look into if he were my opponent? I think that it’s likely that it would.”

Strickland’s speculative venture into opposition research begs the question of how “engaged” Ted was with the Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Less than two years ago, he appointed Eric McFadden as Director of that office (scroll to last item in Feb. 23, 2007 press release).

McFadden was removed from that position in November 2007, and was at the Department of Corrections until March 2008, when he left state employment.

Last week, McFadden was arrested for using high-tech means to manage the world’s oldest profession (the link is from the Catholic News Agency, which explains why the story is fair and balanced):

Democratic Catholic leader arrested on prostitution-related charges

The former director of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives for the governor of Ohio was arrested Wednesday for his involvement in an online prostitution ring. Eric McFadden, who has also formerly served as the president of the organization Catholics for Faithful Citizenship and spokesperson for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, will face seven prostitution-related charges tomorrow in court.

Eric McFadden, 46, the former head of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives for Governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland, was arrested this morning and faces two counts of promoting prostitution, two counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, two counts of pandering obscenity involving a nude minor and one count of compelling prostitution, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told the Springfield News-Sun.

The News-Sun also quoted Keith Daily, Governor Strickland’s press secretary who described the situation as “very sad, shocking and appalling.”

According to NBC 4 in Columbus, Ohio, detectives suspect McFadden was involved in a “hooker-review” site that led to the creation of a Brewery District brothel.

Police also believe that McFadden is a man they have been tracking who posts under the name “Toby.” Authorities have been searching for him over the past two months after busting a prostitution ring on Craigslist.

McFadden used complex encoded postings on Craiglist that would look like useless or corrupted data, in which he would embed the information of the woman available, the type of sex interaction she would be willing to perform and the place to meet her. Paradoxically, McFadden’s code name in his transactions was “mcfaddencatholic.”

CNA obtained copies of the postings, but since they contain names that may be real and actual addresses in the Columbus, OH area, they will not be made public.

Police also note that on McFadden’s online posts, he claimed to be the “guru” of prostitution in Columbus, Ohio. He wrote reviews on prostitution services as well as advice on how not to get caught, reports NBC 4.

Given McFadden’s heavy use of technology to to conduct his criminal enterprise, has anybody at the Dispatch investigated whether McFadden ever used state resources (telephones, Internet, etc.) while he was employed? Have any Freedom of Information Act requests been filed for all electronic and printed correspondence relating to the McFadden’s appointment, his tenure at OFBCI, the circumstances surrounding his transfer to Corrections, or the end of his employment? If not, why not?

It’s more than fair to ask what Ted Strickland or other state officials really knew about McFadden, and when they knew it.

It’s totally unfair, based on the facts known, to even hint that John Kasich might have had anything to do with the downfall of Lehman. But, as Dan Riehl at Red State pointed out, “It’s Never Too Early To Target A Republican.”

That’s 2009 Old Media “journalism,” as practiced at the Dispatch.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: NewsBusters commenter Jack Bauer

So I was wondering who Fuld generally supported

Democratic $55,450
Republican $21,300
Independent $7,000
Other $4,500

Here’s a few interesting people who Fuld gave money to ….
- Chris Dodd for Senator in 1992, 1998, 2004,
- Jon Stevens Corzine for Senator in 2000
- Hillary Clinton for President in 2008

Imagine that.

Memo to Joe Hallett and Jonathan Riskind: Next time, consider doing something more than taking transcription from longtime Democratic operative and dirty-trickmeister Chris Lehane.

UPDATE 2, Jan. 27 — Another hacky element is that the Hallett-Riskind piece “just happened” to appear when a poll showing Kasich, who I suspect half of Ohioans have never heard of, within six points of Strickland appeared. They couldn’t let THAT just sit there without some kind of response.

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2 Comments

  1. Had we not elected such as weakling as Ohio GOP Chairman, he could engage reporters and editors effectively and politely point out their inaccuracies, while perhaps encouraging his base to complain to the Dispatch and/or cancel their subscriptions.

    Instead, this wuss will wring his hands, if he’s even noticed, and cannot possibly communicate with his base because they are “those people” with an “unhelathy fixation” on social issues.

    The Ohio GOP is leaderless and has zero chance of winning an additional statewide office until that improves.

    Comment by Rob — January 22, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  2. While I share your disdain for the ORP et. al, I think the people, who finally see them as a barrier to advancing conservative candidates, will “git R dun” on their own.

    Comment by Rose — January 22, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

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