Monday, August 2, 2010

Are Ohio grants for sale?

Contributions influence politicians.

Shocker, eh?

But usually it's not this transparent.

This past Friday, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher had a chance to put on his Jobs Czar hat again:
Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, announced at a news conference in Cleveland that the state will give its maximum grant for job-ready sites to the MidTown Tech Park, a $21 million project being developed by the Geis Cos. and the Coyne family.
But a review of a few contributions showed some interesting findings.

I looked at the state and federal contributions from Alfred, Patty, Katherine, Ethan, and Greg Geis; as well as Ann and Terry Coyne - all are involved with the grant-winning company or family members.
  • Lee Fisher has been the proud recipient of $29,200 in contributions from the above-mentioned family members.
  • In addition, Terry Coyne hosted a fundraiser on September 29th of last year in Cleveland for Fisher. Attendees had the opportunity to pay a minimum of $1,000 to attend, and $5,000 to have dinner with the candidate.
  • On top of all that, these same family members have also given $45,250 to Ted Strickland's campaign.
And what did Geis and Coyne get? 17% of their project is paid for by a state grant, as well as "a $10.7 million federal, low-interest loan administered by the city of Cleveland; a $240,000 forgivable loan from a city program for vacant properties; and about $4 million in equity created through the sale of New Markets Tax Credits."

Oh, and let's not forget "priority status for future state grants and loans."

If nothing else, this sure doesn't look good. It's this perception of impropriety that makes voters more and more cynical.

I'm going to hope for some clarification from the Fisher and Strickland campaigns, but I won't hold my breath.

1 comment:

  1. If you look at the actual list of awards this project did not score in the top ten in the category of which it was competing. Four projects scored higher but were not funded. Hmmmm


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