Thursday, June 10, 2010

After $17 million, spigot for Democrat Commissioners’ outside counsel is cut off

Will someone, anyone stop them from wasting our money, please!

More than two years ago, Prosecutor Joe Deters noted that the democrat Commissioners were wasting money on their political advisor and outside legal counsel, Tom Gableman and the firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease.  He asked repeatedly and politely for the Commissioners to properly supervise the work of the Vorys firm, and to rein in the spending.  Because the Commissioners were also getting free political counsel from the Vorys firm, the democrat Commissioners refused.

In October of last year, at Deters’ request, 12 of 13 Judge on the Common Pleas Court signed an Order terminating the Gableman/Vorys relationship.  Over the next few weeks, the Commission held a series of illegal secret meetings that culminated in Portune and Pepper voting to hire themselves as attorneys to represent the Commission in a lawsuit against their own Common Pleas Court Judges at the Ohio Supreme Court.  This suit has eaten up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees on both sides.

Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme ruled that the Pepper/Portune suit was filed in the wrong Court (great legal work David and Todd!) and lacked merit.  In short, the Common Pleas Court Judges were correct in terminating the Vorys relationship.

So, Messrs. Pepper and Portune, the fountain of taxpayer funding for your political consultants has been cut off.

COAST extends a hearty “Thank You” to Joe Deters for taking on this fight to cut off this waste of tax moneys!


  1. Always great to use the cumulative number, $17M over ten years averages to $1.7M in costs to the county. This after the $51M in cost overruns on PB Stadium and a lopsided contract with the Bengals that keeps picking the county taxpayer's pockets.

    Wild eyed liberal, Bob Castellini, was quoted in the Enquirer calling for the attorney to be retained.
    Bob Castellini, Reds majority owner and chair of the Joint Banks Subcommittee, an advisory group for The Banks, weighed in on behalf of Vorys in a statement issued late Wednesday.

    “Without Mr. Gabelman’s talent, expertise and experience, this project would still be a mud pit,” Castellini said. “And if we have to move forward without him, The Banks will falter.”

    Castellini said Gabelman is the victim of politics.

    “I strongly urge the leadership of this region to take all steps necessary to ensure Mr. Gabelman remains as special counsel to the county on all Banks matters,” he wrote.
    He has it right. This is politics, pure and simple, and we continue to hemorrhage money needlessly because Hamilton County is forced to jump through hoops because folks like COAST believe there should be no public expenditures that build up this town.

    We're still suffering from the flawed sales tax increase that could have been straightforward, but was structured to make it more palatable for a ballot issue instead of the commissioners just using their statutory authority to raise the sales tax. And who expected the county commissioners (three Republicans back then) to sell Hamilton County taxpayers down the river? I voted for this plan fully expecting that both stadiums would be civic assets that would garner additional revenues for the county as other events were held a the stadium. But all that money goes into the Bengals pockets and we're stuck with a tenant who doesn't even pay rent now. And this was negotiated by the same Republican regimes that we're now expecting to act competently? I'll take the outside counsel at $2M a year. We're getting our money's worth and not political chicanery.

  2. Democrat is a noun, Democratic is an adjective.

  3. Smell the java JoeJune 10, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    You're right Joe. It is politics, pure and simple, but not in the liberal one-sided partisan way you portray it.

    Vorys has donated heavily to the Commissioner campaigns of both David Pepper and Todd Portune. Furthermore, they also donated $10,000 to the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

    But I'm sure that the thousands upon thousands of dollars to the individual Commissioner campaigns and the thousands upon thousands of dollars to the Party in control of the county Commission had absolutely nothing to do with politics right?

    Get rid of your hard-on for COAST, and wake up and smell the coffee.

  4. Unfortunately, our politic campaigns are full of campaign money. Are you suggesting that Joe Deters has not received significant campaign money throughout his campaigns? We all know that is not true. After all, it's because of allegations of impropriety that he's back here in Cincinnati in the first place. So that's not the political question at hand, is it?

    The $1.6 to $2.0 average paid to the outside attorneys is pittance compared to the $51M piddled away in cost overruns and the lease that keeps on picking our pockets year in and year out.

    And COAST turns a blind eye to that but continues with their ways of tearing down Hamilton County and seeing that they get their free rides, seeing no responsible for the good of the county.

  5. Smell the java JoeJune 10, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    Way to defelct from my post and completely ignore the question at hand by bitching about Joe Deters.

    Why do you think Vorys gave thousands upon thousands of dollars to the Democratic County Commissioners that hire them and to the Hamilton County Democratic Party?

    If you think it has nothing to do with the fact that those Commissioners dole out the private counsel contract then you are insane. And if you think that Portune and Pepper's stance on this issue has nothing to do with the buckets of campaign cash that they receive from Vorys then you are naive.

    You alleged that there was politics at play. I agree, and Portune and Pepper are playing the game as well as anyone, and collecting big checks while they do it.

    We get it, you hate COAST. Big shit. But don't come on here and throw partisan bombs while completely ignoring the pay for play crap in your own Party on this very issue. Or is it OK for liberal Democrats to play politics and just wrong for Republicans?

  6. I didn't deflect it at all. It's disingenuous to suggest that the two Democratic commissioners motive is because of campaign contributions from the firm they've been using (originally hired by Republican commissioners, by the way). To suggest that it's not fair game to ask who the prosecutor is getting money from misses the point. There is scads of dough being donated left and right. Every firm in this town gives money to campaigns. I have no idea whether your figures are accurate. I can't find campaign reports on line for any of the parties involved and I'm not inclined to research it downtown.

    In my first post, I was tongue in cheek about Bob Castellini's political persuasion. You don't get anymore Republican than him and he was emphatic that this will be a terrible move for our county and the Banks development.

    More so, it's a fact that costs overruns on the Bengals stadium, done under the scrutiny of the prosecutors legal staff and the dreadful, onerous lease with the Bengals, also allowed by three Republican commissioners and I, as a citizen, fear we're looking at that again. I think whatever amount that's been paid to these attorneys well versed in this type of law has proven to be money well spent. They're not "consultants" as COAST deceitfully claims, they're lawyers who specialize in this type of law. And ardent Republican Bob Castellini knows you get what you pay for. I'll take paying $1.6 to $2.0 per year to see that a project comes in under budget and be glad we haven't piddled away $51M this time.


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  8. Great article in CityBeat about this:

    COAST is a bunch of hypocrites!

  9. Dirty Deeds Deters is about to have a slew of ethics & malpractice complaints filed against him.


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