Yesterday, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) related how the Mayor Tom Rice (North Canton) with, perhaps, a nudge from political consultant Jack DeSario replaced Stark County labor attorney Robert Tscholl, who represented North Canton in negotiations with unions, with Cleveland-based attorney Gary Johnson's law firm.
This event along with a number of others prompted former North Canton city councilman Chuck Osborne to filed a complaint with Canton City Prosecutor Frank Forchione (now a Stark County Common Pleas Court judge).
The Report in this blog is going to parse the Forchione report.
First, to the left is a summary of the background of Forchione's work (hereinafter "FR") taken out of the first paragraph.
The Report has highlighted certain portions of the graphic insert. The green highlight indicates language that The Report will comment.
The Report talked with Attorney Robert Tscholl prior to preparing this report and learned that Attorney Tscholl never told Prosecutor Forchione nor anyone else that he "no longer wanted to negotiate [North Canton's] contracts.
Moreover, in February, 2003 it is very likely that Rice was considering hiring Jack DeSario to run his campaign against Osborne (and Stark County Republican Party stand-in Christopher East). Let The Report be the first to say, what Rice was doing in February is sheer speculation.
Forchione, in an omitted part (omitted by The Report) of the FR goes on to talk about the fees that Gary Johnson would be charging North Canton. These particulars are only relevant in his report because part of the allegation that North Canton way overpaid Johnson (almost $55,000) for the work especially in the light of the approximately $15,000 the city was paying Tscholl.
Second, by May, the relationship between Rice and DeSario was cemented in an actual contract.
Did Jack DeSario know that Rice was keeping the DeSario/Johnson connection secret from North Canton officials?
Forchione stops with the Rice aspect, since that was the mandate of his investigation. So we will never know unless Rice or DeSario want to address the question.
Third, Attorney-labor negotiator Gary Johnson "pussyfoots" around as to whether or not Jack DeSario works for Johnson & Angelo. Why?
DeSario himself revealed to Forchione that - yes - he worked for the firm and that he discussed union negotiations with Mayor Rice and go so far to own up to discussion Johnson & Angelo with Rice.
Folks, this is a strange course of events (the hedging of Johnson, while DeSario is forthcoming).
For Stark Countians The Report believes there are several things to be garnered from Frank Forchione's investigation of Osborne's complaint as it relates to the Jack DeSario/Johnson & Angelo/North Canton connection.
1. Stark County attorney Robert Tscholl lost a client (he is now back working for North Canton for two years now) through political machinations.
2. North Canton paid approximately $40,000 more for legal services than Tscholl would have charged.
2. Stark Countian Jack DeSario was apparently looking out for his Cuyahoga County association while living in and working in Stark County (both as a political science professor at Mount Union College and as a political consultant).