Monday, February 16, 2009


Yes. That's how a Stark County political subdivision elected official thinks of Dr. Jack DeSario, a political science professor at Alliance's Mount Union College to the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report): once again here it is - "the little political godfather of Stark County."

Alternatively, the source assesses DeSario as being "Stark County's political octopus."

Another elected official bills DeSario, because of his involvement in Stark Countians' recent political campaigns, to The Report as being a "common thread" linking a number of Stark County elected officials.

The Stark County names that surface in local political circle talk include: Mayor William Healy (D), Canton service director and Democrat Warren Price (when he ran for mayor of Alliance), Democrat Stark County Auditor Kim Perez, Democrat Dr. Peter Ferguson (as a candidate for county commissioner), Republican Richard Regula (defending his commissioner's seat) and Mayor David Held (R - North Canton).

A twist on DeSario working for Healy is that he (DeSario) says in a Repository report that Governor Strickland asked him to do so because it was utterly (The Report's term) important that Healy be elected mayor of Canton.

There is an unusual twist on DeSario working for Richard Regula's campaign for Stark County commissioner (2006).

The Report has learned from Democrat Commissioner Todd Bosley that DeSario was all set to run the Bosley for Commissioner campaign. However, before getting up and running on the campaign, DeSario contacts Bosley and relates to him that he cannot do so front and center in the public eye.

Why would that be?

Bosley tells The Report that DeSario recounted to him that his Republican opponent Richard Regula's father Ralph (the now retired 16 District congressman) sat on the Board of Trustees at Mount Union College where DeSario is a political science professor. Bosley went on to recollect that DeSario related to him that someone in the Mount Union administration told him it wouldn't set well with the, then, congressman, if he (DeSario) worked openly for Bosley against Regula's son Richard.

But as Bosley tells it, DeSario still wanted to work for his campaign sub rosa in the context of the Bosley campaign being billed by and payments being made to a DeSario proxy.

The rest of the story? Bosley rejected the proposal and DeSario went on run Richard Regula's campaign.

By the way, Stark County Board of Election records show that DeSario is registered as a Democrat.

The Report has tried to ferret out all Stark County politicians who have had some connection with Jack DeSario and his campaign consulting activities. The possibility exists that other Stark County politicians have a DeSario connection that The Report has not picked up on.

But Jack DeSario as a "common thread" linking Stark County elected officials? To what end?

A political science professor working the political hustings is an especially intriguing topic to yours truly, being a political science undergrad major. However, The Report does not find this troubling in and of itself. Some political science professors get involved in political campaigns, but many do not.

As noted above, DeSario worked on Republican North Canton Mayor David Held's most recent contested campaign. It just so happens that DeSario and Held live cattycornered from each other. Have since 2002. Held appears to be close to Mayor Healy of Canton for whom DeSario served as campaign manager in the Canton mayoralty race 2007.

The Report has learned that Held was one of Healy's key advisers on which applicants to place in the newly elected mayor's cabinet. Moreover, DeSario was one of the interviewers of at least one of Healy's cabinet candidates.

Another Stark County connection for Professor DeSario is Stark County Democratic chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Maier appointed him to head a screening committee to make a recommendation to Governor Strickland as to whom he should appoint to the Stark County Common Pleas bench to replace Sara Lioi whom President Bush had appointed to a federal judgeship.

Maier is also known to recommend to individual Democratic candidates that they consider hiring Jack DeSario for their campaigns. Getting back to DeSario and Healy, did Maier (arguably, the governor's best Stark County political friend) weigh-in with the governor to persuade DeSario to take on the Healy campaign?

There is no doubt that Doctor (Ph.d) Jack DeSario is deeply insinuated into Stark County politics.

DeSario does come with specific ethics credentials. He was appointed to the Ohio Ethics Commission by then Governor George Voinovich on December 20, 1991 to a six year term which ended on December 18, 1997. He served as chairman in 1993, 1994 and 1996.

The Report asks again, so what - Jack DeSario of North Canton being involved in Stark County campaigns; after all he is a political consultant. A "common thread?" To what end?

Some Stark Countians (polIticos as well as everyday citizens) seem to be distraught over campaign contributions ($500 each) by Cuyhoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora (DeSario worked on some of his campaign) and Auditor Frank Russo to the Healy mayoralty campaign (DeSario denies having had anything do with facilitating the Dimora/Russo contributions).

Why are these Stark Countians disturbed? Apparently because they question whether or not the contributions to TeamHealy by Dimora/Russo and others (four in number contributing a total or $4,600) who have a connection with a workers' compensation claims management company - (1-888-Ohio Comp) - resulted in Healy changing Canton's workers' comp provider from a Columbus firm to 1-888 soon after Healy took office.

Mayor Healy says the contributions had nothing to do with his decision on which company was provided the workers' comp contract.

Remember, Jack DeSario denies any connection whatsoever to the contributions and the 1-888 decision.

On Wednesday (February 11), The Plain Dealer reported the FBI had subpeonaed Parma (Ohio) school district records including those of DeSario 's D&R Consulting:

The Plain Dealer report put DeSario's connection to the Parma schools and his response to the subpeona this way:
Desario, a political ally of Dimora, said Tuesday he had no idea why his company's name is on the subpoena. His company had a $10,000 contract with the district in 2005-2006, but most of its consulting has been for Parma's Back the Schools Levy committee, according to records.
A final note. DeSario does have a law degree and at one time was registered with the Ohio Supreme Court to practice law in Ohio. But The Report's check with the Ohio Supreme Court (via publicly available records online) show that DeSario let his registration expire in December, 2005.

So there you have it folks. Professor, lawyer trained and political consultant Jack DeSario is a colorful politically connected figure with a strong Stark County involvement.

Where his links and ties lead, is anyone's guess.

Perhaps, they lead to nowhere.

Do you have an opinion?

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