Friday, April 24, 2009


Jackson Township is losing 270 jobs to North Canton. Not long ago Massillon lost jobs (Myers Industries) to North Canton. As the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) has already documented, Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr., was none to happy about the Myers Industries loss.

And the word is, he's still smarting over the loss.

Over the past two weeks North Canton officials were sweating it out whether or not a North Canton/Maple Street Commerce (Stu Lichter's majority interest company) Altercare deal was going to fly. Apparently, area realtor Robert DeHoff has been fighting tooth and nail to keep Altercare at his facility on Whipple for the remaining four months of its lease.

Obviously, a political tug-a-war has been going on.

The North Canton "sweating it out" came to be because North Canton officials were stunned some two weeks ago when they received a modified Jobs Ready Site agreement which had new language (as compared to the original) which would have prohibited North Canton from using its $5 million grant to facilitate the relocation of Altercare to North Canton unless officials could get a waiver.

The Report has learned that an Altercare official was jawing with the Ohio Department of Development over the new requirement. Presummably Stuart Lichter and his adversary in this deal (DeHoff does own about a 10% interest in Maple Street Commerce) both weighed in.

One area official described the Lichter/DeHoff standoff as being like an 800 pound gorilla versus a rhesus monkey; hence the graphic above.

No doubt that Lichter has a lot more political clout in Ohio and, indeed, in Stark County than Bob DeHoff. After all, Lichter stepped in and perhaps saved Governor Ted Strickland's chance for a second term by coming up with a re-development plan to keep the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company international headquarters in Akron.

Can you imagine the political fallout in northeast Ohio for Strickland, if Goodyear left the area.

So the official word from the Ohio Department of Development (ODD) is that the "new" language does not apply the "in process" applications - only new applications.

The Report will believe the ODD stance on new applications when the happen. The "waiver" is a huge political loophole that the ODD will find a way to grant when the governor or some other powerful politician wants it waived.

The Report understands that Jackson Township officials are very angry over the loss of the 270 jobs from thw township. It could be because of the "blood feud" that is going on between North Canton and a Jackson Twp/city of Canton annexation combo over a plan that Stark County commissioners recently approved and which is being litigated.

It can't be an income tax thing, since Jackson has no income tax.

Notwithstanding the effort of the ODD to stop internecine economic warfare among the counties, townships, villages and cities of Ohio, don't look for these politico/economic fistfights to abate (pardon the pun) anytime soon.

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