The SCPR could scarcely believe the content of the telephone call received Tuesday afternoon.
The caller telling The Report that Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II had been determined to have used a Canton quasi-government credit card (the Community Improvement Corporation - CIC) - is a non-profit corporation that has governmental-like functions) to make personal purchases.
Healy has admitted the purchases, but says that the use of CIC credit card was purely accidental. While Healy's claim may be true, the question is: Who will believe it?
A WORD ABOUT THE COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT CORPORATION
The Report is told that the members of the Canton CIC are appointed by the mayor except for the council members which are appointed by the majority leader (Healy political ally David Dougherty, in this case).
The actual Healy personal purchases were documented by Ed Balint of The Repository in a piece he wrote yesterday (Healy repays for personal purchases on CIC credit card), to wit:
- Subway restaurant,
- John’s Grille,
- Pat Catan’s,
- Dad’s Car Care Center,
- Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery,
- Speedway, Dillard’s,
- Thatsa Wrapp restaurant, and
- other businesses.
Balint reports that Hizzoner reimbursed the CIC in the amount of about $600 (the SCPR computation is $645.42, including a credit card late fee).
Just a slap of the hand (even, if that), no?
Of course, Healy says that it was all a mistake. A SCPR's source says that Healy claims that the Key Bank Platinum credit card (CIC card) was difficult to distinguish from personal credit cards he uses.
Balint was non-committal as to whether or not Healy's claim is believable on a color-confusion basis. However, reading between the lines and Healy having told him that his focus was on the Mastercard emblem on the card rather than the color, it could be that Balint was being kind to the mayor in deferring on making an observation to whether or not confusion on the basis of color similarity was credible.
The SCPR believes it is likely that many who read Balint's account and this blog are going to find it difficult to swallow that the CIC card use was accidental when the CIC card was used "about fifteen times."
IS CANTON/CIC'S REACTION/RESPONSE APPROPRIATE?
So the question becomes is a "slap on the hand" (and the SCPR questions whether or not "paying what one owes" rises to that level) an appropriate consequence to the mayor.
The SCPR did contact the Canton Law Department and was told that the department passed the matter for review by a federal agency of government and a state agency of government for an assessment of whether or not there were any criminal law violations in the use of the card.
The Report is told that both agencies declined to take the matter under consideration. However, the matter of further legal consequences is not entirely closed as The Report is told that the law department is pursuing one other possible option.
FORMER MAYOR JANET CREIGHTON'S EXPERIENCE WITH CIC & HER REACTION TO HEALY'S CLAIM OF MISTAKE
Yours truly did contact former mayor Janet Creighton (now of Plain Township and to learn whether or not she had a CIC credit. Her answer? An unequivocal NO!
Creighton (who, undoubtedly, cannot believe that Canton voters chose Healy over her in 2007 given his troubled history as mayor) was "fit to be tied" in the conversation.
Among the "emphatic" points she made were:
- She never had a credit card as the mayor of the city of Canton,
- With regard to Healy's credit card, was it ever authorized by the CIC board?
- What is Healy doing spending the city's economic development money "outside-the-city-Canton" witness most of the reported "accidental" expenditures,
- She does not believe that the Healy expenditures are audited by the city auditor but by the CIC itself which is controlled by Mayor Healy a la "the fox guarding the hen house,"
- that Canton and Stark County's organized Democrats need to step up for good government had call Healy out of the credit card expenditures,
- that had she made such a "mistake" she would been taken to task big time,
- that the entire thing about Healy's accidental use of the credit card "pisses [her] off and that she is sick and tired of Healy shenanigans (The Report's word; not Creighton's),
- Healy gets away with everything and nobody ever calls him out about it and that she is calling him out,
- as regards the use of the CIC credit card: "one time, anyone would buy a mistake one time, but 15 times; ... 15 times and you don't know what credit card you're using. I suggest he better have his eyes checked."
- that the Canton councilpersons should be asking questions of the mayor in council meetings about the credit card use and asking for minutes of the meetings of the CIC regarding the authorization of credit card by Healy,
- that when she was mayor if she entertained anyone on behalf of the city, she paid for the meals out of her pocket; she paid for her own gas when she was out on city business,
- people to stand up and call him out and make him explain why he was doing these things,
- that she was born and raised in Canton and for Canton to have a mayor like Healy is devastating,
- that it is unbelievable that he keeps doing things like the "accidental" use of the credit cards apparently not learning the lessons of avoiding one embarrassing thing after another over five years being mayor,
- that while everyone understands public officials making mistakes in judgments, Healy's seem to have a continuing history about them, and
- that there ought to be an audit (which the SCPR concus with) going back to when the credit card was initially issued to Mayor Healy.
Even that would be "to treat him with 'kid gloves."'
Former Mayor Creighton makes a telling point.
When you wear teflon suits, nothing sticks, no?