Monday, March 19, 2018


UPDATED:  09:30 AM

Back in the 1990s Bank1One (bought out by JPMorgan Chase in 2004) had a campaign to attract new customers using the slogan "Whatever It Takes."

While Stark County auditor Alan Harold's main preparation to be the county auditor is grounded in having been employed in the bank industry (Huntington Bank), he must have picked up on the Bank1One slogan and filed it away in his mind for future use in a manner in which the slogan generating advertising folks never envisioned when the coined the expression.

For doing "Whatever It Takes" is what The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) thinks Harold is up to to retain his status as Stark County auditor.

As readers of The Report know, Harold, since he was first elected in 2010 out of political milieu which Stark County civic activist and attorney Craig T. Conley termed as "Zeiglergate" (See prior blog in this series for a refresher on "Zeiglergate"), has been rated by this blog as one of very top quality elected Stark County officials.

But no more.

For with the SCPR, character does count.

As will be detailed in this blog, The Report believes that Harold has a least one serious character defect that need correcting.

Perhaps, over time, he can/will self-correct and approximate what the SCPR thought he—once upon a time—was as a person.

The manifestation of what the SCPR thinks as being a disturbing turn of events that Harold started several months ago when in this blogger's conversation with the auditor, he expressed joy at the prospect of being unopposed for re-election.

In addition to winning in 2010 on the back of Zeiglergate, he was re-elected in 2014 over an opponent who was just a name on a ballot (Jeff Gruber, Canton City Schools' treasurer) in a walk.

Anyone who reads the SCPR knows that a priority for this blog is for public officials to be held accountable by voters every 2/4/6 years re-election cycle (depending on the office sought) in having viable candidates to challenge an incumbent on what they have done or not done that they should have done in the term(s) leading up to them having to justify their re-election.

So the SCRP was totally put off by Harold's joyous anticipation of running unopposed.

This blog has been on record on a number of occasions of pointing out Harold's good qualities but tempered by blogs here and there critiquing what appeared to be problems with his performance as a public official.

From the way Republican Harold has handled the filing of petitions (see copy of the petitions in the
Appendix to this blog) by Massillon Ward 6 Councilwoman Linda Litman (a Democrat),The Report thinks that the voters of Stark County need to send Harold a message.

Even with the serious flaw(s) (at least one at a minimum) that the SCPR thinks Harold's campaign posture reveals about him this time out for re-election, it is unlikely that Litman has the campaign finances, campaign organization and countywide I.D. to actually defeat Harold.

But we shall see.

Her main support, Stark County's unions, which the SCPR is told are furious at the manner in which they believe Harold has dealt with her having filed as a candidate.

It is against this background that the SCPR and others (mostly being fellow Republicans who support his re-election) have been astounded at measures which, though categorically denied by Harold, The Report believes he has undertaken to punish Litman for having the audacity to file petitions to run against him.

This is especially the case with Harold since he asserts that he was similarly (i.e. what he is believed to have initiated against Litman) worked over by, according to Harold, former Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler when Harold made moves to run against him in 2008.

Harold says it was either withdraw his plan to run or depart employment from Huntington Bank.

Apparently, Zeigler's (let's assume) motivation was to point out that inasmuch as the county treasurer makes decisions on millions of dollars of taxpayer being deposited in interest bearing accounts some of which are with banks with local offices, including, perhaps, Huntington Bank and hence Harold potentially being elected treasurer might be construed as his having a conflict in interest should he have continuing affection for a former employer.

But there are those who think the action that Harold says that Zeigler either himself or through a political proxy (who Harold says was former Stark County auditor Kim Perez) initiated against Harold was not so much an ethical problem seemingly inherent in Harold becoming treasurer (because the county treasurer decides where county taxpayer money will be put on deposit) but, mainly, like Harold himself this time around, the desire not to have to be accountable for how one has performed as an office holder.

The fact of the matter is that Zeigler did run unopposed in 2008 with Harold being compelled by his employer to withdraw.

In hindsight, for Zeigler to be unopposed denied Stark County's voters an opportunity anticipate the highly political Zeigler was not best person to be county treasurer.

In just about five or six months (April 1, 2009) guess what Stark Countans woke up to?

You've got it.

The beginning of the  Craig T. Conley named "Zeiglergate."

Before it was over, Zeigler was worked over by a State of Ohio Auditor's report that Zeigler as treasurer had failed in securing the physical facilities and in strengthening policies, practices and procedures of the auditor's office so as to put in place safeguards against anyone working in the treasury stealing Stark County taxpayer money.

Recently, the SCPR wrote a blog on the release of former chief deputy treasurer Vince Frustaci from federal prison for having stolen about a documented $2.4 million over some five (5) years.

The only question that remains is whether or not Harold would have spotted the weaknesses in the treasury structure to have put pressure on Zeigler to enact preventative/detecting measures so as to have mitigated the duration/depth of the theft?

And, had Huntington Bank not forced his hand into not running; would he as treasurer been able to "in the best financial interests" of Stark County's taxpayers been able to "objectively" decide where to place the county's money?

In the way he is said to be acting on the Litman candidacy, one has to question his ability to rise about personal, subjective interests and make the public interest his priority.

Perhaps Harold would not have the capacities as expected of a candidate as articulated above.

But there was at least a chance that he or (and preferably) some other opponent would have spotted something in how Zeigler ran the office to have made the public aware of the need for immediate structural reform "during the campaign."

If there is no opponent, as with Zeigler in 2008; then there is virtually NO CHANCE for accountability to kick in and thereby lessen any damages to taxpayers because a critique during a campaign prompts immediate structural deficiency reform.

Hopefully, Harold's opponent Litman will do political campaign due diligence and during the campaign come up with some "real" reason(s) why Stark Countians should consider replacing Harold with her.

As pointed out by one Democratic public official that the SCPR has discussed the Litman situation with, Litman running for auditor is not the equivalent of Harold running for treasurer.

The auditor though officially designated as Stark County's chief financial officer has no say whatsoever as to where Stark County funds are invested.

Apparently, the SCPR has learned, nobody making the case on Litman could establish any conflict in interest and had to resort other bases to justify Litman's departure from employment.

From all that The Report knows about her work in the banking world (First Merit before it was acquired by Huntington), she has a record of being an accomplished financial professional.

For this blog, the SCPR made several attempts to contact Litman, but she has ignored this blogger's attempt to engage her on questions:
  • regarding her perspective of what The Report thinks was a Harold attempt to dissuade her from filing petitions to run against him, 
  • regarding what she sees in current auditor office practices, policies, procedures and programs that need attention and what her approach would be if elected to resolve perceived deficiencies, and
  • regarding the financial/supporter(s) viability of her campaign
That she herself appears to want to be unaccountable as a candidate in failing to respond SCPR questions is, perhaps, a warning to Stark County's voters that we may having on our hands in which the preferred way to vote in November might be "none of the above" as The Report wrote about the Healy/Perez Democratic mayoralty primary election ballot in May, 2015.

She is associated with some folks in the Stark County Democratic Party who just want Democrats to hold office for the mere sake of Democratic Party control not because the candidate offers the prospect of doing the job better for the interests of Stark Countians.

The SCPR hears that Harold has a substantial campaign finance "nestegg"  on hand presently to run his campaign on perhaps on the order of his 2014 campaign (see his pre-general campaign finance report below).  Of course, the proof of the pudding will this time around  be his pre-primary campaign finance report to be filed with the Stark County Board of Elections next month a couple weeks before the primary.

Now to get to the heart of the SCPR's beef with Harold.

There are reports that Harold or someone at his bidding contacted Litman's employer Huntington
Bank through Litman's immediate supervisor:
  • (alleged to be via former North Canton councilman Dan Griffith, [a former classmate of Harold's at then Mount Union College] said by sources to be Litman's direct supervisor)
and sought to invoke company intervention  in light of language in the Employee handbook (see below) to stop Litman's candidacy against Harold. A source says that Griffith visited Litman at her home to deliver the message that she was terminated.

The Report made inquiry to Griffith as to whether or not he had any role in the Litman matter.

Response?  Silence!

As the SCPR is wont to do, e-mail inquiry was made of Harold as to the veracity of the allegations set forth above:

His initial response:

Marty - ... response

Alan Harold ... Mar 6 at 9:42 PM

To:  Martin Olson

Martin - please see my responses below...


From: Martin Olson <>
To: Alan C. Harold  ...
Sent: Monday, March 5, 2018 12:57 PM
Subject: ... and another matter



I also have information to the effect that you are bragging to others that your political opponent this fall (Linda Litman) has lost her banking job on your initiative and perhaps with the help of a former public official employee of the bank.

Is this information "fake" information or is there truth to it?


Untrue. Any thought/insinuation that I in any direct/indirect way affected the outcome is categorically untrue.  (emphasis added by SCPR)


If there is truth to it, please detail your involvement and/or that of any other person who might have had a hand in Ms. Litman not having her job with the bank. 


Ms. Litman is the only one who can answer why she is no longer employed by Huntington.


Thank you,

Martin Olson
Stark County Political Report

Categorically untrue! (Harold)

The SCPR is not buying Harold's statement.

In the wake of the e-mail exchange with Harold,  (by the way, Harold stopped communicating with the SCPR when the questions got too probing), The Report doubled down with sources, a number of whom are highly supportive of Harold, who take the position that based on their personal knowledge how Harold reacted to the Litman candidacy they think that the Harold denial is untrue.  One even calls it a outright lie.

In this day and age of having a president that lies with regularity, the SCPR will not stand for it when local officials/public figures are caught lying as The Report believes Harold has been.

In the unlikely event Harold should be defeated in November, he will only have to look at himself for the answer as to why?

Alan Harold is proving to be "his own worst enemy" in the eyes of some of his political peers some of whom are friendly to and are working for his re-election.

As politicians in general are wont to be highly self-confident which has both and upside and a downside, Harold (in the SCPR's view):
  • has an infection of ego that does not serve him well,
  • as a audacious official, he does not seem to mind "inappropriately" stepping on the toes of other public officials in areas in which he is not in a position though he projects an attitude of thinking himself to be smarter than everybody else in any given room,
    • Anecdotally, there is a tale being bandied about regarding Harold as a high school student at Louisville High School being such a take charge person at Louisville that the then principal used to tell others (of course, tongue-in-cheek) that he and Alan Harold were co-principals.  What a hoot, no?
  • seems to have a penchant to surrounding himself with employees on he public payrolls who have a historical (e.g. went to college together, have similar Republican Party political views) connection with him,
The Report hears that because of some of the irritating qualities outlined above, he has alienated public officials with who he must work with on a daily basis which, of course, is detrimental to achieving public interests/purposes across Stark County political subdivision government.

And it is not as if he has not been told by supportive, friendly, Republican side of the political divide that he needs to amend his ways.  Apparently, he is not "coachable."

The Report is also told that in the recent undertaking of upgrading the facilities of the auditor's office, Harold initially proposed a $1 million upgrade.

It took the Stark County commissioners' review of Harold's ambition to pare it down to about $500,000.

Republican officials (according to popular political mythology) are supposed to be more fiscally responsible than that.  Apparently, fiscal responsibility is not part of the political DNA of Harold?

The SCPR trusts that Litman and her Democratic friends (chief among are the Local 550 Ironworkers of which her husband is a vice president and Billy Sherer, II [also a Stark County Board of elections Democratic member] will put on a campaign that will compel Harold to become less arrogant, less incorrigible and be open to considering the general taxpaying public for key auditor's office positions when they open up and not look first to "in his personal history" folks to bring into county government and thereby deny the taxpayer public employment opportunities.

Of course, Harold is far from being alone in terms of elected officials bringing "politically/personally" connected in one way, fashion, or manner persons onto the public payroll.

Here is a cite to a prior blog in which it appears that Harold at least in part made a hire on the basis of "personal" connection in making a hire of a chief technology official.

Anybody who reads the SCPR regularly knows, that The Report often stands alone among the Stark County media in publicizing and excoriating such public official behavior.  And the SCPR IS NOT a respecter of persons.  Republican and Democrat alike get exactly the same scrutiny from this blogger.

The Repository raised the issue with Democrat Kim Perez when he became county auditor but has been nowhere to be heard on Republican Harold's shenanigans.  Interesting, no?

It is with great lament for the SCPR to write this blog chatising Harold for his untoward behavior as alleged which this blogger believes about him and calls for him to tell the full story and to make amends.

Alan Harold is a truly bright guy and perhaps the very finest graduate (2009-2010, 23rd class) of the Canton Chamber of Commerce Signature Leadership Stark County program.

For the most part, The Report is unimpressed with graduates (in terms of other than acquire credentials) of the Stephanie Werren run program.

Harold has been an exception.

His apparently having visited upon Litman this election cycle the same type of treatment he got as a would be candidate for treasurer in 2008 is a clear example of unbridled hypocrisy.

Absolutely NOBODY is above being held to accountability and transparency standards by The Stark County Political Report.

Not even Alan Harold!!!



Note:  Since the petitions can be difficult to decipher, here is a list of most of the signers and decoded by the SCPR:


Note:  Since the petitions can be difficult to decipher, here is a list of most of the signers and decoded by the SCPR:

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