This weekend, Ed FitzGerald e-mailed me his letter to the Ohio Ethics Commission about Matt Dolan’s conflict of interest with the Indians. It argues that if Dolan is elected county executive, he should have to bow out of any decisions about the casino, the RTA, Public Square, or roads, bridges, or sewers downtown -- because they all “directly and uniquely impact the Cleveland Indians.”
The casino because it’ll be a block or two from the stadium, I assume. But the RTA? Because people take the Rapid to ball games, I guess?
Dolan told me last week that if he’s elected county executive, he’ll let the county council president take the lead on Indians matters and Gateway appointments. He asked the Ethics Commission to give him advice on his plans.
But FitzGerald, his main opponent, is pushing the commission to go way farther than that. He also wants it to rule on whether Dolan should return the huge campaign contributions from his father, Indians owner Larry Dolan, “to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.” FitzGerald’s letter, written Oct. 8, pegs the elder Dolan’s contribution at $280,000. On Thursday, we learned Larry Dolan’s now given a total of $630,000.
The Ethics Commission isn’t answering Dolan’s request until after the election. No wonder: It’ll also have to deal FitzGerald’s letter, which reads more like a political argument than a request for a legal opinion. At one point FitzGerald talks about “an assessment of the appropriateness of Mr. Dolan’s candidacy and potential service as County Executive.” That’s up to the voters, not the Ethics Commission.
But politically, FitzGerald’s playing an interesting card here. He’s saying taxpayers should trust him, not Dolan, to represent their interests on downtown development issues. He’s trying to tap into the mistrust of sports teams’ political influence in Cleveland, a concern that dates back at least to the Gateway project. And he’s again reminding voters that Dolan’s millionaire family is funding the TV attacks against him.
To read FitzGerald’s letter to the Ethics Commission, click here. To read Dolan’s letter, click here.