by Bob Fitrakis
Who says crime doesn’t pay? Not the V Group, the Voinovich group of companies that specializes in building jails. You see, the Guv’s younger brother Pauly is at it again. His Cleveland-based architectural construction company may be connected to a man under indictment and investigation for alleged “influence peddling.” Seems Vincent Zumpano was indicted on October 3 in Steubenville for allegedly trying to bribe a county commissioner in order to secure a jail construction contract for Pauly’s firm.
Pauly’s company, officially, is “mystified.” And those 473 long distance calls from Vincent’s place of employment to the Voinovich firm between December 1992 and December 1995, as reported in the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cleveland Plain Dealer don’t prove nuthin’. And that’s why the Dispatch has the good sense not to write about it, but chose instead to put on Saturday’s front page aWashington Post wire story about bad sportsmanship among band leaders in Virginia!
More calls went to former employee and lobbyist for the Voinovich firm and the Governor’s original “transition director,” Phil Hamilton. Sound familiar? Remember Joe Gilyard and an Alive cover story six weeks ago about the Gilyard-Hamilton relationship? It’s the same old story, same old song and dance, my friends. Here’s a quick take from Joe, fired by the Guv after he suggested that little brother Pauly may not be on the up-and-up. “This is exactly the type of thing Phil Hamilton wanted me involved in. They used to phone me, fax me, send messages constantly. He wanted me to let the counties know that the V Company had ‘the inside track’ on jail contracts.”
With Governor George’s much-coveted senatorial campaign now only two years away, isn’t it time to pull a Clinton? You know what I mean. Like when Wild Bill let the state police nab his out-of-control cokehead brother Roger. Think about it, Guv. Time’s runnin’ out.
V is for Voinovich
Meanwhile, Pauly continues to “hook us up good” here in Franklin County. You see the architectural firm of Voinovich-Sgro went-without any political influence whatsoever-and got themselves an unbid contract of nearly $1 million to design and manage a $2 million, I mean, $8 million-wait, now $11 million-Franklin County jail renovation.
Our illustrious county commissioners-all Republicans, same party as the Guv, wink, wink, nod, nod-approved the unbid contract last May. Good thing that Voinovich-Sgro is only the architect ’cause if it was the construction manager a 1988 state law would have required competitive bidding, which would have saved millions.
So the cost overruns are really the fault of those really bad construction managers, not Voinovich-Sgro. So much wasted taxpayer money, those bastards. Maybe Voinovich-Sgro could begin to phone and fax those evil construction managers, the Voinovich Companies, every day. I suspect they know the number.
Maybe they could build some special luxury condo cells, you know, like those corporations build at sports stadiums. Then, if Voinovich-Sgro turns in The Voinovich Companies for ripping us off, the construction manager company officials would have a place to stay in the style to which they have become accustomed. Is free enterprise great, or what?
Another one of my favorite county officials is Treasurer Bobbie Hall, universally hailed as a financial whiz. That’s why I take her so seriously when she touts Bob Dole’s tax cut and attacks Bill Clinton as a “big spending liberal.” Reminds me of the movie Sybil with Sally Fields. You remember: Sally did that multiple personality schtick. Hall’s doing the same thing when she suggests that county property owners don’t need a 1 to 2.5 percent discount on our property taxes by pre-paying the bill monthly instead of paying in a lump sum.
Hall recently informed the Dispatch that she looked into the tax-saving program, “but has not seen a need or a benefit to the county’s finances.” Sybil, Sybil? Let me talk to Bobbie Dole, the tax-cutting gal!
Look for Anthony Celebrezze III to justly blast Franklin County Recorder Richard Metcalf later this week in a commercial on “double-dipping.” Campaign insiders say the initial script is something like-use your best deep political voice-“He’s been on the public payroll for 45 years. He’s making $110,000 a year.”
Yes indeed. Seems a loophole in the law allows the former retired judge and public servant to collect some $60,000 to $65,000 a year in from the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) while bringing in $50,000 or so as our county recorder.
Look for Metcalf to counter with the usual “He’s got a well-known name and he’s been in office a really, really long time . . .”
Ain’t democracy grand?