How did J. Kenneth Hackwell become a “multimillionaire” while a public official?
In 1998, the Akron Beacon Journal reported that Hackwell, then state treasurer, was also listed as “manager, officer and director of Blue Chip Broadcasters Ltd.” This limited partnership owned and operated six radio stations in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
According to legend – or better, spin – four black investors from Cincinnati, Ross Love, Penguin Painters owner Lovie Ross, Hackwell, and Cincinnati attorney Kalvin Buford, scraped together $500,000 to save WIZF-FM, a black-owned Cincinnati radio station that was facing bankruptcy in late 1992. Of more interest is how this group of four investors secured a $1.5 million investment from Blue Chip Venture Company as well as a $2.6 million loan from three Cincinnati banks – Fifth Third, Providence and Star. The reality is that the banks were more likely investing in the new Ohio state treasurer, Hackwell, not in four minority investors with no real experience in radio and telecommunications.
By 2001, right after now-Ohio Secretary of State Hackwell acted as George W. Bush’s secret weapon in the 2000 Florida coup, the four investors sold their company (now going by the name Blue Chip Broadcasting, Inc.) for $190 million to Radio One, Inc. Blue Chip owned 19 stations at the time of the sale, and sold 18 of them. A close examination of Hackwell’s actions as state treasurer as well as an ethics probe into his relationship with bank officials in Cincinnati may well shed some light as to how Bush’s point man in the Buckeye State became a multimillionaire.
At least now we know where he got the capital to buy the Diebold stock.