Ted Strickland’s Office Helped Bribe Laketa Cole with PUCO Job
As an update to this story I wrote about, emails are shedding light on just how helpful Gov. Strickland and his staff was with clearing the field for a former cabinet member to take over State Rep. Tyrone Yates’ seat in the Statehouse:
E-mails between the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and a top lawyer in Gov. Ted Strickland’s office indicate the governor’s staff was more active in helping Cincinnati Councilwoman Laketa Cole land a high-paying state job than previously reported – a move that averted a Democratic primary the party wanted to avoid.
For instance, a Feb. 4. e-mail from Christine Emch Thompson, deputy legal counsel in the governor’s office, sent to PUCO and three other state agencies, read: “I am interested to know if you have anything in your agency around 70-80 k range based on the attached (Cole) resume?”
In a March 1 e-mail – four days before the deadline for Cole to get out of the primary – Thompson persisted: “Any word back on this?” Thompson wrote to Kathleen C. Madden, an administrator with the Department of Administrative Services. “We really want to move it along.”
The next day, Stephanie J. Whitis, PUCO’s human resources director, told Thompson that she had asked Cole for details about any utility company experience. “Cole will have document to me by the end of the day,” Whitis wrote.
The Feb. 4 e-mail with Cole’s resume – also sent to the Ohio departments of Development; Transportation; and Job and Family Services – was distributed two weeks after an Ohio House seat opened up, setting in motion a series of moves that ended with Cole getting her job.
First, Strickland appointed term-limited state Rep. Tyrone Yates to a municipal judgeship. That set up a possible primary between Cole and Alicia Reece, 38, of Bond Hill, who both applied to state Democrats for the job, and filed to run in the primary.
Democrats picked Reece for the vacant Ohio House job. But that still left Democrats with a divisive primary – unless Cole would drop her candidacy.
Just imagine if Ted Strickland worked this hard to help about 350,000 other unemployed Ohioans find $80,000/year jobs…
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