Older man with glasses and a gray goatee

John Raphael, Ginther's fall guy for the Redflex scandal

The facts cannot be denied. Andy Ginther accepted campaign contributions of $20,000 funneled to him through his friend, former neighbor, campaign contributor and convicted lobbyist John Raphael and the Ohio Democratic Party. The Columbus Dispatch reported on June 23, 2015, “Court documents, supported by campaign finance reports and sources with knowledge of the case, detail in September 2011 in which someone in Ginther’s campaign sent Redflex an email seeking a $20,000 campaign contribution.” 

Federal court documents show that former Redflex executive Karen Finley stated that Raphael was a conduit for delivering money to elected officials in Columbus. Ms. Finley sent Raphael an invoice that was labeled as a “success fee.” She stated that she knew the “success fee” would be passed onto local elected officials in the covert form of campaign contributions.  Raphael handed over Redflex’s “success fee” to the Ohio Democratic Party. The party then wrote Ginther a check for $21,000.

City Hall continues to be ripe with corruption. Corruption and many forms of unethical conduct follow Ginther throughout his political career. While serving on the school board in 2004, and as chair of the districts audit committee, Ginther ignored an anonymous tip that then-district data czar Steve Tankovich  presided over unethical and perhaps criminal data cleansing.

Only 114 hours were spent on the question of student data auditing.  The scandal was not uncovered until 2012. Then State Auditor Dave Yost’s investigation into data rigging, revealed in an October 2012  interview with Ginther that he and the rest of the audit committee members instructed then-Internal Auditor Harold Saunders to stop the data-rigging investigation before it was completed.

Ginther followed this with his involvement in Redflex, the Convention Centers food service scandal with Centerplate, approval of Ohio Health 315’s- ramp, accepting donations from city vendors for his 2019 State of the City address, members of Ginther’s staff lobbied his  self-appointed commission for his pay raise, and still pending is an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation of his Public Service Directors’ involvement with the Little Turtle Roadway Improvement Project. Conflict of interest, unethical actions, and illegal behavior characterize Ginther’s career, especially his time in office. And one wonders how many more have never come to light.   

In 2016, immediately after Ginther was implicated in the Redflex and Centerplate scandals, he announced an Executive Order on “Ethics and Conduct : Accountability and Integrity for Effective Governance” (see attached)  That Executive Order  is not worth the paper it is written on. It gathers dust on the shelf.

As the next mayor of Columbus and a Democrat who is not beholden to high-ranking party officials, the creation of my Office of Anti-Corruption will end the ongoing unethical and  corrupt behavior that plagues the halls of Columbus City government. The people of Columbus want their public officials to be accountability and transparent. They want a city government that represents all the people.