Joe Motil

Joe Motil, former Columbus City Council candidate and longtime community advocate who is submitting about 2,000 petition signatures to run for mayor in the 2023 May Primary election states, “On the eve of the trial of former Republican State House Speaker Larry Householders’ federal racketeering charges, statehouse Republican legislatures held a January 18th press conference to announce the introduction of an ethics reform bill. The proposals in this bill barely scratch the surface on corruption and the unethical behavior of elected officials, lobbyists and others. It’s hard to 'reform ethics' when there are none.”      

Motil continues , “On May 10, 2016, Mayor Ginther signed an Executive Order on 'Ethics and Conduct: Accountability and Integrity for Effective Governance.' Just as leaders of  the Republican state legislature attempting to save face because their former leader begins his trial in what is described as the 'largest corruption case in Ohio history,' Andy Ginther’s 2016 Executive Order on Ethics and Conduct stands as a page from the same playbook.”     

“Prior to his May 2016 Executive Order, Mayor Ginther was part of the FBI’s Redflex camera investigation of the extortion of campaign contributions to city officials. According to federal court documents, while Ginther was City Council President, his campaign received $21,000 funneled through convicted city lobbyist John Raphael and the Ohio Democratic Party from Redflex. The $21,000 came from Redflex, the city red light camera contractor. And in June of 2015, there was an FBI investigation into the sale of then Mayor Michael Coleman’s house in Berwick to a Chinese businesswoman who was seeking a visa in order to use Rickenbacker Airport as a distribution hub.”     

“Earlier, In 2014, along with other elected city officials, Ginther attended a chartered junket also arranged by Raphael to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to attend the OSU-Wisconsin Big Ten championship game. Approximately 20 others attended as guests at the  stadium suite of food vendor Centerplate, which was just  awarded the food service contract for the Columbus Convention Center.”

“Ginther and others paid a ticket price of $250 which an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation found to be significantly less than fair market value of almost $700.  All were ordered to repay the difference.”         

Motil concludes, “The FBI stated in a-May 10, 2021 Columbus Dispatch article that the First Energy scandal is- 'in a league of its own' and 'Ohio is No. 1 state when it comes to public corruption, experts say.' Columbus rivals the corruption of Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. During 2022, Ginther’s own staff, for whom he is responsible, lobbied a special City Commission for a pay raise. When this was reported publicly, Ginther blames his office, ignoring the simple fact that he is responsible for them.”   

“It’s past time for the FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to begin their examinations of corrupt and unethical behavior of officials at Columbus City Hall, only two blocks west of the Ohio statehouse. The recent $170,000 taxpayer handout  to a developer- “in order to maintain his good standing in the business community”-is only one direct example. There are many others across City departments.”

“If elected mayor I will immediately design a City of Columbus Office of Anti-Corruption with the power and authority to reign in the misconduct of City of Columbus public officials.

 In part, my plan will:

 1.  Dissolve the city’s  existing inactive and compromised  Ethics Office which is non-functional in addressing and enforcing the city’s Ethics and Conduct Policy.

2.   Replace the partisan Chief Ethics Officer with a non-partisan  Inspector General who will investigate alleged unethical and corrupt behaviors of city employees and city elected officials.

3.  Establish a confidential whistle blower hotline and discipline city employees and elected officials who are aware of unethical and corrupt activities but do not report them.

4.  Eliminate the city of Columbus campaign finance reporting system. City filings are an additional burden to non-incumbents and another undemocratic hurdle for citizens interested in public service. These finance reports are already required by Franklin County Board of Elections and easily accessible to the public. I will remove this unnecessary redundancy and cost to the taxpayer.

5.  Prohibit the solicitation or acceptance of campaign contributions from people having a financial interest in city business while such business is pending before city council. 

6.  Prohibit former elected city, county, state and federal officials along with former directors and administrators from serving as legislative lobbyists.   

7.  Duplicate the Republican state house ethics reform proposals that require all lobbying income to be reported and sourced directly to the clients they represent.  And to seek approval from the state of Ohio to receive assistance from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to help investigate unethical and corrupt allegations.