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Newspaper Owner Who Posted Support For Capitol Insurrection Quits Ohio Arts Council Board

Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna Collins (left) with OAC Board Member Susan Allan Block, at an OAC awards ceremony in 2017.

A member of the board of the state agency that oversees funding for the arts has resigned after an inflammatory Facebook post in which she showed support for the insurrection at the US Capitol Wednesday and used a slur to describe Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.

Susan Allan Block, the owner of the Toledo Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, wrote that Trump supporters won’t unite behind President Elect Joe Biden, who she baselessly referred to as illegitimate, and used a derogatory slur for Vice President Elect Kamala Harris. 


Block was renamed to the Ohio Arts Council board in 2019 by Gov. Mike DeWine, after being appointed by former Gov. John Kasich in 2016. (Interestingly, she was reappointed at the same time DeWine appointed Juan Cespedes, who's pleaded guilty in the $61 million federal bribery scandal around the nuclear bailout law.)

Jai Chabria was Kasich’s head of state personnel, and says resignation was the quickest course of action.

“Unless a member commits an ethics violation, and then they can be removed with advice and consent of the Senate, it is very difficult to remove a member of a board or commission of the state," Chabria said.

Block’s term was set to expire in 2024.

In a letter obtained by the Statehouse News Bureau, Block said she’d been asked by DeWine to resign, blamed what she called cancel culture, referred to DeWine as a Republican in quotes and suggested his COVID policies could cost him re-election.

The Ohio Arts Council's executive director Donna Collins said in a statement: "As I shared yesterday, agency staff does not comment on the personal opinions of its sitting board members. However, Susan is no longer on the board, so let me now say this."

"Our agency does not condone or endorse these inflammatory opinions in any way, and we will continue to work in alignment with our shared values of diversity, equity, and inclusivity."  


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